“But I’m Not A Blogger! I’m Just A Pinner!” (A Pinterest Post Addendum)

My post this morning about my frustration with Pinterest was mostly met with positive comments, for which I am thankful (because hopefully that means we’ll all be trying a bit harder and being a bit more diligent in our pinning, and I personally have a ton of “clean up” work to do on my own boards).

However, I wanted to take a minute and address a specific mindset that seems to be shared by many non-blogging Pinterest users, and that is this idea…

“But I’m not a blogger!  I just use Pinterest for fun.  It’s just a place where I collect ideas and inspiration for myself and my own home.  I’m not really concerned about the original source.  You see, I’m just a pinner!”

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.  Here are three questions I have for you:

  1. Are your Pinterest boards public?
  2. Do you have followers with whom you share the inspiration you’ve found?
  3. Do your boards contain pictures that are someone else’s property, and for which someone else hold the copyright?

(Unless your boards are filled only with photos that you personally took yourself, then the answer to the last question is automatically “yes”.  Any work of art, photograph, literary work or other creation carries an automatic copyright upon completion, whether or not it has a watermark, a © symbol, or anything else expressly stating that a copyright is in existence.)

If you answered yes to those questions, then you’re not just a “pinner”.  You have basically become a curator of a public bulletin board that you share with others, and is filled with photographs that don’t belong to you, but for which other people hold a copyright.

That might sound a bit familiar.  Perhaps a bit like blogging.

Please understand that you’re dealing with copyrighted material that does not belong to you, and you’re passing it along to others on a public forum.  You’re not just a “pinner”.  You’re a person who has chosen to use someone else’s property, and therefore you have an obligation to the owner of that property.

It really is very similar to blogging.  Having a Pinterest account is basically micro-blogging.

It’s the exact same thing as my Inspiration Files blog.  Can you imagine if I gathered great ideas from all over the blogosphere, posted them on my Inspiration Files blog, but didn’t give one thought to giving credit to the creator of those projects?  What if I said, “Oh, well, those are just my inspiration files.  Sure others can see it, but it’s mostly meant for me.  Those are projects that I’ve collected for myself, because I might want to try them later.”  I can assure you, that wouldn’t fly.

In the same way, you may not be a blogger, but having a public pinterest board that you share with followers and is filled with other people’s copyrighted pictures is basically the exact same thing, and it comes with an obligation, just like blogging comes with an obligation.**

So if you truly don’t want to take the time to source** the photos you like, and you’re truly just pinning things for your own inspiration and don’t care about the source, here’s what I suggest:

  1. Set up a folder on your computer called “Inspiration Files”;
  2. Go to your Pinterest account and save all of the pictures (right click on your mouse, and click “save as”) that you’ve pinned to your computer in the newly created “Inspiration Files” folder;
  3. Close your Pinterest account;
  4. Save any future inspiration photos to your computer.  (You can still visit Pinterest and save photos to your computer directly from PInterest at any time.)

For those of us who do want to stay on Pinterest, please understand that we’re not just a “pinner”.  We Pinterest users are using other people’s property and passing it along to others to use in a public forum, and because we’ve chosen to do that, we do have an obligation to handle the owner’s copyrighted property in a responsible way.

**Please note that if you have a Pinterest account, you’ve actually already agreed to do this when you signed up for your account and clicked the little box saying that you agreed to their Terms of Service.  I (and many other bloggers) are really not asking anyone to do anything to which they haven’t already agreed.

Don’t worry.  Tomorrow I’ll be back to “the fun”.  But this issue is very important and needs to be addressed.




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  1. I read the negative comments that you received on your last post – I'm sorry that people were offended for you stating the truth.

    I guess people think that because images etc. are online that they are in the public domain. It's not the case. They are protected by copyright law, just as music and movies are. If one of your readers wouldn't sit in a movie theater making pirated copies of movies, why would they think it acceptable to steal other people's images? I just don't get it. Kudos to you for standing up and pointing out the law…

  2. I've signed up with Pinterest a couple of weeks ago but haven't done anything with it yet…so this is good information to know.  Thank you.

  3. Wow.  Is that really true?  Every picture online is copyrighted?  I think that's excessive, but I don't make the law.  It's truly news to me.  Good to know, I guess.

  4. Yes, that's true.  Every photograph, work of art, etc., carries an automatic copyright at the time of creation.

  5. So here's my other question (connected in my mind, but maybe not so much…) I know a lot of bloggers do make money from their blogs.  When people subscribe with RSS feed or whatever, is that like stealing?  Do the people get paid based on web traffic and not know I'm reading their blog because I don't click on the link every time (unless I comment 🙂 )?

  6. Hi Kristy- just a question- by repinning others pictures, aren't we helping to get their name and website out to others? If they actually need instructions or the source of the picture- they do need to go to the original site and it is there for them to click on, right?
    I always thought this was a good thing for the owner of the original pin, but am I wrong?

  7. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I have never really thought about giving credit to the original source. If it lead somewhere I was good that that. I am now making sure the things I post (other than pictures of cute shirts or shoes from some place in Europe – mostly recipes, crafts, home inspiration…you get the idea) lead back to the original poster. I feel terrible, I wasn't paying attention. But if more people do like I am doing, and correcting the problem. Things will catch on!

  8. Kristi-  I hope you didn't take my comment as negative on your first post about the pictures from pinterest.  I think linking the place they came from IS the right thing to do- definitely- just as I do on the pictures I share on my FB page from other sites and magazines.  I notice some FB pages just post the pictures WITHOUT putting where they were from- and I would rather let everyone know they are photos that I find inspiring- not trying to pass them off as my own.  

    Anyway- I know it is a touchy subject- I just got concerned that you thought I was saying I was "just a pinner"- when I do understand what you are saying.

    Just to clear the air- on my behalf anyway!  

  9. The problem with that logic is making the assumption that there is a credit to everything you're pinning.  If you follow the "link trail" you may or may not end up with the creator of the image.  Even if it's on a blog, it doesn't mean that the blogger is the creator.  Gotta do the homework!

  10. I understand you feel strongly about this issue, but do you really have to be so condescending?  I've seen you get all worked up and preachy over copyrighting before and this time, you really sound like a jerk.  There's a fine line between trying to inform and talking down to people.  Who are you to tell us how to use someone else's website?  Stick to your own.  It could use some work.  

  11. Cat, that's not stealing.  Bloggers have the control over their own RSS feed.  For example, I could only allow the title of my post to go out on the RSS feed so that people would be forced to come to my blog to read the post.  I've chosen to allow the whole post to show up in the RSS feed.  But the bloggers have control over that.

  12. What Sally said.  🙂  It's incredibly helpful to the original creator/poster/blogger as long as the original source is either linked to the photo, or is linked from the post that is linked to the photo.

    Okay, that sounded confusing.  For example, I have many people pin photos from my Inspiration Files blog.  While it's not ideal (the best option would be for someone to click through to the original blogger and pin from there), at least if someone winds up on my Inspiration Files blog, the original source is just one click away.  I always give the source in the name of the post, I give at least two text links to the original source in the blog post, and I link the photo directly to the original source.

    Hope that makes sense!

  13. I couldn't believe how rude you were to one of your readers who commented about your original Pinterest post.  She was being honest, giving her opposing viewpoint, and you mocked her with the whole "bad taste in your mouth" bit and were very condescending.   

  14. Carly, don't feel terrible.  I know that for a long time, I was just repinning away.  I had no clue that the links weren't correct (or weren't included at all…I'm still not sure how that happens).  It's just something we all need to be aware of.  I have a lot of cleaning up to do on my own boards, but I hope to do that soon.  It's just a matter of us getting the word out, encouraging proper use of other people's photos, etc.  Hopefully if enough of us do it the right way, then the correctly-credited pins will flood the boards on Pinterest.  🙂

  15. Cheri, that wasn't addressed to anyone in particular.  It was just the feeling I got from reading some of the comments.  For people who aren't bloggers, I can understand how it would be easy to have the mindset that "I'm just a pinner" without realizing that even if you're using it for fun, you're still dealing with copyrighted photos.  I just felt like I needed to address that, but it certainly wasn't addressed to any one person in particular.  🙂

  16. I get the frustration, but if I see something inspiring that someone posted with no link to the original, I'm still going to pin it. It is still inspiration for me and others. Unfortunate for the owner, but if that is a real concern you can stop Pinterest from using your photos–granted it won't fix everything, but it would help. As lovely as it seems to write an in-depth explanation of every pin in the pin description, I'm lazy and like pinning because its fast. My own pins always link back to the original, so that's good enough for me. Honestly if you're so concerned about gettin credit, watermark your photos! Problem solved. I just find the whole thing silly. Fix it on your end and then you won't have to passively whine about it.

  17. I am first and foremost grateful for the free entertainment that reading blogs give me. I am simply a reader with the luxury of a two train hour commute that I can devote to reading blogs (without being bothered with "Where is this/where is that/where'd you put my…..).
    I agree that lazy blogging and pinning is an annoyance at the very least but I chose to handle this annoyance in the only way I can. Time and money are the only influence I have over these annoyances. Essentially, when I can, I go out of my way to patron the bloggers that align with my tastes. Also, I only pin sourced material on Pinterest (I think, I hope that's true, I have to check and change that if necessary). I don't pin for any other reason than with the intent to recreate something so an unsourced picture is a waste of time.
    At the end of it all, I console myself by thinking that bloggers and Pinterest are making history and I'm so proud that I'm around to see it. Irrespective of the annoyances I think it is really courageous to make public what once was reserved for magazine print only.

  18. I do watermark all of my photos.  And I'm not passively whining.  I'm openly and vocally complaining. 

  19. This blog may have pictures watermarked, but there are millions of websites out there where images aren't watermarked. Just because someone didn't go to the effort of watermarking their images doesn't give someone else the right to steal them.

  20. I have assumed that by making sure the photo is linked to the actual permalink was all that needed to be done. Are you saying that isn't correct? If it is more than that, I think the burden is on Pinterest to structure in such a way that people have both an opportunity to acknowledge the source and know that they should. It's an issue that can't be addressed individual by individual. 

  21. That's all that needs to be done–make sure it's linked to the source.  But you're right…the burden for some of this is on Pinterest.  Their Pinterest for iPhone app is awful and doesn't link to the source.  I'd be very surprised if they don't face legal trouble over that eventually.

  22. Kristi, while I understand your comments regarding your work, those of you in the blogging world sling around words that mean nothing to me…..I don't know how to 'link up' to the original owner of the photo, recipe etc.  I'm really not sure what an RSS feed is or a number of words all of you are randomly throwing around.  I am not nearly as computer literate as you all obviously are….I'm doing well just to get to Pinterest and look and hit the 'pin' button….'link up'….I haven't a clue.  I do try to pin from the original photo if I can get that far back….I think all of you are much more advanced that a lot of us.

  23. This is what I came to say in the comment section.  The very reason that Pinterest is so nice to use is that you can just simply repin something, and you don't have to go each and every website.  House of Hepworths addressed this issue in a much more graceful way.  She just explained why she put her logo on it, and I found that post to be much less confrontational than this series.

    Additionally, to use your words from above, it really leaves a bad taste in my mouth to be given rules of how I can and cannot use Pinterest and how I have an obligation to you because I read your blog.  Complain to Pinterest if you think they promote copyright infringement. Meanwhile I will use it for the great inspiration tool it is.

    Finally, it's fairly conceited to expect everyone to be so grateful and to be obligated to you.  A blog is something you do for yourself and are some people are lucky enough/do it well enough to have lots of readers, and then make some money off of the whole thing.  The bloggers who are most upset about this seem to be the ones who make money off of their blogs.  Totally understand why they're upset because they're losing money.  However I'm not sure how yelling/arguing/being condescending (your font emphasis captures this sentiment by itself – I don't need things to be bold, underlined, italic, or other colors in order to comprehend your point) to your readers (aka your customer base) is really helping anything.  You probably just lost this one for a while just based on this alone.

  24. It's frustrating for sure when people pin from Google images or something else impossible to follow.  I always pin from the original source, but I still pin things I find on Pinterest that have no source, because I love the image and want to keep it as inspiration–I've noticed you do the same.  I guess it's inevitable. More people need to put their blog on their photos then you know that it will always be credited to you!

    P.S. Have you tried tineye.com? It's hit or miss, but sometimes it can locate the photo elsewhere on the web.

  25. Exactly! You have put a couple of my projects in your inspiration files (thank you very much!) and I am sure that some of the photos were pinned from your website.  However, you provide clear links to the projects you feature.  The personal benefit to me (of being featured here) outweighs the "con" (so to speak) of having pinned images leading back to A2D instead of my blog.  

    We can't help what people are going to pin.  The best we can do is be courteous bloggers and give proper credit and to be curious pinners and trace the original source…

  26. Completely true! I'm sure a lot of the problems stem from that.  And honestly most people aren't doing it with malice and they aren't profiting from it.  It could even be covered under "fair use" (which I can never figure out completely).  I'd be frustrated to see my things without credit, but if I did find it I could always tell the person it was mine.  If they refused to credit me, then that would be the issue. And if I never know, I honestly don't think it can hurt me if it's not being used in a bad way.

  27. Excellent post!! I love Pinterest, and I love the traffic my blog receives from the site, but they are the reason I started watermarking all of my photos. I was seeing Pins of my projects that had been featured on other blogs. So the "Pin" didn't trace back to me…it traced back to the blogger who featured me. Today, someone copied an entire recipe from my post into the wording of the Pin. Granted, most people will probably click over to see my recipe, but to me it seemed an awful lot like if someone were to copy and paste one of my posts and share it on their own blog…plagiarism. 

    Good etiquette is good etiquette. The polite thing to do, regardless of why you use Pinterest, is to offer credit where credit is due. Do unto others, good karma, and all that jazz. 😉 😉

  28. Katie, I don't "expect" everyone to be grateful or to feel obligated to me.  People can do what they want.  But understand, this is MY blog, and I'm expressing a frustration that most bloggers I know are experiencing.  And seeing that it's my blog, and this is the one area where I have a voice, I'll post what I see fit.  If it offends you, there are about a million other blogs in this genre that you can visit.

    And the reason I use bold, underline, and large font is because this is an interior decorating blog.  My visitors aren't used to coming here and finding a text-only post, so I have to assume that many would skim through the post (as I do on interior decorating blogs where the writer gets long-winded).  So I had hoped that the important parts would stick out.


  29. Okay, I've been thinking about it.  I think to remidy this problem pinterest should be required to lock down all images, so that you can't right click on them.  They need to also remove that pesky link on the side that allows you to imbed it into your blog.  This way it forces people that want to use the picture in their post to actually click on the direct link, go to the real blog, get the picture from there, and link directly.  If pinterest would be accountable for their site and make it impossible for people to link back to images there, it would help a lot.  But who's going to make pinterest act accountable?

  30. OK, now I'm starting to second-guess myself. Kristi – I hope you can help me…

    I know that using someone else's image without crediting them is copyright infringement. When I post other's images, I give them credit within my blog post. Should I be giving credit under every image?

    Now, I also know that I shouldn't directly copy someone else's image URL into my own blog post (that's stealing bandwidth). So, when I see an image I'd like to blog about, I save the image to my own computer, giving it a name that will be memorable to me, and relates to the blog post.

    This raises the issue – when someone does a google image search under my blog name ("Afford Your Passions"), a lot of images show up that have been featured in my blog, but do not belong to me. Is this allowed? If someone clicks on one of the images, it will take them to my blog (which then gives credit where credit is due), but I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong by including my blog name in the title when I save the image on my computer? Your direction would be appreciated!

  31. Oh…and the "other colors"?  Those are LINKS.  Every single post on this entire blog…the entire WEBSITE…has orange words because my website CSS is set up to make all links orange.  It's been like that for over a year now. 

  32. Hey Kristi, can you cite a source for your claim that anything a person makes is automatically copyrighted? I'm not that familiar with copyright law. I really hope that's not true, because a copyright is basically a government-granted monopoly on a particular image, idea, etc., and I would hate to think that the government can automatically add a circle-c to everything I do and think, without my knowledge or consent. But again, I'm not familiar with copyright law. I was under the impression that the copyright violation happens when one person tries to pass off another's legally copyrighted image as his or her own, not when a person fails to cite a source.

    I also wonder… if all of these alleged copyright violations are happening so often with Pinterest, why is Pinterest sill legally able to operate?

    Maybe there needs to be a separation between copyright infringement in the legal sense of the term, and basic courtesy and good blogging/pinning. Sometimes things that are not very nice are still legal, and vice-versa.

    I've never been to Pinterest, but I guess I do my own version by saving all the images I love and that inspire me into a folder on my desktop. I don't amend their file names with their sources, so I have years of beautiful images collected over the years that I can't (and won't) credit. I've never tried to pass them off as mine, but I have emailed them around to friends. I call that "sharing ideas." Ideas are thoughts — thoughts can't be copyrighted. Ideas get their power from their ability to be shared. This is a good thing! It's how society changes over time.

    I understand your frustration with lazy folks who don't credit properly when they publish. IMO, I would never want laziness (or any other personal habit) to be a matter for legal authorities, though. The good guys will rise to the top naturally, without Uncle Sam throwing his weight around. 🙂

  33. This is why the burden is on Pinterest. There are no rules that say you must have some level of expertise to use a website. Most people don't understand how copyright laws work, and they treat photos on Pinterest just like they would treat pictures they tear out of a magazine. For most people, it's just an "isn't this cool?" or "that's a great color for my bathroom." Like Freestyle Mom, I suspect that "fair use" has some bearing here as well, but I'm not completely clear either.
    There is another reason, however, why it's good to get to the permalink – if you go back looking for instructions or more information on something you pinned, you will be very frustrated if the pin doesn't take you to the exact spot where that info is. You can see if it goes to the permalink just by clicking the image itself which should take you to the website. If the post with the photo in it comes up AND the title of that post shows in the address bar at the top of the page, you are on the permalink – i.e. permanent link – which takes you to an exact spot on a web site.

  34. Susan, it doesn't sound like you have any reason to second guess yourself.  Sounds like you're doing everything right.

    My suggestion would be that if the link to the source of the picture that you're using isn't immediately before or immediately after the photo (for example, if you've mentioned the link a couple of paragraphs above where photo is located) then just put a short blurb immediately under the photos that says "via _______" and link the source.  However, if the link that you have in the post is immediately before or immediately after where you've placed the photo, then that's fine.  It just needs to be convenient.

    Regarding the Google search, unfortunately there's no way around that.  The only other option would be to steal someone else's bandwidth, and that's a no no (as you've already stated).  The good thing is that if your photo shows up ahead of the photo from the original source, the person searching can find it because you've properly linked and credited to the original source.

    The linking and crediting is the main issue.  If you've done that, you're good.  🙂

  35. I guess I should add that doesn't cover everything – like bloggers who feature another blogger and pins that don't go anywhere. But it isn't fair to expect a level of sophistication that lots of users just don't have – anymore than it is fair for creators to lose control of their work.

  36. Oh my gosh…I'm still such a Pinterest newbie that I didn't even KNOW it was possible to embed photos directly from Pinterest!  And of course, the link goes to Pinterest, and not the source.  Arrrgghhhh!!!!

  37. Copyright doesn't apply to general ideas.  It applies to "original works of authorship".

    From the U.S. Copyright office:

    "Your work is under copyright protection the moment
    it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible
    either directly or with the aid of a machine or device."

    "Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems,
    or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these
    things are expressed."More details here:  http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#what

  38. Another important thing to point out is that Pinterest TELLS users to link to the original source on it's Pin Etiquette page.  So it's not like you're just springing an extra requirement on people…it's been right there on the pinterest website ever since we all signed up.  We've already all agreed to do this by using pinterest in the first place!


  39. Kristi, I just want to say that I see where you are coming from, and I think you have every right to share your frustrations/opinions on YOUR blog.  I think you were respectful and informative in explaining your frustrations. I never got started on Pinterest. Instead I just save pictures and recipes in my Word documents. Thanks for standing up for fairness and for maintaining such an inspiring blog!

  40. "I'm not a blogger, I just pin a lot."
    Love this post! All photos are copyrighted as soon as they are created. I'm doubtful too many people read Pinterest's TOS… but they do want you to link to the original source.  Your collection of photos is public and you do hold some responsibility for it.

    In the grand scheme of things… this topic is going to be very tricky and hard to police.  Basically, if you don't want your photos taken… don't share them online. Once a photo hits the web… be prepared for it to change hands, be featured, etc. It is hard for bloggers. We want to share! So, our only recourse is to protect our photos. Watermarks are not a perfect solution (they can be erased) but they help a little in the wide world of Pinterest.
    Thanks for getting on your soap box today!

  41. Thank you form the bottom of my heart!  I work very, very hard to create things and I spend hours and hours and hours taking pictures, writing extremely detailed tutorials and then I share them with the world.  I do not receive ANY compensation.  I do this because I want everyone to simply enjoy and be creative as well.  In the very least, all I ask is that I simply receive the credit for my design, my creation, my heart and my time… It's not a lot to ask.  Without us, you would have nothing to pin… Thank you so much!

  42. Attribution or linking to the original source is irrelevant in copyright terms if you do not have a license or permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the image or content. Often the need for license or permission has already been waived via one of the Creative Commons licenses, or by the fair use or fair dealings exemptions of copyright law (this differs between countries), though in many it has not and attribution or linking to the original source does not constitute license or permission.

    In terms of Pinterest holding the burden for copyrighted material, the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title II creates a safe harbor to online service providers like Pinterest provided they meet certain criteria, which Pinterest address in their copyright section. If Kristi is claiming copyright infringement, she should lodge a notice with the site.

    If permission to reproduce or distribute content has not been given, saving a copyrighted image to your computer also breaches copyright, so following the advice above still constitutes breach of copyright.

    Lack of attribution is usually more bad manners than an automatic copyright infringement, and I urge everyone to do their own research or seek qualified legal advice if in doubt rather than following the pseudo-legal advice being given in this blog post and in the comments (not excluding mine).

  43. Except maybe the first point, "to reproduce the work in copies".

    And that's according to the US Copyright Office. But not everyone lives in the US (surprise). In Australia it is a breach of copyright to copy, reproduce or adapt copyright material for personal or private

    use without license or permission from the copyright owner.

  44. I'm not a pinner, but I'm a blogger.  Tracking down original sources for pics can be hard, but I try my best and never leave a photo uncredited.  I'm especially diligent now because a photo I took, and am proud of, that was featured on Design*Sponge is all over pinterest now (search "felted wool billy button") but D*S is credited almost 100%, not me.  Which stings, because I put SO much effort into creating, designing and photographing the project and the D*S post clearly had a link to my blog.  I don't make any money blogging, but it feels weird having my photos float around, credited to someone else (if anyone at all). 

    I'm glad people are chatting about this.

  45. I use image URLs a lot for inserting images into my posts that aren't mine. I of course give credit but I had no idea that was stealing bandwidth. And I dont even understand stealing bandwidth and I consider myself pretty educated in social media and internet use. I guess I'm not.

  46. Tanya, I loved those felted wool billy buttons!!  It stinks that they're getting all your credit.  🙁  I was featured on D*S one time (way before Pinterest) and they had a typo on the URL in the link to my site.  Obviously, I didn't get a bit of traffic from it.  It was really disappointing.

  47. Kristi, thank you so much for making all of us aware. I am new to blogging and I could have made this mistake if you had not informed me….Thanks again!

  48. So true, Kristi– thanks for digging into this with conviction and clarity. 🙂  Happy Responsible Pinning to all!

  49. I'm not a blogger and I am a semi-regular user of Pinterest. It is frustrating (even for us non-bloggers) to not be able to find the appropriate source for photos/projects/ideas, but I just chalked it up to having masses of people use a public forum. I do get your your point. 

    I am writing because this entire post seems like a lecture to everyone you feel is below you in the blogging and Pinterest world. That is just how it comes across to me. Few people want to be lectured (with two posts, no less) when coming to read your design blog. I understand the first post as bringing an issue you think is important to your readership. However, it seems condescending to come back and do it again for a 2nd post – we understand your concern. 

    Equally concerning is your righteousness not only in the posts, but in the comments sections. This is your blog and you should write about what you want to. However, by alienating your readers (and I am sure you have many, many non-blogger readers) you are doing a disservice to they very people that make your blog a success.  "If it offends you, there are about a million other blogs in this genre that you can visit." – Consider it done. 

  50. Meghan, I'm sorry you got your feelings hurt, but I absolutely do not apologize for encouraging people to treat others' copyrighted material with care, and frankly, for encouraging people to abide by the TERMS OF SERVICE that they agreed to when they signed up for a Pinterest account.  If I lose a few readers who have some out-of-whack sense of entitlement to other people's property, and think that rules apply to everyone but themselves, so be it!

  51. That would make forwarding someone else's email a copyright violation, as your email program makes a digital copy of that message. It would make lending a paperback to a friend a copyright infringement. It would make ripping songs from a CD you bought into MP3s for your computer a copyright infringement. And it would make putting anyone else's image on your blog at all (note exclusive right to display the copyrighted work publicly) a copyright infringement, whether or not you credited it.

    *Sigh* Oh brother. Copyright laws are irritating.

    I still love your blog though, Kristi!

  52. I couldn't decide if I would comment or not then decided to just speak my mind, as you have spoken yours. For most of us, we try to be responsible bloggers and pinners. For most of us, it's a hobby, just a fun hobby. Never, ever, ever would most of us not give credit where credit is due on purpose.

    I feel as if I have just been scolded, not with just one post, but two.  Both posts are too drama filled for my taste. Ranting and scolding are, in my opinion, not the best tools for communicating an important issue.

    Kindness matters and sadly, you have not come across as kind. Your point, and lesson, could have been made with a much gentler approach.

  53. Thanks, Stephanie.  🙂

    Technically, Michelle is absolutely right.  Using another person's photo without express consent from that person is a violation of copyright law, and constitutes copyright infringement.  And if every blogger followed this law to a "T", we'd all be spending our days signing copyright waivers instead of blogging.  I don't think that's what ANYONE wants.

    People just want credit for their work.  That's not too much to ask.  It's common sense.  It's proper etiquette.  It's the right thing to do.

    I feature other people's photos all the time, and since the beginning of this blog, I have only once written beforehand and asked another blogger's permission to use a photo on the blog.  I always credit and link to the source.  And do you know how many times I've had someone get upset and ask me to remove their properly credited and linked photo from my site because it was a copyright violation?

    ZERO.  Not even one time.

    In fact, most of the time I get a comment or e-mail that says something like, "Oh wow!  Thank you so much for featuring me!  What a great surprise!"

    Bloggers enjoy the additional traffic they get from features, and they enjoy having others appreciate their projects and their talents.  They just want credit!  That's it.  Credit. 

    I think you'd be hard pressed to find a blogger who has gotten into legal trouble from featuring another blogger's properly credited and linked photo.  This issue is more about common sense than anything else.

  54. I agree with Marla and many others who have commented. I decided not to comment until now because I was so put off by these 2 posts. 

    I blog.  I Pin. 

    Does anyone read my blog?  Probably a few people, mostly who are my friends and family.  I give credit to links and photos when I use them, the best way I know how.  That is what I learned from blogs like yours when I decided to start blogging. 

    I Pin, but have never shared my pins on my blog.  I pin because as a creative person I adore getting ideas from others.  I couldn't and wouldn't ever copy something to the exact point because that is not creative.  So if I use / or make a lamp that I found from your Pinterest account or your blog, do I need to give you credit in my living room? 

    I think like Marla said, we all try to be responsible but your tone in these two posts make it feel like a mama bear lecturing me.  And that is not why I blog, why I read blogs or why I pin.  You have sucked the fun out it.  There is a way that you can get a point across without sounding rude or irate, you did not succeed in these posts, and that's a shame. 

    You wanted to teach people about your profession and your passion and yet a lecture series on copyrights is what this has turned into. 

  55. For every one of the handful of you who had a problem with my posts, there are many more who thanked me for them (not only in the comments here and on the other post, but also in private e-mails I've received from fellow bloggers thanking me for addressing these issues and sharing their own personal frustrations with me).

    I can't please all the people all the time.  I've never tried, and I don't plan to start now.

  56. I find it absolutely incredible the way you're treating your readers, not just in the tone of these Pinterest posts, but by arguing with them in the comments section.  You remind me of those Ebay sellers who persist to argue with every buyer who left them negative feedback in the "reply" section of their feedback forum.  It makes them look foolish and immature and you're no different.  I agree with your serious concern for copyright infringement, and your desire to open our eyes to something we may not have seen, but do you really have to treat your readers, who make it possible for you to earn money from your love of blogging, the way you are?  Check out some of the more popular, household name bloggers…they don't argue and talk down to their readers.  E-V-E-R.

  57. Hi Kristi, I wanted you to know that I'm new to blogging and Pinterest and understand your concerns.  I've noticed images on Pinterest with the source listed as "none"…and how can that be?  It came from somewhere, right? Most of the time, I click on the source to make sure it's correct.  A lot of times it has been posted from somewhere else and not the original source.  I have a lot of pins so I can't say for sure if they are all accurate. But I do take the time to list the designer, artist, or blogger when I can.  Some people may take your posts the wrong way, but they shouldn't take it personally. The tone in your message may seem harsh to some but to me it seems that you're speaking out of passion, out of a deep love for what you do.  If they are not creative people, they may not understand but this is definitely is a valid concern.  Maybe a solution for some would be to add watermarks to their images.  I've notice some designers have them which helps identify the source.  I'm not blaming the victim but merely offering a solution to the issue of copyright material. Don't let anyone steal your Joy, Keep doing what you love. Sincerely, Greta  

  58. Thank you for your passion on this subject.  I'll remember NOT to pin anything from your blog.  I don't want to get thrown in jail.  I, however, would love to pin a photo of what that spray painted drain and faucet you did looks like now.   

  59. I couldn't agree with this more.  I was appauled.  Aren't your readers your bread and butter?  Please don't change your views, but why lecture us like we're beneath you, which is what you have done?  I, for one, am not.

  60. You could get tossed in jail without proper permission…Contact your attorney's first…Clearly, this blog is not for others to share.  She has made that crystal clear.  

  61. Australian copyright law has exemptions that allow for things like paperbacks to be loaned within a family, and music and film to be copied if the format is changed (say to MP3), but the copied work is also subject to copyright laws and cannot be sold, given away, etc. It was a breach of copyright to record a show off tv to watch later, or time-shift, until 2007!

    And yes, it is a copyright infringement to use someone else's image on your blog without permission, even if you credit it.

  62. Kristi, I think you're missing your own point! If you are on a crusade against copyright infringement, the simply using the work and crediting it is insufficient. Just because you've been thanked in the past does not mean you won't be sued in the future, nor is it ethically – or legally – okay.

    Similarly, just because you are happy with additional exposure and traffic to your site does not mean everyone is, and others retain their copyright even if you choose to waive yours with the provision that you are credited. I think it is a slippery slope when you assume that you speak for all bloggers.

    Anyone in your position should hold a Creative Commons license, which does away with the need to be spending your days signing copyright waivers, and anyone without such a license or express permission on their site should have their copyright upheld and necessary permission sought before use, whether or not attribution is part of the clause.

  63. Thank you, Greta.  I agree that watermarking photos is incredibly important.  You're absolutely right in saying that.  Interestingly, I've been watermarking my blog photos for quite some time now, but it never dawned on me to watermark my photos for my interior design business (which is probably why it was so easy for another Texas designer to steal my photos last year and use them in her own brochure advertising her interior design services).  There are definitely things that all of us can do to be more proactive in being sure that photos are credited correctly.  Thanks for your comment, and best wishes on your new blog.

  64. I didn't want to say anything, but I can't help myself.  You're the most rude blogger I've ever come across.  Aren't people allowed to disagree with you?  Your blog would probably benefit if you learned the value of taking criticism with grace. 

  65. If I pin something from another pinner's board, I rarely look to see where it originally came from.  I will do so from now on.  I appreciate the infofmation but could do without feeling like I'm some kind of lazy person or something.  Pinterest is a site that strongly advocates linking back to a photo's originator, it's those who post pins onto it in the first place that are truly to blame.  If I pin an idea from another board, I'm taking it from them, not the originator.  That's probably not the law, but it's how I've been looking at it. 

  66. FYI, I just checked my Disqus comments, and found that the following commenters all have the same IP address in North Carolina:

    D Magee,
    Mirena, and *drum roll please*
    Young House Love.

    I'm guessing I have a troll on my hands.

  67. I somehow doubt the validity of this statement.  While I feel the same way you do and believe information regarding this issue needs to be spread among unknowing Pinterest users, please allow me to say you're hardly the voice of bloggers other than yourself.  As a blogger who agrees with you, if we saw this train wreck coming, we probably would have chosen a more tactful person to voice concerns on our behalf.  You come off as though you look down on your readers and that's a bit unsettling.  The ones who agree with you and sing your praises aren't the only ones who deserve respect.

  68. According to your North Carolina IP address, so far you have posted comments under the user names:

    D Magee,
    Mirena, and *drum roll please*
    Young House Love.

    Future comments from you will be deleted. 

  69. I've wondered about this kind of stuff since I signed up with Pinterest, but assumed the responsibility lied with the original person bringing the item into Pinterest.  I guess not….but why the riot act?  I think you know 99% of Pinterest users don't do it maliciously. 

  70. Sherry here from YHL (Young House Love). Just wanted to make it clear that I didn't leave the above comment that indicates that it was from "Young House Love." Not sure why someone would use our name when commenting, but that wasn't me or John. Hope it helps!

    s (& j)

  71. Just to clarify, this is Sherry from YHL (Young House Love) and the comment that was originally left by someone calling themselves Young House Love wasn't us. Not sure why they'd use our name, but we're at home in Richmond watching a movie about aliens and army guys. Haha. Hope it helps!

    s (& j)

  72. You've made some great points over the last two posts. I always source things in my blog, and I'm going to clean up my Pinterest boards as soon as I get a chance.

  73. See EFF notes on fair use
    and links from it for a
    detailed answer, but bear the following in mind:The "fair use" exemption to (U.S.) copyright law was created to allow
    things such as commentary, parody, news reporting, research and
    education about copyrighted works without the permission of the

  74. The "fair use" exemption to (U.S.) copyright law….you should know this before you step up again on your soap box and blow hot air. 

  75. Today is my first day on your site. Yikes! I so love all the Pinterest banter. Initially, I was put off as a new pinner not knowing the crime I was committing. Then I thought, a) bravo for bringing attention to this, b) this gal is not only talented, but is totally standing up for what she believes in, which could cost her followers! c) now I REALLY wanna follow her (and she happens to be a fellow Texan, shocker:)). In all seriousness, I appreciate your passion and communication around the subject. I barely know what a pin is, I just like pretty pictures and rainbows and need help with my short-term memory. Pinterest is my answer. Can they not help us all by making crediting automatic? It's such a great way for the novice to organize. I would never want to hurt an artist or blogger, so I'll be enlisting the help of my 15 year old cousin to ensure I give proper credit and to make my boards private. Thanks for the knowledge. Keep it real, Kristi!

  76. Yikes! As a newbie blogger I had no idea about stealing bandwidth! Definitely need to go and edit a few posts…

    This series of posts has been a great learning opportunity.

  77. Thanks, Sonia!  I'm glad you decided to stick around!  🙂  I'm sure I won you over with my charm and graciousness.  😀  Haha!  Fortunately I only create drama about once every 10 or 12 months…lol.

  78. a. men.  seriously, I might need to do a post just so i can link to both of these posts (you explained it all SO WELL! i'm totally with you!)

  79. I think this is taking it way too far.  Besides, on Pinterest you click on the image and it takes you to the blog/website that it came from.  So the source is known.  It also has written below what site it came from.
    If the blog you got your picture from isn't theirs, and they haven't linked the original, it's not really your issue.
    And like someone else said, this is giving bloggers more traffic to their sites!

  80. I think you must be inspired from the negative comments that you have got and keep your good work go on although you aren't a blogger but being a pinner you are doing great.The experience you have shared with us is so interesting.

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  82. Kristi, I have been reading your blog for quite some time and have enjoyed your post about decorating. I mainly only read blogs that are fun and uplifting. This is no longer fun. You are argumentitive and just truly sound angry. I know every one is not happy every day but it seems you are unhappy and complaining more than not. I will be unsubscribing…I know there are millions of others and this doesn’t matter but if you continue your rants you may decide it does. This is YOUR blog but I am no longer a READER.

    1. This post is over seven months old, so if you’ve been reading my blog for “quite some time”, it’s strange that you are just now leaving a comment on this post.

      Regardless, it seems that I struck a nerve with you. As you are “just a pinner”, I encourage you to READ the Pinterest terms of service to which you agreed when you set up your account. Responsible pinners wouldn’t get upset over this post. Irresponsible pinners who have absolutely no desire to change their behavior and resent anyone pointing out what they’re doing wrong WOULD get upset at this post. That’s not argumentative. That’s truth.

  83. I love this post and the previous, someone needed to say it. I am a huge advocate for give credit where credit is due. On pinterest if I want to repin anything I first follow the link to make sure it goes somewhere not just to google or to some irrelevant website and second to make sure its the original author. If both are not a yes, I report the pin, yes I am THAT person, but i’m a blogger so i’m protecting my fellow bloggers backs.