Feb 29, 2012

If you had spinach in your teeth . . .

. . . would you want someone to tell you? What I'm about to write is as pleasant as telling someone they have bad breath. I really don't know if I want to, but what if you'd really like to know? I feel some kind of obligation to whisper some possibly uncomfortable information in you ear. But first, some disclaimers:

1) I am NOT a copyright expert nor legal adviser of any kind and may very well not know anything about what I'm about to write here. If you have questions or concerns you should seek out your own legal information from an expert.

2) I am NOT passing judgement nor trying to tell anyone what to do or not do. I promise, cross my heart, stick a needle in my eye. I am not the Pinterest police and have no intentions of checking on anyone's pins except for my own viewing enjoyment (yes, I'm still sneaking peeks to feed my inspiration addiction). I truly have many questions about it all myself and I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I personally want to do with this information.

Brace yourself for a real bubble burster . . .
Pinterest, it appears, is beginning to gather a great deal of attention and criticism for widespread copyright infringement. It is estimated that 99% of what is pinned to Pinterest is done so in violation of Pinterest's own terms as well as in violation of existing copyright laws. And to make matters worse, the user agreement seems to make the user/pinner responsible and therefore the one that gets sued for infringement first if they pin things without permission or infringe upon the copyrights of others. Instead of me trying to explain this all properly, I've gathered some links to articles written about it: (if you search "Pinterest copyright" you'll find even more articles to read)

~ Pinterest's Copyright Strategy Puts the Burden on Users

~ Why I Tearfully Deleted my Pinterest Inspiration Boards

~ Not Pining for Pinning

~ Is Pinterest the new Napster?

~ Pinterst is blowing up - with cries of copyright infringement

~ Avoiding Copyright Pitfalls on Pinterest

~ What you Should Know about Pinterest and Copyright


It's a slippery slope for artists and other content copyright holders. If we give permission to pin our work/content, we are giving permission to Pinterest to not only profit from our work/content, but to do with it as they wish, essentially giving up the rights to our own work. If we don't give permission to pin our content, we're the snobby bad guys because we've rained on one of the biggest happy place parades of all time. Who doesn't love the idea of Pinterest, sharing the world's best images of the worlds' best ideas in one handy dandy easy to use place? Damn you Pinterest! (with tongue in cheek)

Ah, but maybe you're still on the "what about all the great exposure?" side of the fence. I seem to be having a hard time swinging my leg over that fence too. Of course, I'm very interested in free advertising on one of the hottest sites ever created! But if the exposure means giving up the rights to the work I could gain from in the first place, I don't know how free the advertising really is. It is a prickly pickle, this whole Pinterest thing. (say that 3 times fast)

I honestly don't know what to think, do or say about it all. I have deleted my own boards for the time being and won't pin anymore until a few more kinks are worked out. I just can't knowingly and purposely violate copyrights over and over myself. But, I am waiting and watching and praying for miracles that all will get resolved and I can happily return to the greatest (and possibly most productive) pastimes of all internet history without fear of being sued or my work being pirated by Pinterest.

Is there any way to fix all of this? I think so.

1) I think Pinterest could change their terms to protect the artist by not claiming the right to do whatever they want with what is being pinned.

2) I think Pinterest could flip things over and allow people to "opt in" rather than "opt out". In other words, encourage artists to display a button or switch where the works are originally shared that gives permission to post to Pinterest instead of forcing artists to go around writing 10 gabillion requests to remove work that they never gave permission to be used in the first place.

3) And, I think users need to be sure they are only sharing pins with direct links to the original source - no more tumblr links that essentially bypass the artist/original source altogether. There is a group starting a grassroots effort to get the word out. You can find some information on their Facebook wall here and some information on their blog here.

Before I go . . .
I promise no more "heavy" posts for a few days. And THANK YOU for your support, encouragment, good wishes, love, thoughtful comments and gracious messages regarding my post below. The path continues to be lit with the love and compassion of you all! ♥

13 comments:

peggy gatto said...

I always appreciate helpful information (like spinach in my teeth)
Thank you!

sugar Creek said...

Ya know, I've kinda wondered the same thing. I never pin something from someone elses blog, only my stuff. But thank you for the info though!!

BLiSsAngELs said...

no you are saying what all of us artist are thinking...
I love the idea but I don't want to copy other artist work I want the link so I can go to the artist blogs to see more ... the same I don't want some taking my pictures without a link back to me

"MOI" Freubel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
"MOI" Freubel said...

'm probably one of the few who barely visit pinterest Marsha. Perhaps it's not so well known in our country (Netherlands) as in yours. (Or it is just me) but with great interest I read your story and I'm glad that you published it !

Hearty greetings, Rian

constanct said...

Marsha, I don't think anyone can steal my copyright when I was NOT the one who agreed to the terms in the first place. Thanks for keeping an eye on these sticky matters, Hummmmm spinach for thought

SueAnn said...

Copyright has always been sticky!! Sigh!!
And I definitely want to know if I have spinach in my teeth or toilet paper on my shoe!!!
Ha
Hugs
SueAnn

bockel24 said...

Thank you SO much for posting this! Pinterest has terms that are very similar to Facebook and Twitter (and in fact these services are connected in some way), and I cannot accept any of their rules so don´t join any of these services. But I´ve found my artwork pinned there by people who didn´t know these rules, I think ... so I´ve posted a note in my blog´s sidebar some time ago and just hope that more people will read the terms before using online services ...

Mariann S Sæbjørnsen said...

Why can`t people be honest and fair?
Why can`t they make their own art and stuff without stealing from others and take credit for it? I will never understand and except this.
Lots og hugs to you from Mariann In Norway
Lift your head and you will only see those who charise and love you (the others are not worth looking for where they are crawling on the ground)

Marit said...

I'm already getting deep into this matter Marsha... I came across this just after I'd interviewed a copyright lawyer for my new magazine (the interview will be in issue #1) and someone pointed the TOU of Pinterest out to me... it seems to be all over the net! I already 'blocked' Pinning from my blog, 'cause after the interview I know some about copyright... Good luck to all the 'Pinternet addicts', they have a huge moral problem on their tail now...

Marit said...

You may find this link worthy too...

http://artists-bill-of-rights.org/news/campaign-news/pinterest-%11-our-view-of-this-project/

(btw, I'm not on Pinterest myself)

Marit said...

Hi Marsha, I'm coming back to this post to share this link....

http://ddkportraits.com/2012/02/my-date-with-ben-silbermann-following-up-and-drying-my-tears/

Hope this milds things down... it sounds like good news for you 'Pinteresties'... Enjoy your weekend!

Jody said...

Glad you wrote this post. I noticed right away that Pin Interest had a lot of disembodied work on it. I've always steered clear of it.
Just a thought. It'snot good exposure or free advertising if no one knows who made it.
Love your blog.