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:
Are your Pinterest boards public?
Do you have followers with whom you share the inspiration you’ve found?
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:
- Set up a folder on your computer called “Inspiration Files”;
- 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;
- Close your Pinterest account;
- 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.