I’m a relative newcomer to the Pinterest bandwagon. A few weeks back, I finally took the plunge and have slowly been adding my thousands of images saved in inspiration folders here on my computer to my Homely One Pinterest boards. I've found it so convenient to store all the great ideas I come across online for things I'd like to try as well as being a great source of inspiration. My Pinterest boards are a bit like visual bookmarks for me.
I’ve always wondered about the copyright laws regarding images we use on our blogs and now, the images we ‘pin’ on our Pinterest boards. Back when I participated in Holly’s ‘Blogging My Way Course’ we touched on this subject and the term ‘fair use’. Since that time, I have preferred to ‘play it safe’ when using others’ images. If the blog from where I wish to use something doesn’t have a copyright statement, I try to email the blogger first to see if they mind whether or not I use their image in one of my blog posts, of course with a link back and a credit to them as the photographer. With images of products either found on Etsy or other online stores, I’ve always been of the mindset that posting photos of their products is ‘helping them’ by possibly driving more traffic towards their site and in a way providing free advertising. I figure if I’m sharing a product I’d like to buy with my readers and so long as I’m not writing anything negative, the shop owner wouldn’t mind. Occasionally however, I’ll stumble across a photo I just love and on the odd occasion, I’ll use it anyway.
However, when it comes to Pinterest, I hadn’t really considered the copyright regarding use of images. Until the other day when I read a post on My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia. Kristen raised this issue with her readers and referred to a post by The Knoed which I think is really worth reading if you own a Pinterest account. I’d love for you to read it and give me your opinion. Here are a few points taken from their post which made me think:
• Pinterest’s Pin Etiquette says to avoid self-promotion on the site, but its terms say we must be the sole owner (or have permission from the owner) to pin things. This is confusing. How does Pinterest suggest people use its site without getting in trouble?
• Is pinning something with a link back to the original source considered safe to pin? Or do I still need permission from the owner?
• How do I find out if something I want to pin is copyrighted or not?
• If I repin someone else’s pin, and it happens to infringe on a copyright or end up being sold, am I liable for repinning a pin? Who is responsible in this instance?
I realize this is all extremely unlikely and I’m not going to go cancelling my Pinterest account or anything like that. However in the meantime, I think as I am starting out pinning, I will just be a bit cautious about what and from where I pin at the moment until this issue is made a bit clearer. So long as I’m not passing off something that’s not mine as my own creation or painting something in a negative light, I don’t really see too much of an issue arising, but I am going to try and be more vigilant about paying credit to the original image sources of things I find. Hopefully, the way to go about things without infringing on copyright will be made clearer for all us ‘pinners’ as I really do think Pinterest is a wonderful resource and have come across many inspiring ideas, great products to buy and wonderful new sites through using it for only a few short weeks. The latest post on this issue here is also worth reading.
Draw from all this what you will. I’d love to know your opinion on this matter and how you view posting images which aren’t your own on your blogs…
In the meantime, here’s a few things I’ve pinned this week…