Pinterest and Copyright Explained in Plain Talk – Part 4: How artists can protect their work despite widespread sharing

by Angelique on March 25, 2012

original pinterest icon by angelique of afmarcom pinterest icon pinned with a pinToday’s installment of my Pinterest & Copyright series is especially for artists and graphic designers who are worried about losing control of their images. I also highly recommend this advice for artists, etailers, retailers, animal breeders and others who want to be sure that their images are not separated from their sources. (Links to the earlier articles in this series are at the end of this post.)

NOTE: Today’s article is NOT for people who don’t want to be pinned. If you don’t want the images on your website to be pinned, add this to the head of any page on your site:

Pinterest no-pin code

This code will block the pin and create a pop-up box that says, “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!” (Remember, this code won’t prevent people from downloading your images to their hard drives, nor will it block people from adding your images to Tumblr or sharing your image addresses on Facebook or any other network. Contact a web programmer for methods of blocking downloads and sharing.)

Protection Method #1: The Electronic Frame

Use image-editing software like Photoshop to place your images in an electronic frame that includes your name and website. Here are some examples:

woman on couch by Paige Sullivan placed in an electronic frame with artists name and URL


photo of horse trainer rachel jansen jones taken by angelique of afmarcom and placed in an electronic frame with URL


Protection Method #2: The Stamp

Use image-editing software to “stamp” your images with identifying information. This information can also work as a watermark. Here are some examples:

image of scroll heart earrings by Lifetime Mothers includes URL


painting entitled caribbean by angelique of afmarcom marked with watermarks


concrete floor design by thomas carlyle of decorative concrete market with a watermark contains URL


Protection Method #3: Watermarking Framed Images

Combine methods one and two!


Protection Method #4: Titles and Tags

Don’t forget to add important identifying information like your name, company name and URL to the file name, title and alt tag of each image. The file name will accompany any downloaded image until someone changes it. The title and alt tag will be visible to anyone who is viewing your site with images turned off — common for mobile users.

(I have to admit that I haven’t been putting my identifying information into the file names of my own original graphics, but I’ll be doing it going forward!)

original graphic by angelique of afmarcom pinterest P on custom dark red globe background with pin at the top Here’s an example of what I mean. By now you’re familiar with the image on the right, which has accompanied all of the articles in this series. Here is the “background” information for this image:



File Name:






title=”pinterest pinned original graphic by angelique of afmarcom”




Alt Tag:

alt=”original graphic by angelique of afmarcom pinterest P on custom dark red globe background with pin at the top”



I hope you’ve enjoyed this series about Pinterest and copyright! In case you haven’t read the earlier installments of this series, here they are:

Part 1: The Difference Between “Pinning” and “Uploading”


Part 2: A Plain-Talk Explanation of the Pinterest Terms of Service


Part 3: The way you should behave on Pinterest in order to respect other people’s copyrights


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 if you want to say something about the posts!

Alison Gilbert March 30, 2012 at 8:43 am

Dear A.F.MarCom and readers,
This has been a extraordinary series on Pinterest. It addresses the primary and essential questions that have arisen lately about copyright law and Pinterest. Although Pinterest is planning to simplify and clarigy their postition, much of what they had written originally in their Terms of Service, Copyright & Trademark, and other areas on their site, required an attorney to decipher.

Angelic and Friends Marketing Communications has helped me tremendously to have a better understanding of what is going on. There are still some fuzzy areas but nothing compared to the legal gobbledegook that existed and eluded most of us pinners before the upcoming changes.

I am also doing a series on PINTERST and I have to admit I was lost, overwhelmed and procrastinating with writing my Part Three where I attempt to deal with the ‘less that pleasing’ news that has been surfacing about Pinterests practices, self-protective posture, and use for sponsorship and income production by top brands for top pinners. I can now write that post. You will, of course be cited on it with the possible use of some images, properly credited.
All of the Pinterest issues may not yet be transparent, yet, but I have experienced a sigh of relief and am continuing to pin once again. One warning that this series to emphasize in my mind is, ‘let the pinner beware’, ‘pin etiquette’ is crucial and it DOES involve legal repercussions. Just check out the page I include about copyright law to see what a legal entanglement it is. So pin with caution. These post clearly and simple explain how to do so.
You can view my series on Saturdays at I welcome comments, suggestions, disagreement and discussion Thank you.

Alison Gilbert
Digital Age Storyteller & Social Media Anthropologist

Angelique March 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm

 Allison — Thanks for all the kind words! I enjoyed reading your posts about Pinterest. I haven’t written about PinPuff yet because I had some questions about their business program. It looks like it’s easy to reach them.

Writing about any social network is always a challenge, because the site owners ALWAYS make changes right when you’re about to publish something — or the very next day! I was in the middle of this series when Pinterest changed its terms of service.

I’ve been very happy to notice that more and more of my Pinterest connections are including artist and etailer names in their pin captions. I don’t know if this is because I influenced them, or because this is a general Pinterest trend.

How do you feel about the recent change in the composition of the “everything” and “category” boards?

Alison Gilbert March 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

How nice to hear from you. I had commented on the first three parts you posted to let you and your readers know that my version of PINTEREST Part Three is posted on
Your series was so fantastic. It clarified so much of the legal mumbo jumbo for me. You must have a gift for legal interpretation. I was lost before I read your posts.The folks at PinPuff are amazing. They responded to my first Pinterest post. I replied to them with some questions. The co-founder himself, Gaurav, actually responded very kindly, answering my questions. They plan to move to the US. They are in India now.
Do be sure to see the videos on my latest post. I think the young man who made them has some very good points. What do you think?
If I understand the difference between the “everything” and the “category” board, the day after I wrote my first post, the format of Pinterest changed from 9 pins per board to unlimited pins per category. It took a little while to get used to but I prefer that over the old style. I am not sure I have seen an everything board. But I have seen boards that either don’t follow others or something strange like that. (I can’t remember the detail, too many hours on the computer).Anyway, it is really a treat and even an honor to hear back directly from you. I am in awe of your ability to sort out the mess that appears to be surfacing on what seemed to be a simple, scrapbooking platform for ‘craftsy’ and mostly (pother) women who just wanted to pin pictures to virtual boards. That is what concerns me the most. I suspect there is are a tremendous amount of pinners who are totally clueless about what is really going on and how vulnerable they are. I better stop here before my reply becomes a post. I have a habit of doing that. 
I very much look forward to continuing to be in contact with you. Again, thank you so much for all you help and support so that I could do a fraction of the job you did to clarify things for everyone who pins (and hopefully reads blog posts about it).

Sincerely and in hot pursuit of blogging self-pinterest,
Alison Gilbert

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