the problem with pinterest
This is going to be a really unpopular post. Some of you might even get pissed off at me. Why? Because so many of you LOVE Pinterest. Believe me, I want to love it too. The concept is fun, photos are gorgeous, the recipes and crafts are inspirational. All of that is exactly what it is meant to be and it does it well. That’s why its popularity is exploding.
Except. Do you know what else is happening on Pinterest? Massive amounts of copyright violations.
I’m personally really struggling with this. In real life I’m a photo editor. I find publication quality photos, I contact photographers, I sign contracts with them, and I PAY them for the use of their images. It’s my job and my eyes and brain are trained to look for copyright issues.
In some of my spare time I go online, hang out on Twitter and FB, read blogs, take photos and share them on Instagram. A few weeks ago I realized Pinterest wasn’t one of those social media sites that flames quickly and then dies. It’s going to be around for awhile, so, I caved and joined. And loved it. So PRETTY! SO ADDICTIVE!
Then I took another look. Deeper into where these gorgeous images were coming from. Who shot them? Who do they really belong to? Who is getting the credit? The link love?
And then I started to squirm.
I followed trails back to original sources. A few were linked to the actual photographer. Great! PIN AWAY! Some pins were from Tumblr sites or other blogs that had pulled the images from Flickr or the like. If the original photo was listed as creative commons, well fab, but what if they weren’t? Some of the pins I looked at were actually watermarked with copyright information but there was no link back to the website clearly on the watermark. Just as grievous – that many pins are pulled directly from Google images, a clear violation of any copyrighted image.
SO MANY of these are stolen photos my friends. Stolen from the photographers who took them, some who make their living off of them.
This is not okay.
So, here’s the part that really bothers me:
If you are a copyright owner, or are authorized to act on behalf of one, or authorized to act under any exclusive right under copyright, please report alleged copyright infringements taking place on or through the Site by completing the following DMCA Notice of Alleged Infringement and delivering it to Pinterest’s Designated Copyright Agent. Upon receipt of the Notice as described below, Pinterest will take whatever action, in its sole discretion, it deems appropriate, including removal of the challenged material from the Site.
This puts the onus on the PHOTOGRAPHER to make sure none of their images are on the site without their permission. Really? How the heck will they ever know?? And if you do find a photo in violation, and jump through the hoops to get it pulled or properly linked, how do you keep the next person from pinning it yet again? You can’t. It’s impossible. So copyright infringements will proliferate.
Now let me be clear about this. I think that 99% of the people who pin stolen photos don’t do it on purpose. Most people just don’t think about it at all. They just pin or repin what they like, without any concept of copyright law. People think twice when it comes to copying WORDS – well everyone knows that’s plagiarism! Except the same is true for photos!
If you are a blogger, or a photographer, (whether professional or amateur doesn’t matter) how would you feel if you found one of your images pinned directly from your blog or your Flickr account or wherever? Great, right? Someone really liked your work and you get the clicks and everyone is happy. Now think how you would feel if if you found one of your photos on Pinterest but the link went to some other blog post that someone created using your image with no credit back to you? A little different right? Yeah.
Clearly Pinterest is not going anywhere any time soon, and neither is this rights issue. So I ask you, please, if you are on Pinterest, please be mindful of photographer’s property. If you are uncertain about a photo’s original source, try to find it and if you do, pin it from there instead. Most of the time it only takes a few extra clicks to pin from the actual owner, instead of from the person who knowingly or unknowingly stole it from them. At least give the copyright holder the credit and the click-throughs.