Pinterest: an Opportunity for Creators – or a Threat?

Pinterest logo

When I first saw Pinterest, it almost made me wish I were a visual artist.

“What a fantastic idea!” I thought. It brought to mind all my artist coaching clients who had said to me:

Twitter’s all very well for you, you’re a writer. But no one can see my pictures on Twitter.

They were right. Twitter is a fantastic platform for networking and getting your work and ideas into circulation, but if you’re an artist, designer or photographer, it’s a bit of a handicap not being able to showcase your fabulous visuals.

And Pinterest looked to me like a visual Twitter – instead of sharing short, sharp tweets, users share thumbnail images. A well crafted headline can attract attention on Twitter, but on Pinterest an image is worth far more than 140 characters.

So I wasn’t surprised to see posts on some of my favourite art marketing blogs, such as Art Biz Blog and The Abundant Artist, as well by as creators such as artist Natasha Wescoat and photographer Jim Goldstein, enthusing about the opportunity Pinterest gives artists to showcase their work and build their audience.

Then Alyson Stanfield mentioned to me that there had been a backlash against Pinterest in the comments on Beth Hayden’s guest post How Artists Can Harness the Power of Pinterest. Apparently some artists were up in arms because they believed Pinterest infringed their copyright, or put them in danger of infringing others’ copyright.

When I tweeted links to articles about Pinterest for artists, I started getting replies from creatives who sounded distinctly unimpressed with the site. And when I spoke about Pinterest in my marketing workshops, some people ask me how they could stop Pinterest users pinning their work – which was the opposite of what I thought they would want.

Alyson responded with a post where she wondered whether the Pinterest problem is really a problem. And Trey Ratcliffe – a photographer who has achieved spectacular success by sharing his images online – made an outspoken contribution to the debate in his piece Why Photographers Should Stop Complaining about Copyright and Embrace Pinterest.

It seems the art world (in the broadest sense) is divided about Pinterest, with enthusiasm on one side, and fear and anger on the other. And it’s not a simple case of creators on one side and parasitical file sharers on the other – some of the most passionate advocates for Pinterest are artists themselves, who theoretically have as much as anyone to lose from Pinterest’s alleged erosion of their rights.

So in this post I’m going to look at both sides, to see why some people are so excited and others are so annoyed. I’ll do my best to highlight what I see as a big opportunity for creators, and to address their concerns as I understand them – with some recommendations about how to protect yourself from the potential downside of Pinterest.

In this article, I’m only interested in how Pinterest affects creators – artists, illustrators, photographers, designers, craftsmen and women, and other visual creatives.

I think everyone would agree that from the perspective of an average user, Pinterest is gorgeous and great fun. But for creators, the question is whether this is harmless fun or something that devalues their work and damages their business.

I’ve done my best to cover both sides of the argument – but if you think there’s something important I’ve missed on either side, please leave a comment.

So what is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social network based around sharing images. When you sign up for an account, you get to fill out a minimalist profile (here’s mine), after which you can start sharing images and following other people to see the images they share.

The sharing process is divided into boards and pins:

Boards – as the name suggests, these are virtual mood boards, spaces where you can pin images that relate to the same theme or project.

For example, I’ve created a board of some of my favourite poetry books, another one for my Tips for Creatives published on The 99%, another one for my Free Ebooks for Creative People, and – inevitably – a board called Pinterest for Creative People, where I’m pinning articles containing Pinterest advice for artists and creatives.

Pinterest boards

Pins – these are the virtual items you ‘pin’ to your virtual boards. Every time you add something to Pinterest, you need to either allocate it to an existing board or create a new one for it.

Repinning – this is the Pinterest equivalent of retweeting, in which you take someone else’s pin and add it to one of your own boards.

Liking – pressing the ‘like’ button on a pin is very (ahem) like ‘liking’ something on Facebook – a way of showing your appreciation without having to think of a comment.

Commenting – you can leave a comment on any pin, although sadly it doesn’t look like many people do. I guess they’ve been rendered speechless by all the visual awesomeness.

And that’s basically it. There’s also a beautifully designed Pinterest iPhone app which will eat your leisure hours for breakfast if you let it.

Three types of opportunity for creators on Pinterest

Pinterest iconWhen I work with coaching clients on their online marketing, I look for ways to dovetail their creative interests with their marketing activities – that makes it more enjoyable as well as more effective. In this respect, Pinterest does a great job of killing three birds with one stone.

1. Creative inspiration

Choose the right people to follow and it’s hard not to feel inspired when you look through your Pinterest stream. It’s a neverending calvacade of gorgeousness – photos, paintings, illustrations, architecture, dolls, infographics, and so on and on.

Another way Pinterest can help your creativity is by allowing you to create mood boards of images and webpages that relate to different creative projects. Many creators already use mood boards as an integral part of their creative process, so using Pinterest in this way adds nothing to your workload (it may even save you time).

And having a mood board for a project is a nice, subtle way of advertising it. When your followers see you collecting material around a theme, it acts as a ‘trailer’ for the finished work, building anticipation. So make sure you give this kind of board a title that whets their appetite!

2. Showcasing your taste

Creative work is born of taste as well as skill. You can have all the technical ability in the world, but there’s not much point unless you have a finely honed aesthetic sense. Compiling boards will not only help you refine your critical thinking skills, they also help to build your authority in others’ eyes by showcasing your taste.

It’s impossible to create great art unless you first know how to appreciate it. When I edited an issue of Magma Poetry magazine, I could tell instantly which poems had been sent in by people who never read contemporary poetry. Conversely, I write about other poets work on my poetry blog, partly for fun, and partly to showcase my (impeccable) taste in poetry to people who share my enthusiasms.

Your Pinterest boards could perform the same function for you: establishing your credibility by demonstrating your appreciation of exceptional work. You should aim to be one of the ‘people to follow’ in your category, a well-known source of beautiful and interesting pins.

And when people see that you have an exceptionally discerning eye for good work, it’s natural for them to wonder what your work is like …

3. Showcasing your work

Some people say you shouldn’t pin your own work on Pinterest, but if you’re sharing images on the site I think you’d be mad not to include your own. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to get your work into circulation on such an attractive network?

As a general rule the done thing on social networks is to share more of other people’s work than your own. As well as establishing yourself as a curator with good taste, this looks generous, feels good, and can help you build relationships with the people whose work you share. And you may well want to take a similar approach on Pinterest, with plenty of boards displaying other people’s work, mixed in with a few of your own.

On the other hand, I would personally be happy to follow an artist on Pinterest who shared nothing but her own stunning creations. If the work’s good, what’s not to like?

At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, if you’re hoping to sell your products or artwork, then it makes sense to pin an image from a sales page rather than a blog post. (Which is another difference between Pinterest and other social networks, where it’s usually more effective to share blog posts than sales pages.)

Is Pinterest a threat to creators?

Pinterest iconMost of the objections to Pinterest by creatives centre around copyright infringement. This is understandable given that your images are not just your passion, they are your livelihood. And visual artists aren’t alone in protesting about unauthorised copying and sharing of their work on the internet – we’ve seen the same thing many times in relation to music, movies and publishing.

Now I’m not a visual artist, but I do feel your pain to some extent. Practically every time I publish an article on this blog, people copy and republish the entire article on their own blog. Sometimes they are just clueless about copyright. And sometimes they are criminals, generating spam blogs stuffed with adverts, making money off the work of bloggers like me.

It’s annoying but it doesn’t stop me blogging – because in my experience the benefits outweigh the downside.

“People are sharing my work without my permission.”

I hear this one a lot, and not just in relation to Pinterest. Some creators seem to be deeply suspicious of the internet, viewing it as some kind of Wild West where the laws of civilisation and intellectual property have broken down. The basic assumption seems to be that since a creator’s work is his or her intellectual property, it’s a Very Bad Thing if anybody copies or shares it in any shape or form without getting explicit permission in advance.

To me, this assumption is based on a limited way of looking at intellectual property, as well as the potential of the internet to help creators find an audience and customers for their work.

Let’s start with intellectual property. Part of the problem stems from the idea of intellectual property. The metaphor suggests that an image is akin to a table, chair or laptop – something that is the owner’s exclusive property, and should not be taken without their permission. But making a digital copy does not destroy the original. It’s possible for everyone to have a copy, including the original owner.

Things look a bit different if you think about your work in terms of rights rather than property. The word ‘copyright’ means ‘the right to copy’. This right is owned by the creator. He can choose to enforce it, or to grant it to other people. Often, this right is granted in exchange for payment.

But some creators choose to allow others to copy and share their work for free, and without asking permission, by attaching a Creative Commons or GPL licence to their work.

Why would they do this? Sometimes because they are working for fun or to promote a cause, and want as many people as possible to see their work. And in some cases because they are commercially minded, and they look at the idea of people copying their work and sharing it with thousands of others and think: “Wow! Free marketing!”

Now let’s consider the internet. It’s an amazingly efficient platform for making and sharing digital copies. So if you’re locked into the idea of your intellectual property as something you need to hold onto at all costs, and prevent people from sharing, the internet looks utterly terrifying.

But if you view your copyright as a set of rights that you can either grant or withhold, depending on your goals, then you may well look at the internet and think: “Wow! A free marketing machine!”

And in this scenario, your problem isn’t “How can I stop people copying and sharing my work?” but “How can I get as many people as possible to copy and share my work?”. And a website like Pinterest looks less like a threat and more like a fantastic opportunity.

“Pinterest ‘thumbnails’ are enormous! It’s like they’re republishing my original image.”

I can understand this being a concern, especially as I get annoyed when people copy and paste my entire articles instead of an excerpt.

I don’t know how Pinterest affects image search results (if you do, please leave a comment). But assuming Pinterest posts doesn’t consistently rank above your own site, and they are sending you traffic, I’d say the benefits of this outweigh the risks – as long as you’re not sharing hi-res images (see below) and you’ve set your website up to capitalise on the traffic you get from Pinterest.

“But most people just view the images on Pinterest – they don’t click through to my site.”

I think this is a ‘glass half full’ way of looking at it. Most people who encounter you and your work anywhere on the internet are not going to do what you want, otherwise there’d be a lot more internet millionaires!

Most blog readers don’t comment on blog posts. Most Twitter followers don’t retweet your tweets. Most visitors to your site don’t buy anything. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth writing a blog, using Twitter or having a website.

The key question is: “Are there enough people taking action that helps you achieve your goals?” Even if only 1% of website visitors buy anything from you, it’s worth having a website if that 1% spend enough for your business to thrive.

Even if only a small percentage of Pinterest users click through to your site, it’s worth having your work on Pinterest if enough of those people do what you want – subscribe to your newsletter, buy your work, or spread the word about how great you are (maybe by sharing more of your work on Pinterest!).

“People are copying my images without attribution onto their blogs or Facebook pages, and Pinterest users are pinning the copies!”

Now this one is seriously annoying.

As I said earlier on, some people are utterly clueless about copyright and the internet – these are the folks who happily use Google Image Search to copy and paste images onto their own blogs, Facebook stream, or wherever.

So if a Pinterest user then pins that blog post or Facebook update, the Pinterest traffic goes to their page instead of your website. Nobody knows it’s your image, so you don’t get any credit or any benefit.

But I’m struggling to see how this is Pinterest’s fault. Surely it’s the fault of the clueless blogger/Facebook user? The Pinterest team can do many things, but educating 800 million Facebook users about copyright isn’t one of them.

It’s still annoying though. And I don’t see it stopping any time soon. You’re not going to be able to catch and recall everyone who does it, so you have two basic options, both of which are described below: prevent anyone from pinning images from your website (which I don’t recommend); or watermark your images with your name/website address (which I do).

“Pinterest’s Terms & Conditions make you liable if an image owner sues”

One of the biggest concerns I’ve seen about Pinterest’s Terms of Service is the part that states in CAPITAL LETTERS that if you share someone else’s content on Pinterest, you are liable for all damages and legal costs if they sue for copyright infringement.

This made photographer Kirsten Kowalski so nervous that she tearfully deleted her Pinterest inspiration boards and wrote a blog post about it that attracted the attention of a lot of people – including Pinterest founder Ben Silberman, who then rang her and spent an hour listening to her concerns and asking for suggestions on how to improve the site. He promised her some improvements, and Pinterest have since revised their ToS, but Kowalski is still not convinced it’s safe to go back to pinning others’ work.

If you’re really concerned about this part, you might want to restrict your pinning to either your own images, or images published by creators on their own websites – and with ‘pin this’ buttons on the page indicating they are happy – nay eager – for you to pin their work.

How to make sure YOU get the credit and benefit when people share your work on Pinterest

Of course, there’s no point having people share your work on Pinterest unless you get the credit. And you need to make sure that there is, in Hugh MacLeod’s words, a “trail of breadcrumbs” that leads from the work you allow people to copy for free, to the work you ultimately want them to buy. Here are some tips on how to do that.

Don’t give away the farm

If you’re selling digital images, it’s not a great idea to publish large, high resolution images of every single one of your images in the public areas of your website. If they ended up all over Pinterest and other websites, there wouldn’t be a massive incentive for people to buy them from you. But you’re probably not doing this.

If you’re selling prints or physical artworks, you can probably benefit from being a lot more generous than you think when it comes to sharing high-quality images of them on Pinterest and elsewhere on the Internet. As Hugh said to me when I asked him how he managed to sell so many of his cartoons after giving them away for free:

If you know any website where you can download, for free, a genuine Picasso oil painting, or ditto with a Paul Klee or Joan Miro, please let me know.

Hugh has a very busy Gapingvoid Pinterest account, and I don’t hear him complaining that Pinterest is a threat to his business.

Don’t publish high resolution images on the web

I should point out that Trey Ratcliffe disagrees with this one – he argues that being generous and sharing hi-resolution images on the web (with a Creative Commons licence prohibiting commercial use) has been key to his phenomenal success. But if you’re really nervous about people ripping you off, this should allay some of your fears.

For one thing, 72 dpi is the maximum resolution a web browser will display, so – unless your images are intended for download rather than browsing – publishing them at high resolution will slow your website down needlessly.

72 dpi isn’t good enough to make a high-quality print reproduction, so the opportunities for profiting by ripping off your work are limited. Save the hi-res images for your paying customers, or use them as special gifts.

Watermark your images

Not big ugly watermarks that disfigure the images and make decent law-abiding nice people feel slightly guilty every time they look at your work (not the kind of association you want to create!). But a discrete tagline in a bottom corner, with your name, website address and maybe (c) and the year of publication.

With a watermarked image, viewers will always be able to identify you as the creator, and find your website if they want to buy from you, even if the image has been published without acknowledgment by thieves or knuckleheads.

But can you convert visitors from Pinterest into customers?

Pinterest iconThis basically boils down to whether you are good at converting website visitors from any source into customers. If you’re not so good at that, check out my article How to Turn Website Visitors into Customers for Your Creative Business.

Are Pinterest visitors more or less likely to buy than visitors from other sources? It obviously depends what you’re selling, but – unlike many social networks – Pinterest users share a high proportion of links to products and artworks for sale, so if you sell gorgeous stuff it’s not inconceivable that it could be a happy hunting ground for you.

For more on this subject see this article by Lateral Action co-founder Tony Clark: Is Pinterest Traffic Worthless?

If you really don’t want people to share your work on Pinterest…

If you’re not convinced you that having your work shared on Pinterest is a good thing, you can add some code to your website that makes it impossible for Pinterest users to in your images. Instructions are doing that are at the bottom of this page.

What do you think of Pinterest?

Do you agree that Pinterest is a land of opportunity for creators?

Are you concerned about Pinterest? Have I addressed those concerns – or did I miss something important?

Do you use Pinterest to promote your creative work? If so, what results are you seeing? Any tips?

About the Author: Mark McGuinness is a coach who helps artists and creatives get their work in front of the right people online. For a FREE 26 week creative career guide, sign up for Mark’s course The Creative Pathfinder. And if he hasn’t scared you off, you can follow Mark on Pinterest here.

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Responses to this Post

Comments

  1. Great post! I’ve only just started exploring pinterest – not even, I’m just starting looking and am already aware of lots of clashing opinons.
    I tend to go for sharing rather than holding back and agree with the ‘free marketing’ concept – with sensible precautions used.
    Look forward to seeing the comments and users’ experiences and opinions on this one

  2. It still shocks me that artists are cringing at the virality of Pinterest for fear that there would be ANY type of infringment on their work.

    For one, Pinterest is a pretty small, grassroots startup, that by no means, has the audacity or arrogance of the one man Zuckerberg to even want to infringe on the hundreds and thousands of artists, photographers, designers etc. Their mission is to create a sharing network. It’s a very simple one, and at that, nothing like Facebook in terms of privacy issues.

    The fact that artists would not want their work to be shared is the hilarity of it to me. You’re already on the web. How protected/private do you really think you are? One of my biggest venues for infringing aka inspired sellers is Etsy! I have more people copying my work there than anywhere on the web. And that WILL happen as you get more successful. I am in the public arena with licenses in stores worldwide. Of course I’m going to get some infringement. And we’re afraid of Pinterest? They changed their wording a little, but you got to use some common sense. Not everyone is out to get you, and if you’re UNLUCKY, noone will copy you (highest form of flattery. sorry folks!)

    As far as wether Pinterest is a viable extension of our numerous self-promoting tools for visual work? I still as of yet, have not seen a reason. For now, like most networks, we may never if ever see any monetary reason to use it. It wasn’t until 4 years later that Facebook was even meritable for me to use, and now stands for 90% of my income as an artist. Things can work out whether you want it to or not.

    It’s through experimentation and risk taking if you want to share your art on the web. That is simply how it is. You are exposed. That’s a good thing. If people are that afraid, they should be copyrighting their work as SOON as it’s created and have a good lawyer on hand. :)

    • You’re already on the web. How protected/private do you really think you are?

      That’s my starting-point. Surely if you put something on the web you want others to see it? Which these days means sharing it in some shape or form.

      Yes, it’s typically hard to draw a straight line between social networking and sales, since networks are about visibility rather than closing the sale, which happens further down the line. Glad to hear Facebook is doing the business for you!

      Re copyright – here in the UK (and I believe the US?) copyright is automatically granted as soon as the work is created (on this comment I’m writing, for example). But you can also register your copyright for additional protections.

  3. What Natasha said. A bunch. I don’t know that I can add anything more.

  4. Lucille McDermott says:

    I can answer only the question about search engine results.

    Pinterest is absolutely devastating. It is replete with links with misleading anchor text meant to fool search engines to lead towards Pinterest, and away from the websites the materials come from. This is accomplished in at least 4 separate methods that are too complex to detail here.

    In addition to these very sneaky practices that very few people are aware of, material pinned on Pinterest, in the view of a search engine bot, is duplicate content. The bot must choose an “original” and discard the “copies.” Pinterest is set up so that the search engine bots will consider Pinterest’s copy an original, and the original, a copy.

    Essentially, some people will see a bit of extra traffic in their logs coming from pins. They will not, however, be able to quantify, or even detect, the traffic that Pinterest is diverting away from them.

    There is also the matter of scale. This applies both to copyright infringement and search engine matters. For copyright infringement, never before were there 12 million people scouring the internet daily to upload images to a platform like Pinterest. While this infringement may be welcome for some artists, it is unwelcome by others. There is no opinion on the matter that fits every business model, hence the division.

    Getting back to search engines, whereas pre-Pinterest, these sort of shenanigans to sabotage other people’s search engine rankings were commonly done, but mostly inneffective because of the small scale. This kind of sabotage is done by Pinterest in a scale unprecedented. There is little doubt that Pinterest will grab not only the content of the source websites, but their traffic as well – while giving the illusion of sending traffic. Their entire linking scheme is geared towards this goal.

    • well dang, I didn’t even know about this, and that almost immediately makes me decide I should delete my account. I do not like my links taken away. Copy my art but don’t take away my traffic! That’s the whole point! Now I’ll have to think some more on this. Good info, Lucille!

      • I’ve done a few unscientific image searches for your name (logged out of Google accounts) and I found a lot of images on your own blogs, and no Pinterest pins at all.

        So in your case at least it doesn’t look as though Pinterest is wreaking much devastation. :-) (Unless Lucille has evidence to the contrary that is.)

        • Hahah well, as soon as I saw this, I did some research and immediately jumped ship! I will keep my account until any changes arise, but it’s good to know that really, I shouldn’t have much issues with traffic. Hopefully…

          • If Pinterest steals traffic by nature or it’s such a common and successful practice, what do you think resale giants are doing placing images of their goods there? Keep close eye on your statistic. If it drops, then start looking for the reason. I saw reports from artists that their web site traffic went up because of Pinterest. That’s easy to verify if you have access to referral stats. Look at yours, what do they say?

            On what the bots will consider “original” – it does not boil down to mere popularity/authority of the site that publishes your content. Determining who is the original and who is a copier is a bit more complex. Authority is one factor, then there is how much value your original page holds in the eyes of search engines (is content unique, how many link back to it, etc.). Then there is yet another factor: how many web sites that copy your content credit you with the link to your original page. If the number of backlinks is high, it can overturn damage done by higher authority and not so good page metrics. For search engines, a lot of link attributions going to the same page is a strong indicator that this page is the original and should rank higher. So when you post your art on Pinterest, be sure to include the link back to its page on your web site. The more repins you get, the more link attributions you will get, the better are your chances to come on top of social networks in search results.

            • Thanks Yelena, for this and the other comment.

              There are indeed lots of permutations to consider! Definitely worth getting to know the referral stats so you can see where the traffic is coming from and what the trends are.

    • I’d be interested in reading any research/documentation of this effect. I have a fair background in SEO – mind sharing a link or two?

    • Thanks for picking up on my search question Lucille. If that’s true – and I don’t doubt your sincerity – it’s definitely a big concern.

      As Cory says, it would be really helpful to have some more details – do you have any links, or could you explain a little more about some of the methods you’re talking about?

    • OK I asked Lucille if she would be prepared to share any more details of the alleged ‘methods’ used by Pinterest to fool search engines, and she said ‘no’.

      So I’ve asked her to provide an example of a Pinterest pin outranking an artist’s original in a set of search results. I’ve not had a reply as yet.

      If anyone knows what methods Lucille is talking about, or if you have any evidence of Pinterest pins ranking above creators’ originals in search results, I’d love to hear from you.

      For those of you who are naturally concerned about this – if I were you I wouldn’t press the panic button until I see hard evidence that Pinterest is having a negative impact on creators’ search rankings.

      • You probably won’t find anything convincing about this notion. Articles reporting this and similar issues usually lack in factual evidence (say, the author started to pin his/her images on Pinterest, nothing else in marketing activities changed, and traffic started to decline) and in understanding of how search engines work. And there is so much misinformation about search engines floating around that it’s easy to misconstrue the logic behind your traffic changes based on random articles published by people you personally don’t know as experts.

      • Mark,

        I’ve seen several instances in which pinterest outranks its original source.

        For example, search “Colorful Summer Arm Candy – Sara Designs launched at ShopBop”

        and you will see that pinterest along with similar types of websites outrank the original source although they link to it.

        • Thanks Katherine, much appreciated!

          I guess it’s also a concern that the Google results show your home page, not the original post – hopefully that doesn’t mean your ranking goes down when it slides off the home page.

          I note that your piece is a review of the original maker’s product, so I did a search for ‘Sara Designs “Lambskin Woven Wrap Watch”‘ and was pleased to see the original product come out on top.

        • Ok, I googled without quotes and got a paid ad for shopbop.com and a bunch of links to weheartit.com, some other aggregation site, then to handmadereviews.net’s original review page. The first link to Pinterest was 2 screens down, followed by more links to weheartit.com’s home page. Googling with quotes brought up about the same picture. My search preferences are set to 100 results per page. You clearly got different results, and that illustrates the modern state of search: no two people are going to see the exact same picture for the same search query. Google works hard to deliver the most relevant results to every searcher based on their locations, search histories, search preferences, and so on. If the goal of the original page was to promote the artist’s work, spread the word – that goal was achieved no matter how people arrived at the original article, even though if it happened through an aggregator. If you are concerned about traffic to handmadereviews.net itself, then again as long as people click through Pinterest or some other web site, you should be fine. Do you know if they do and what the exact numbers tell you? Now, how likely is it that an average person would search for the exact title of the article? I don’t think it’s a common search phrase. If I search for Sara Designs, the designer’s site, her Facebook page, etc. come fist. Similar picture if I add ShopBop to the query. I could somewhat understand the concern if Pinterest or a similar visual site outranked the artist’s original page (people could just stop there and never click through the original selling page), but what exactly is the harm for a review if it ranks lower then references to it? And if it ranks lower, maybe the site needs extra work to make Google see it as a more important source of info then Pinterest or whoever else came on top?

  5. Thanks for the article and all the links to other’s opinions. I have received a lot of food for thought.

    I don’t make a living from my artwork (yet) and so I haven’t felt threatened by Pinterest. I’ve been thrilled when others have shared my work/tutorials – but as I said, I don’t make my living through my art work yet. I think of Pinterest as a great marketing tool and I do try to visit the sites of things I pin because I hate clicking through and finding something has been pinned from spam or other such nastiness and I don’t want to spread those germs!

    As a pinner my biggest concern was the big bad nasty language of being liable if someone sues over a pin. That was scary enough to keep me from pinning for awhile. The changes in the ToS have been helpful. I am back to happily pinning away. I think of all my pinboards as inspiration without needing to use every wall in my house. They help me remember where something is so I can go back and find it – whether that maybe something I want to buy or create.

    • I do try to visit the sites of things I pin because I hate clicking through and finding something has been pinned from spam

      If only everyone were that conscientious! :-)

      Great description of using Pinterest for inspiration and reference, reminds me of the way I use Delicious. I guess Pinterest is a visual bookmarking site as much as a social network.

  6. Victor Reynolds says:

    Never tried Pinterest yet, but may check it out.

    As a photographer, I’ve learned from Day One to ALWAYS reduce your image’s resolution prior to uploading onto the web. I too don’t believe in uploading hi-res images for concern of someone trying to copy (and Photoshop) it. It’s all about using common sense. Your images are already exposed (no pun intended) when you post them on the web. If people are that concerned, as one previous poster put it, just copyright every image prior to uploading and have a good lawyer on hand.

    Great post.

    • Yes, to me exposure (pun appreciated!) is the point of putting something on the web – just make sure it’s in a format that helps you influence how it can be used, and make the trail of breadcrumbs back to your site as clear as possible.

  7. I’ve recently started to do my virtual moodboards on pinterest. This is the part I love best, seeing those pins collected, gives me new hooks to create work. My field of interest is jewelry, nature, and random things that WoW me. I am having a lot of fun doing this and when I search the internet for material I can easly park it on a board.
    When do I pin something already on pinterest I follow the link, just like Lisa, to check if the site is ok. Then I link from the original site.
    As with all new social network sites you bring your own ethical standard with you. So I always try to pin the origal picture. It takes a bit more work but it’s worth it.
    In the future I will start sharing my own work as well on Pinterest but in connection with my mood boards.
    Helga

  8. I’d love to hear more from Lucille too – whatever the intentions of the pinterest originators, what’s almost more important to me is, is it working for or against us?

    I live in a small island – I have to get ‘out there’ for me to have a chance at being successful with my creative work. I have a long way to go with promotion on the internet and know it’s a lot of work to put in, so I’m keen to make my decisions with as much info in hand as possible!

    Natasha and Helga – I had a look at your work and sites – lovely, both of you! Inspiring me to get my out of date links from my blog sorted and my site up this summer!

    • what’s almost more important to me is, is it working for or against us?

      That’s exactly what I’m interested in. So I’d love to hear examples – positive or negative – of creators’ experience with Pinterest (search rankings or otherwise).

  9. Some of the loudest voices claiming copyright infringement are from the same artists who don’t even put credit lines on their images on their websites, blogs, and Facebook pages. You can’t blame other people for copyright violation if you don’t claim copyright in the first place.

    I have decided to only pin artists’ works who give me permission. I have pin boards from artists in my classes and membership programs and about 99% of my artists want to share. Hallelujah!

    I, too, would like to see examples of misleading links. This would be of concern and is something I haven’t noticed. Would love to see a post on this, Lucille – with screen captures and proof. I’m not doubting. I just don’t want to pass on any information that I can’t verify myself.

    I was astounded at Shopify’s breakdown of all the traffic they have generated from Pinterest.

    http://www.shopify.com/blog/6058268-how-pinterest-drives-ecommerce-sales

  10. So far, the only information supporting this theory on traffic stealing is an article from FineArtAmerica (if noone has referred to this yet). There’s not a whole lot of evidence but they explain what’s more than likely going on. Let me know what you guys think of this…

    http://fineartamerica.com/pinterest-enables-copyright-theft-on-a-global-scale.html

    • Thanks for sharing Natasha. He makes some good points about copyright – i.e. it would be a safer position for Pinterest to have ‘opt in’ as the default rather than expecting creators to ‘opt out’ by placing code on their site if they don’t want their images shared.

      As far as search is concerned, he says that IF Pinterest were to outrank the original image in a search, then it would represent a loss of potential traffic and income to the creator. I think we would all agree with that, and get concerned if we saw it happening.

      But he doesn’t describe any mysterious/nefarious SEO techniques Pinterest might be using to achieve this. Nor does he offer any evidence that this is happening.

      He does cite one example, of an image on FineArtAmerica.com (his own site) that ranks highly for “rocky mountain sunset photos”. And says (rightly) that it would be worse for the photographer if someone pinned it, and if that pin outranked his original.

      So I searched for “rocky mountain sunset photos” on Google and his image came on at #2. So far so good. I then went through all the search results for that term (only two pages) and couldn’t find a single Pinterest post. Even better.

      Then I checked the original image page to see whether this was because he had disabled pinning to preserve his competitive advantage. And guess what I found? A Pinterest ‘pin this’ button! :-)

      Apparently they give their photographers the choice of whether to have the button on their pages, and it looks like this photographer has opted in. So in the example given, there not only seems to be no harm from Pinterest, but the photographer is keen to have his image pinned.

  11. Jeri-Lynn Woods says:

    Speaking as a photographer and artist, when I discovered Pinterest my first thought was “What a great place to display my F-R-E-E images!”
    I divide my works into items that I provide for free under a Creative Commons BY license – which are posted on Pinterest (and eventually on my website, when I have one) at 72ppi resolution – and those that I will be selling. The ones I plan to sell will ONLY be posted on the Internet as small, low-res WATERMARKED images. (Not discretely watermarked as suggested in this article – a good idea for give-away images, by the way! – but with one of those annoying watermarks that lets you see the image but ruins it for anyone who is thinking of stealing it for re-use).
    Since selling on the Internet depends, in part, on building people’s confidence in yourself as a reliable “expert” in whatever it is, offering free (and genuinely useful) content to people is a great way to promote your services or products.
    To my mind, Pinterest is a great marketing idea for any creative artist – provided you’re willing to use a little common sense about it, and don’t mind giving away SOME stuff!

    • Yes, really good point about deciding what work you do and don’t want to be shared online. Once you’re clear about where you want to draw the line, it’s a lot easier to relax and enjoy sharing SOME of it – and knowing that you’re not giving up control of all of it.

  12. For me, it’s just like the music industry — the model has changed and people need to evolve or they will get left behind.

    I think of Pinterest as an art gallery where you can browse for what you want and reward those artists that do great work by purchasing their art. It’s like a crowded source Etsy.

    Great point about 72 dpi. I never thought of that.

    Jarie

  13. I was an early adopter of Pinterest because at the time, I wrote a budget decorating blog, and Pinterest was an easy and useful way to keep visual track of other websites, artists, designer, etc that I wanted to blog about later. So my experience of Pinterest has always been user (and bookmarking) focused.

    In my regular life, however, I’m a marketing professional. From a marketing standpoint, most of the (albeit limited) research seems to indicate that active pinners are also the people MOST likely to purchase items found via Pinterest.

    (References:
    http://bizrateinsights.com/blog/2012/04/13/online-consumer-pulse-pinterest-is-not-only-for-window-shopping-nearly-1-in-3-buy/

    http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/03/28/survey-21-of-users-on-pinterest-have-purchased-an-item-that-they-found-on-the-site/)

    But let me step away from speaking as a marketing person and tell you more about my direct experience as an avid user.

    I love Pinterest because it exposes me to all types of products, art, crafts, and ideas that I may not have found on my own. When I wanted a new dress for a formal dinner, I didn’t google dresses… I checked my Pinterest board first and then searched “formal dresses” on Pinterest to see what other people had pinned.

    When I wanted new pillows for my living room… ditto.

    When I wanted to find an interesting piece of jewelry to buy for my mom… ditto.

    When I want to find a new recipe to cook for dinner… ditto.

    You see, I’ve developed a stream of content that is very interesting and worthwhile to me by carefully curating the list of people I follow. I check out their boards, I see they share my taste and interests, so I follow them. And since I trust their judgement (i.e. I chose to follow them), I feel confident in trusting their referrals for products, websites, recipes, etc.

    You know the marketing adage that it takes 7-13 exposures (or touches, as I was taught) before someone trusts your brand enough to make a purchase? Well Pinterest cuts that down immensely by providing social proof… I don’t have to be personally exposed to you, your art, or your website 7-13 times now before I decide I’m willing to invest… Now, I see that my best friend pinned you (and maybe 4 more people in my stream repinned you or your product received 30 “likes”) and I feel confident that you have something I should check out.

    I think, if you sell online, the benefits from being pinned definitely outweigh the negatives. As Mark mentioned, the act of being online puts you at risk of having your copyright infringed… I often found my decorating posts completely copied word-for-word on spam blog sites (even the post where I discussed my family losing our home to a fire!). I’ve also found freelance articles I’ve written copied word-for-word on spam sites… this is part and parcel of doing business online. But those type of people exist even in the offline world… you can’t let them keep you from doing what’s best for your business.

    • Thanks Shauntelle, those are very encouraging stats! And if anything your description of using Pinterest to research purchases is even more encouraging. The social proof aspect makes perfect sense to me.

  14. I found this post really informative, covering all the areas that have, lets say vexed me. My initial impression of Pintrest was that it contravened copyright (mine and everyone elses) . I hugely enjoyed the experience of looking at all the fantastically creative work that people were doing. Dilemma, to pin or not to pin? I was dragged in, I loved it, I appreciated the work that people were doing, stuff I may not see otherwise. I liked the fact that people liked my work. Fab, what a lovely community to be part of. Then, bam! I read the post by the photographer who tearfully deleted her account. So I too was committing the 10th deadly sin, I was infringing other’s copyright. I didn’t really mind if people were infringing mine, if they linked to me. But, I thought’ they’ could get me for this (well theoretically someone out there). So I deleted images that I loved, and I haven’t looked since. But, and it’s a big one-I think it’s brilliant, it’s such an immense source of inspiration for every aspect of my work, that after reading this feature, I am going to dip back in and work on how to make it work. The world keeps turning, and its crazy to stop turning with it…that’s called being a dinosaur.

    • Thanks Lynn, great decription of the mixed feelings Pinterest evokes! It’s not just a case of people being 100% for or against the site – we can experience both reactions at once.

  15. Lillian Egleston says:

    Pinterest is sort of like a loaded gun… Depending on how it is being used it can be a good thing or a bad thing.

    As an artist myself and a Pinterest User I really search to find the source before I “Pin” so I can link to the source and give credit. This is very time consuming… What I often find happening on Pinterest is users “Pinning” an image they found for sale on Etsy or the blog of some other creative type and instead of commenting about the item or using the artist’s title they will label it as DIY (Do It Yourself) and often even give instructions! Once the image has entered the Pinterest system it is just assumed by most users to be O.K. and they “Pin” away without a second thought.

    Instead of “Repinning” images immediately, now I just “Like” them… Later I go back and check the source. If the “Pin” is linked to the correct source I “Repin” it… If it is not properly linked I “Pin” it from the source. ~ This way I feel that I am encouraging people to do the research by rewarding them with a “Repin” when they have done the work and withholding the reward if they haven’t… It’s a little thing, but it might help the way people “Pin”…

    But it’s not just the Pinterest Users… Often the “Pin” leads to a blog where the image has already been plagiarized by the blogger… Upon further research occasionally it become obvious that information (name or title) has been removed or added since the image was originally posted online.

    Sometimes the image has been “shared” so much that it becomes impossible to find the original source… At which time I “walk away” and refuse to further “Pin” it. But that is so sad because somewhere there is a very creative person who originally created that image and that person can’t even be found in order to receive credit! (Not to mention the loss of potential sales!)

    So, what have I learned from my experience on Pinterest? Unless you plan on giving your image away to the world NEVER put it online without your © name and/or your web address! – Visual Artists take a more assertive role in protecting your work! (Even then the crooks will have their way with it… but at least the regular everyday people who just don’t know any better won’t do so much harm.)

    • Lillian – that’s a model way of working! Very good advice. I’m thinking I will develop a watermark and use it on all my images so that even if it is reused it will just be quite difficult for the source not to be shown.
      Though even in typing that I feel unsharing! So strike ‘all’ and replace with ‘all except my giveaway images’ because it’s the generousity of the internet that reconfirms so well for us that there are many good people out there – something I would like to contribute to as much as I can.

    • Heh, maybe there should be a Pinterest Proficiency Test. :-)

      Those are very sound principles for the ‘to pin or not to pin?’ question. Given that others’ aren’t so rigorous, I guess watermarking is the sensible option.

    • Lillian, you perfectly described my approach to Pinterest.

      I’ll admit, that approach developed after my photographer husband deleted his account. We had a long discussion about copyright infringement and, although we still disagree about Pinterest, I revised HOW I pin to do my best to cite credit where credit is due.

      One of the latest updates Pinterest has made (I’ve noticed) is that it automatically grabs the meta data that’s attached to the picture and includes it in the description box. Artists and crafters can take advantage of this and help to make the correct citation easier by using the “alt” tag in their image source code when posting the image. Add something like “art piece name copyright My name via My website” and maybe include a price too, if you want! It will also make your photos more search engine friendly too. :)

      (If you’re a wordpress user, when you upload your photo, just make sure you fill in the “alternate text” box and you should be covered.)

  16. I have just started using Pinterest and am finding it fantastic for visual research. Even more, I think it has sharpened my visual acuteness and understanding of what I respond to.
    But since reading your excellent post, I have decided to be a lot more careful of how I post. Half the time, I was checking back to the original web source and checking the attributions, but now I won’t be repinning without getting the web source & attribution right. This might mean I have to stop following some people, as I am too tempted by their unattributed but scrumptious images!
    It also means using my iphone app less as checking it is too tedious a process on the app.
    I will also be more rigorous about putting my name on my own images I post on the web – and I agree that anyone who posts stuff on the web, in any form, will get unattributed reposts no what platform they use. I notice an awful lot of unattributed pins come from Tumblrs full of unattributed posts. I think Tumblr is worse than Pinterest because you cant click through to the image source.
    I can see the ‘open source’ effect from Pinterest in my work already – I have a found a very uncommon technique on Pinterest and am now using it in my work. But this is how creative work has always evolved (the technique of oil painting went viral in the 15th century) but the internet has speeded up this evolution

    • You know, Tumblr is one of my pet niggles – I nearly mentioned it in the bit about people copying and pasting my blog posts in their entirety – it seems to happen a lot more on Tumblr than other platforms. I don’t know if it attracts a particular type of user, or whether the functionality makes it especially easy to copy and paste whole pages.

      Imagine if they’d had Pinterest in the 15th century! I bet Uccello and della Francesca would have had boards worth following…

  17. Great article!

    I love image collecting sites like pinterest and polyvore. It’s so fun to go around and collect images of things you love (whether it be a cute dress, freshly baked cupcakes, or a photograph of Venice).

    As a creator, I’m a bit divided on it though. I don’t mind if my illustrations and handmade jewelry are shared on websites (as long as there’s credit & a link back to me), but I’m not too fond of people putting the items in folders labled ‘diy ideas’ or ‘something I want to make’, because I feel like it devalues my hard work in a way. It’s great that the word about my work is being spread and inspiring others, but not so great when it’s being promoted in the light of copying or not worth paying for or so easy anyone could do it.

    As for the copyright issue, I’m fine with people sharing my work, as long as they give credit to me as the artist, link back to my site, and aren’t making money directly off of my work (such as copying or duplicating my items for sale).

    Great topic & and thanks for the opportunity to speak my mind! :)

    • I’m not too fond of people putting the items in folders labled ‘diy ideas’ or ‘something I want to make’

      Ouch! There’s nothing like putting your stuff on the internet for developing a thick skin. :-)

      But I wouldn’t personally interpret those board titles as indicating that the work was ‘not worth paying for’. To me it suggests they are using your work for inspiration, which may not be your ideal outcome, but could be seen as a compliment.

  18. Great post and very interesting and informative discussion here, well done Mark :) Our MA Entrepreneurship for Creative Practice students are currently working on their IP assignments so this is perfect timing. Creative Commons has been mentioned and I’m wondering whether Creative Barcode could help anyone? I’ve posted a discussion with a link to Mark’s post here http://lnkd.in/iFAR2a
    Hopefully we’ll get some more comments here too.

    • Thanks Karin, you can probably tell the discussion I had with your students was one of the inspirations for this post! Creative Barcode is an interesting initiative, would be good to hear from anyone who has experience of using both Pinterest and Creative Barcode.

  19. This is a great discussion, thank you. I’m a new pinterest user and a writer and I’m loving using the site to create vision boards for my novels. I’ve been reading some of the debate and I decided to only pin from sites that have a creative commons licence, which is kind of limiting image-wise.
    Now I’m wondering if I’m being a bit too cautious and it’s ok to pin so long as I attribute.

    As for unattributed images, I found a pinterest user with the most wildly, divinely gorgeous landscape images. I yearned to pin them! But he hadn’t attributed a single one so I reluctantly didn’t. Is there a way to let someone know that you loved their stuff and didn’t pin it because it wasn’t linked back? Or is that being a bit too much like a policeman/woman?

    • Pen, reading your comment made me immediately think of the Google ‘search by image’ funcion – copy the url of the image on pinterest (image location) and paste it into that and search … you should get other sites that have the same image – I’m thinking, one should be the owner/originator, unless they’re ‘much stolen’ images?

      I guess you can leave a comment to let them know why it wasn’t repinned – why not?

    • Thanks Pen, glad you found the discussion helpful. We all need to figure out what we’re comfortable doing with the site. Finola’s suggestion re image search sounds a good option to explore for those ‘gorgeous but unattributed’ images.

    • I have just left a comment on an unattributed pin made by a widely followed pinner (who is also an art professional). I said the image was so great the artist deserved recognition and put the artists name on the comment. The google image search made the artists name really easy to find, so thanks for that tip. The internet is pretty much created by users, so I guess it is up to use it in the way we want it to evolve.

  20. Greetings kind Mark!
    It is funny but some weeks ago I signed up on Pinterest with the clear intention to promote my works and just today get acquainted of this awesome review of yours! When I read on the web that Pinterest attracted its first 10 million users faster than any other website in history — is the fastest growing social platform today, with 18.7 million users as of March, I said to myself… as an artist I need to be there too!

    I agree in all your thoughts and marketing possibilities that bring Pinterest.
    If you are skilled you can manage the way to post your works on separate boards as you suggest, and even your own embeded videos.

    I guess that Pinterest is a new social platform, and probably it’s environment is not so friendly for some users of Facebook or Myspace for instance, but in fact is like a window shopping where you replicate and experience similar discoverys with your followers!

    Anyway I guess there is no other more effective marketing rule for promoting your own work within Pinterest than keeping always active – pining and repining as much as you are inclined too…

    Keep up the sacred fire as always ☼

  21. Thought I’d drop by to answer Karin Jordans comment (June 1st) but before I do here’s my personal take on matters.

    I followed the Pinterest legal spat previously but this is also a great discussion and comments have been fascinating -

    A couple of stand out points are:

    1. The issue with Pinterest was actually concerned with the fact that they set up a (albeit great portal) that led users to inadvertently risk breeching the copyright and moral rights of owners of the ‘pinned’ material. The big spat was in regard to their terms and conditions of site use where they not only made unsuspecting users responsible for any breech of copyright claims arising & the cost of any legal action brought against them but also held users responsible for the cost of any legal action brought against Pinterest itself as a co-joined party aiding and abetting the breech.

    The responsibility of portals owners regards how their users treat others copyright is changing – portal owners are, on a case by case basis, becoming liable if they took no action to prevent copyright breech or indeed aided and abetted it (for example allowing a priate site to advertise). This will start to change portals attitudes and responsibilities in the coming years

    2. Creators / Copyright owners will also need to take more responsibility for displaying the IP status and ownership of their work. If they don’t take simple steps then claims against those who inadvertently or even deliberatly used a piece of work without permission or payment will be very hard to pursue.

    In answer to how Creative Barcode can assist Creators – it enables (in the case of completed works) the Creator to embed a visible and trackable micro-barcode protected under CB which also stores the Creators contact details to enable users to easily seek permission to use. Works with barcodes emedded which are posted on other sites, such as Pinterest, travel with the image and therefore source credit to the copyright owner & their contact details, is ever present.

    We will be developing the system further over the next year to assist with cost efficient and non-complex Digital Rights Management and equally to assist internet users to know when an item is free to use or requires permission of the owner.

    The other use of Creative Barcode is on pre-commercialised creative works, business plans and innovation concepts disclosed safely to third parties via a file transfer system where barcode protected files can only be downloaded by the recipient on acceptance of the short but legally binding Trust Charter agreement.

    The agreement in short has just two warranties:

    1. The Creator warrants to the recipient that the barcoded works are authentic, owned by them and theirs to disclose

    2. The recipient warrants to the Creator not to utilise any of the work, core ideas or information contained in the files without asking the Creators permission

    Simple, non-complex, quick, ethical, low cost and fair. Who needs anything more complex?

    If a breech occurs – and not a single breech has occured in 18 months since launch despite having users in more than 18 Countries across 5 continents – then the only breech to be answered is ‘did the recipient party have permission of the Creator’ – yes or no.

    So there is no opportunity for person/company in breech to tie the issue up in complex and drawn out legal disputes over copyright.

    Hope that helps

    • Thanks Maxine, sorry I missed your thoughtful comment. Yes, the implications of point 1 are pretty scary, and I agree with your point 2.

      And thanks for the explanation of Creative Barcode – I remember you telling me about it when we met at the Cre8te conference last year, it sounds like an elegant solution to a complex problem.

  22. Thanks Mark –
    I missed you twice in the last couple of weeks, once at New Designers where we both spoke at the Design Trust seminars and again at their Make It Pay event on Saturday. We are ships crossing over – one day we’ll meet again!

    You might be interested to read this article I penned following the latest Intellectual Property Review event on June 29th. http://www.creativebarcode.com/newsitem?item=64

    Look at the two legislative change motions that were proposed which will have a bearing on both Creators (rights holders) and Rights users particularly in regards to works displayed on the internet. Times are changing.

    And whilst I am never one to support big brother tactics, I do in this instance have empathy with the issue regards inadvertent copyright breach resulting from internet users thinking work displayed on the web is free to use. Much of the confusion is being caused by Creators not identifying their work and their rights contained in it.

    CB will be introducing two meta barcodes hopefully by September 2012, one to denote a work is free to use and the other denoting ‘rights reserved’ -

    One barcode will be free to all Creators (the one denoting work is free to use) and the other will be pennies – so that should make it really easy for all Creators to take responsibility for identifying their works and rights held and importantly for internet users to understand what is and isn’t free to use.

    CB is what is known as an ‘identifier’ and it is already illegal to remove an identifier from any item of creative work – the UK IPO will be communicating that little known fact much more strongly in the coming months, post the IP reviews.

    Ironically, it is often other Creators, such as designers with the tools to do so, who remove ‘identifiers’ such as copyright notices and watermarks from other Creators works. They will simply have to stop doing that or risk fines for doing so.

    Interesting times ahead ……..

  23. Concerning how Pinterest affects search results. I have a very popular craft web site that has been on the web for over ten years with thousand of pictures, and it has always been on the top five when searching for images with specific words. Now when I type in certain search words Pinterest boards with the same search words will show up before my web site. This is very disconcerting because these boards don’t even have any orginal content. Although they do often have images from my site. Pinterest affects images searches dramatically. I used to let bloggers use some of my images knowing that links back to my site affect Google ranking, but I have now reconsidered this because those bloggers are putting pin it buttons on my images and they are receiving more traffic from those pictures than I am sometimes.

    I have asked some bloggers to put a “No Pin” script on those images arguing that they are illegally encouraging people to copy my images when I only gave them permission to use the image. One bogger refuses to comply with my request. Do I have a legitmate arguement? Do you think I could get Google to take the pictures down if they don’t comply to my request? Or should I just let it go. This has changed my coyright regulations completely. I am no longer letting bloggers use my images and am just putting them up on Pinterest because, at least, I know they will go back to my web site, and they do affect google’s search ranking, at least how they have it set up now.

    • Hi Carolyn, thanks for sharing your experience.

      Do I have a legitimate argument?

      If by ‘legitimate argument’ you mean ‘reasonable request’, I’d say so. If I were granted permission to use an image on my blog, and the creator then asked me to add a ‘no pin’ script to the image, I’d consider it good manners to comply with the request.

      But if you mean ‘legally enforceable case’ that’s harder to judge. And it might be more trouble than it’s worth.

      Do you think I could get Google to take the pictures down if they don’t comply to my request?

      Again, this might be more trouble than it’s worth. Unless you think you are suffering serious damage as a result… even then it could be a hard case to prove.

  24. Pinterest is the absolute worst thing on the web for artists. Pins are repinned without attribution — I just came across a pin of my work that the pinner was claiming as her own. If you want to make an intellectual property complaint, the burden is on the artist to fill out Pinterest’s cumbersome complaint forms, rather than on the pinner to establish permission. Pinterest ignores its own rules and regulations and blatantly, flagrantly ignores copyright law. I thought it was fun and first and it has lots of pretty eye candy, but from the perspective of the artist, it’s a sewer and it stinks. Don’t pin other people’s work without permission.

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