Why I don’t want my images on Pinterest
Apologies for posting out of my ‘advertised’ schedule! After my last post I said I’d be doing a follow-up about the impact of copyright infringement on the value of our work. That will be coming … it’s just that events have moved on apace.
As intimated in my last post, I was worried about the impact of my images appearing on Pinterest – far from sight of the Copyright Notice that you can see over there in my sidebar. When I first realised my images were appearing on Pinterest I was flattered that people liked my stuff enough to put it there, and I thought it might lead a few more interested readers to my blog. Even so, I decided to join Pinterest myself, just so I could keep an eye on things and if necessary comment on what was being said about my work. I even did a little ‘pinning’ myself. I was cautious about copyright, though. The first thing I did was prevent my pages from showing up in Google searches: who am I to tout other people’s images around the world?! The next thing was that I had a rule of treating images I pinned as a means of directing viewers to the rightful owner. Pinterest actually does this anyway – every image is linked to the website from where it was taken – but the images I pinned were not just pictures I liked; they were usually linked to tutorials and ‘how to’s’. What I was saying was ‘Go here, there’s a really good tutorial on xxx.’ Whilst I was undoubtedly ‘pinning’ other people’s images, what I was doing really was recommending others to visit their blogs. Or so I thought.
It wasn’t until yesterday that I actually read the Pinterest Terms of Service. This is what I found:
‘If you post your content on Pinterest, it still belongs to you but […] You grant Pinterest and its users a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, store, display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute your User Content on Pinterest’
The problem is that most people don’t ‘pin’ their own stuff; they post someone else’s. Pinterest go on to say:
‘Pinterest respects the rights of third party creators and content owners, and expects you to do the same. You therefore agree not to post any User Content that violates any law or infringes the rights of any third party.’
In other words, Pinterest absolve themselves of any blame if any user posts images on the site without the permission of the rightful owner. What’s more, even if any images are removed at the request of the rightful owner, Pinterest may retain them ‘for a commercially reasonable period of time for backup, archival, or audit purposes. Furthermore, Pinterest and its users may retain and continue to use, store, display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute any of your User Content that other users have stored or shared through Pinterest.’
Effectively, then, if I ‘pin’ your images, I am giving away rights that are simply not mine to give, and that you will not be able to get back, and I am very worried about having done this. Equally, if you ‘pin’ mine, you’re effectively converting my ‘All Rights Reserved’ Copyright Notice into a Creative Commons Licence. To make it absolutely clear: it’s not the sharing of my work that bothers me, provided this is done with my permission and with appropriate copyright statements attached; it is the nature of the contract that anyone who posts images on Pinterest are making with that company in respect of my work that is my cause for concern. And this same concern is why I’ve now deleted the pinboards I had created.
Pinterest say you can prevent people from ‘pinning’ from your website, but the burden of doing this rests with the website owner. They publish a code that you can paste into any page. Should anyone try to ‘pin’, a notice pops up to the effect that this website doesn’t allow it. Unfortunately this code doesn’t work on WordPress.com blogs, and at the present time WordPress haven’t come up with a widget of their own that can be used instead. I have now asked them to do this.
In the meantime, please don’t ‘pin’ any images from my blog.
If you have already ‘pinned’ I understand absolutely that you did so for entirely honourable reasons, but please remove my images from Pinterest. I’ve already started writing to each person who has pinned, and at least one person has already removed my image – Thank You! Unfortunately, since I was pasting the same words for each request, the Pinterest robots stepped in and prevented further actions on the basis that I was a suspected spammer! Ye gods!!!
Finally, if you have a WordPress.com blog, and if you’re concerned about this issue, please join me in asking WordPress to develop a widget that those of us who don’t want to be ‘pinned’ can use to prevent it. I’ve already written to the excellent WordPress Support team about this, and I’ve also started a thread on the WordPress Forum. I won’t post a link, since this is only available to WordPress members, but here’s how to find it:
- Go to your WordPress.com dashboard
- Scroll down to the bottom
- Click on Forums
- Enter the word ‘Pinterest’ in the search box and hopefully you’ll find my post.
Yours, really, genuinely at the end of my tether…
(I promise … next time I post it will be nice pictures of bunny rabbits or some such!)