Artists Leaving Pinterest: Copyright Infringement and Unathorized Print Reproductions

*UPDATE to this article. Pinterest is changing some of their terms.

Some artists are becoming more concerned about copyright issues and legal liability when posting and sharing images on the Pinterest social networking website, particularly because of Pinterests vague legal agreement that says they have rights to reproduce any images you post.

According to Dave Copland on ReadWriteWeb, any user who submits content to Pinterest, gives the worldwide, royalty-free, transferable license to use, copy and distribute their content. And the user agreement indemnifies them against any copyright claims. Pinterest also reserves the right to sell content submitted by users.

This is something to be aware of, since Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. It recently hit 10 million unique monthly views faster than any standalone site in U.S. history. (see http://tinyurl.com/82qo2y3)

To learn more about how artists feel about this issue, check out the conversation currently going on in a Linkedin Group The Art of Licensing with several viewpoints and article references. Here are just a few:

Is Pinterest a Haven for Copyright Violations?http://greekgeek.hubpages.com/hub/Is-Pinterest-a-Haven-for-Copyright-Violations

Why I Tearfully Deleted my Pinterest Inspiration Boards

Pinterest - three reasons for not using it

Artists upset with Pinterest over Copyright Issues

4 Things Pinterest isn't Saying

Pinterest's Predicament: Legal Issues Prevent Social Media Maturity

A Lawyer Who Is Also A Photographer Just Deleted All Her Pinterest Boards Out Of Fear

3 Ways Pinterest Can Damage Your Small Business
Hey Photographers - Pinterest in not for you!
Is the Pinterest Problem Really a Problem?



artistretreat said...

always pros & cons to all this social media STUFF!

Unknown said...

I am adding another link that might be helpful to other people in regards to Pinterest: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/02/29/businessinsiderpinterest-copyright-.DTL

Carolyn said...

Kate, I share your skepticism on what Pinterest will or won't do with images - but how can they own them, when pinners don't really own them...and they know that.

What odds do you place that there are people lawyering up right now and some litigation on this in the near future?

Kate Harper said...

Carolyn, you and I have common sense about this - but the legal terms are very alarming. If this was a small unknown site, I wouldn't worry about it, but because they are so big -- I think it's something to have concern about. It's not just the idea that Pinterest claims to have the rights to your art, but they have also protected themselves against a potential lawsuits.

pj7 said...

Hi Kate,
I just found you this past week while researching for an assignment in school, one part of which is to speak with someone in the field of work I have chosen to research (greeting card design). Would you be willing to answer a couple questions that would assist me in this project? The questions would be
What is your education background, and is it comparable to others who have found success in this field?
In your experienced opinion, what are the odds of achieving success for someone just now beginning?
What do you consider your most important piece of advice for a new-comer? Maybe 1 do and 1 don't
What kind of salary can one realistically hope for as a freelancer?
Thankyou for your time, and best wishes for your continued success!

pj7 said...

Hi Kate,
I just found you this past week while researching info for a school assignment on careers. I am a first time college student at 54 years old and this class is required. I was not excited about it, but in this research my interest is piqued. Would you be willing to answer some questions?
1)What is your educational background?
2)what is the outlook for success in this field for someone just beginning?
3)How much time do you invest daily?
4)Is freelancing profitable?
5)What is your best advice? 1 do and 1 don't
Thank you for your time, and best wishes for your continued success

June said...

Another problem is that the images on their original site might have been protected from Google search engines, but once Pinned, and shared - along with the facebook connection of Pinterest, they become visible to search engines, and can then be shared even further. Each share takes them further from their copyright info on the original site, which probably did not goive permission for the image to be shared in the first place. This act 'orphans' images and makes them vulnerable to use that was not intended or approved by their creator. And yet it is up to the creator to track such abuse down....

Monica Lee said...

Hi Kate, I have been following all this as well. I saw Ben Siblerman speak recently. I don't think the intent was to sell anyone's art by any means but they do make their money off of affiliates, right. I think the two big things here are that the liability for you "miss pinning" something falls squarely in your lap AND something I have noticed as an artist is sometimes findig the original source is tricky especially if someone has but an image on their blog from Pintrest and then it gets repinned from there. Does that makes sense? SO here we go again, always put your name on your work. I do think this site is getting bad press fast (yikes!) and it goes to show that people don't read the user agreements when they join something.

Monica Lee said...

Hi Kate, I found this article where Ben personally called a photographer and asked for advice. Hmmm. I think reading through the comments are what is the most interesting thing about this post-someone handed Pinterest with a cease and desist letter. I like that people are FINALLY realizing that not all imagery on the internet is free to use!

Anonymous said...

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