Like many of you last week, I read Roni Loren’s post on copyright infringement, which got me thinking about my own blog. I didn’t use photos in my posts until last year so I don’t have that many posts I need to fix as I go back through my archived photos. But the majority of posts that have photos that weren’t mine* came from Pinterest (you may recall my post about my Pinterest obsession from last year).
Now I’m sure we’ve all heard the kerfuffle about Pinterest and Copyright Infringement. Basically, if you pin and/or re-pin something that is not yours and you did not get permission to pin it you can be sued if the person who owns the rights to the photo comes after Pinterest.
This isn’t a post to pound that fact into your head and make you leave Pinterest. I’m not leaving Pinterest. But I am going to be more careful about what I pin, and I have a plan to make sure my boards aren’t going to get me sued.
EDIT: This method didn’t work, so I scrapped it and deleted all of my boards except for the Custom Pony Board (which are all photos I’ve been given permission to share), the Quotes board (does anyone know for sure if these are protected or not?), the Books board (book photos fall under Fair Use from what I’ve read), and the boards that were made for company contests (those companies were asking people to re-pin their products for free advertising). I’ll be starting over from scratch for all of my inspiration boards, and making sure that each photo I use is pin-able by the owner before I pin it. I’ll also be going through my “likes” and un-liking anything that shouldn’t be on Pinterest, even if it’s not pinned to a board of mine.
Step One: “Like” all my pins. When you hit the “like” button on a pin it puts it in a separate “liked” board. I’m doing this so I won’t lose all of my pins in one fell swoop. (EDIT: I wasn’t clear the first time and have been called out on this part: I’m only liking the pins until I can figure out which are ok to use. Everything that isn’t safe to use I’ll be “unliking” and deleting from my boards.) (EDIT AGAIN: It turns out you can’t “like” your own pins, so I deleted my boards and will be starting over from scratch.)
Step Two: Delete all the pins from my boards that aren’t mine, or I didn’t get express permission to pin. There are a couple photographers on Pinterest who I know are there for the express purpose of sharing their art. They want you to re-pin them. I’m not going to delete those pins, and I’m not going to delete anything that I own (or the pony pins, which I’ve been given permission to feature). But everything else? Trash. Well, for the moment at least.
Step Three: Go through my “like” board and delete anything that comes from a website without a Pin-It button. Or anything that doesn’t link back to the original owner. If I click through the link and can’t find the photo I’m not going to put it on Pinterest, because chances are it shouldn’t be there.
Step Four: Re-pin what’s left. Everything that is properly linking back to the original owner, who has given permission to “Pin-It” will go back into its original board. I have a feeling my Colorful board is going to be sorely lacking pins.
Yes, it’s going to take a long time. Yes, it’s going to be a pain in the ass. But I won’t be stealing anyone’s work, and I won’t be sued. From now on when I see something I want to re-pin I’ll check to make sure it links back to the original owner and is shareable. If I don’t have time I’ll “like” it so I can look it up later, and unlike it if it’s not shareable.
Have you been abusing Pinterest? Do you have plans to stop, or do you think the whole copyright argument is a bunch of nonsense?
*I ask permission for all custom pony posts – if I can’t get permission I don’t feature the custom, which is very sad because there are a few that I really want to show you guys!
Final Edit: I’ve found a list of photographers on Pinterest who are happy for you to re-pin their work: http://farbspiel-photo.com/connect/pinterest-photographers
No more worries about Copyright Infringement