Pinterest… have you heard of it? It is this great new visual tool….I kid, I kid. Everyone has heard of Pinterest, the newest thing since
sliced bread Twitter, and it has taken social media by storm. Of course after its initial surge to popularity and mass following by just about everyone, some of its problems and shortcomings are being brought to the surface. The most concerning are the recent articles swirling around that insinuate that if you use Pinterest, you could be sued for your pins.
The truth of the matter is, yes, if you pin an image and don’t have permission from the original creator (photographer, painter, etc.) you could, in theory, be sued for a copyright violation. If a lawsuit were to start, I imagine it would be much like the Napster lawsuits and it would be focused on the “high use” offenders, people who pin thousands of images without permission and attribution. Copyright laws also allow work to be used without permission when someone is criticizing it, commenting on it, reporting on it, teaching about it, or conducting research. Some legal experts have theorized that by commenting on pins that you pin (say that five times fast!) you might be using the images fairly without permission, but that is an untested legal theory so don’t take my word for it.
While some people have chosen to delete their Pinterest account in the wake of this information, if you find yourself pin-obsessed, here are some ways to be a good user and avoid difficulty with copyrights, and other pinners.
Ask Permission & Always Attribute
The best way to avoid any issues with content that you pin is to ask the original creator for permission to pin the item or photo. If you don’t (or can’t) ask for permission, at the very least be sure to properly pin the image so it attributes back to its original source, so other Pinterest users can get straight to the original beginning. If a blogger has a “Pin It” button on their post and you want to pin their recipe or post, use their button for easy original source attribution. (Keep in mind: attribution does not erase copyright requirements or fix copyright violations but it is the polite way to go about your pinning)
And about attribution….Don’t pin search engine results, as they are not properly attributed. If you find an image that you want to pin but you can’t figure out where it came from, check out TinEye, the reverse image search that should find the original source for you in no time flat. Be sure to pin from the source page of an image, not from the image URL, so that other Pinterest users can click through to the original article or image. Finally, don’t pin from the 50th Tumblr repost of something- use TinEye and get straight to the source so other users don’t fall down a rabbit hole trying to find that great pair of sunglasses or shade of eyeshadow.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions
Pinterest does not have a great follow-back feature so don’t get your feelings hurt if your blog idol (or good friend) isn’t following you back on Pinterest. Without a great way to sort followers and friends, it is most likely an oversight on their part and not a personal slight.
Don’t Go Overboard
When you are on a roll it is really easy to pin 100 photos of purple wedding centerpieces or first birthday party ideas or great leather boots, but keep in mind that your pins are showing up in your friend’s streams- consider breaking it up into smaller chunks so you are not overwhelming others with an entire feed of DIY tulle skirt tutorials.
Pinterest doesn’t have a “block” feature and keep in mind that without that face to face contact, what you see as enthusiasm might be interpreted differently by another user. Don’t repin or comment on every single pin by someone else, no matter how much you admire them.
Don’t Use Copy & Paste
It might seem really handy to take a recipe or tutorial post and copy all the directions into the “comment” section of your pin, but that is a copyright violation and should not be done. Pins like this that are reported to Pinterest for copyright violations are removed, so save yourself the hassle and use the comment section to give the recipe a great description so you can remember what it was that struck your interest in the first place, and will let other users find it with ease!
When in Doubt: Refer to Pinterest
Pinterest does have some good resource pages – if you have questions about their copyright policy (or want to report a copyright violation of your own) you can check that out here. Are you looking for HTML coding so you can add a Pinterest button or pin to your blog or post? You can find that on their “Goodies” page. They also have a nice summary of being a polite user which you can always refer to.
Are you following Curvy Girl Guide on Pinterest? We’d love for you to pin your favorite Curvy Girl Guide articles, recipes, and style suggestions!
Daisy is a lawyer married to a lawyer (insert lawyer jokes here) living in a small condo in a big city with a new baby and beagle. She breaks up the legal-speak by blogging about life in Chicago, which is filled with escapades of urban living. In the summer she enjoys patio dining and in the winter wonders what she was thinking when she moved here. You can read more from Daisy on her blog, Just Daisy.