In part two of this series, we talked about the reasons Pinterest is legally allowed to display the images you pin and upload, and why it needs you to give it the perpetual right to do so. I also provided a plain-talk explanation of the Pinterest Terms of Service. (If you haven’t read part two, click here and it will open in a new window. To learn about the difference between “pinning” and “uploading,” read part one. )
Today, in part three of this series, we’ll talk about the way you should behave on Pinterest in order to respect other people’s copyrights. Last week I noted that Pinterest is not guilty of copyright violations if its users upload items without permission. However, YOU could be charged with copyright violations for uploading images to Pinterest from your hard drive, just as you could for uploading something you shouldn’t to your own website. Here are some important guidelines to keep you safe.
1. Just because something appears on Pinterest, it doesn’t mean you have the right to download it and use it as you please. You have the right to repin it and…. that’s it. If you want to use an image elsewhere, you have to get in touch with the person who has the rights to the image and ask permission. If the image is something that someone created and uploaded to Pinterest, they gave permission to PINTEREST to display the image on the Pinterest website. They didn’t give YOU permission to put it on YOUR website.
2. If a website has blocked pinning because the owner doesn’t want the images to be shared on Pinterest, don’t download or screenshot the image and pin it anyway, even if you intend to give the original company or artist credit. Going against the web owner’s wishes in this matter is not only discourteous, it’s illegal. The website owner obviously hasn’t given you permission to distribute images from the site, and the web owner can call for legal action against you.
3. If a website says the equivalent of “You cannot use these images at all, ever, in any way,” or “you have to pay to use these images,” don’t download or screenshot them! And don’t pin them, either, because although the letter of the law says you can, you should respect the artist or subject and refrain from distributing those images in any way. It’s very likely that the artist or subject wants to block pinning, but hasn’t figured out how to do it yet. On the left are screenshots of Flickr’s “no-pin” and “no-download” messages. (Click to see a larger version in a new window.)
4. Don’t upload photos of people you’ve photographed without their permission!
Finally, please take a few extra moments give credit to artists, photographers and designers! There are thousands of artists and photographers, amateur and professional, who display their works on networks like Flickr for the very purpose of having them favorited and shared. There are even more artisans who sell their wares and accept commissions through their websites. While a “pin” does link back to their work, you really should include the artist’s name and title of the work in your description when you pin it. If you are about to repin something you like, please take an extra moment to click through, see if you can find the artist’s name, and add it when you repin. You can see an example of what I’m talking about on the right. (Click to see a larger version.)
POWER PINNER PROJECT: ID THE ARTIST BOARD
Above is a screenshot of my “ID the Artist” pinboard. Click it to see a larger version. When I love something and don’t know the identity of the artist, I pin it here. With help from other pinners, I’ve been able to identify several artists and move them to my Art pinboard. Please consider following this board, and creating one for yourself!
Lots of people love to have their images pinned and repinned; etailers are one example. It’s more advertising for them, and it boosts their search engine rankings. There are, however, people who are very worried about losing control of their images, and I’ll be addressing their concerns next week, when I discuss ways that artists can identify and protect their images.
UPDATE! Part 4 of this series is out! Click here to read it!
Due to heavy spam, I’ve had to close comments on this series for a while. No, it’s not from people who didn’t like the articles! Just spammers attracted by the word “Pinterest.” I think I’ll be able to open it back up again in a month or so. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to say something about the posts!