Pinteresting food for thought

At the risk of sounding exactly like everyone else on the internet lately, I la-la-LOVE Pinterest. They’ve managed to make a website that is simple and beautiful and intuitive that really appeals to visual folks like me (which helps explain their 10 million+ visitors a month). Since my business (this blog and my pattern shop) is web-based — and therefore relies completely on web traffic to survive — it really amazed me recently to discover that Pinterest had become my number one source of referring traffic (and if what I’m reading on other blogs is any indication, this is true across the board for others as well). Here’s a sampling of the stuff people usually pin from my site:

Array

As you might recall, I get touchy about other people using pictures of my kids (even if I’m inconsistent about stating it). For awhile I used to crop out their faces when I took pictures of them wearing the stuff I made for them, but honestly over the last year I’ve gotten pretty lazy about it. Then Pinterest got really big, and it started to bug me that it was now ten bajillion times easier to people take pictures of my kids and pin them. Here and there I would find pins that showed my kids’ faces, but for the most part I just decided to let it go. I figured, well, at least the pins all link back to my website. As a lame precaution, here and there I would post the words “Please do not use or pin pictures of Clementine”  below pins I really didn’t want to see anywhere else. I guess I also sort of felt like “well it’s my own fault for putting this stuff on the internet in the first place,” which I know is not technically true, I do hold the copyright to all of my images and therefore have the final say when it comes to what’s done with them, but maybe you understand what I mean anyway.

Last week Emily emailed me to say that it annoyed her that there were pictures of her kids all over Pinterest and that their terms of use basically state that Pinterest owns everything on Pinterest, including all “member content,” which means the images that are pinned, and asked if that bugged me and what did I do about it, if anything? So I looked up the terms, and sure enough, it does basically say that.

So I wrote Ben Silbermann (the founder of Pinterest) an email:

Hi Ben,

Just a quick question, hopefully of clarification. Background: I have a sewing blog (http://made-by-rae.com) that features pictures of not only stuff I sew for my kids, but also, frequently, pictures of my kids wearing those handmade items. I have stated on my website that others are not to use (and often I state underneath photos that show their faces: please do not pin) pictures of my kids.

But of course the long and the short of it is that there are pictures of my kids all over Pinterest (example); it really can’t be avoided, and I understand that’s just how these things go: if I put my pictures online, they will get pinned. When Pinterest was really getting big last year, it bothered me at first, but then I felt a little better knowing that at the very least the pins all linked back to my website, so if anyone wanted to click on it they could see where they come from. It would take me such a long time to hunt them all down and request they be taken down…it just seemed like too much trouble, frankly.

I wanted to see what your policy on all this was, so I clicked around your copyright and terms pages. This particular statement bothered me:

Ownership

The Site, Application, Services and Site Content are protected by copyright, trademark, and other laws of the United States and foreign countries. Except as expressly provided in these Terms, Cold Brew Labs and its licensors exclusively own all right, title and interest in and to the Site, Application, Services and Site Content, including all associated intellectual property rights. You will not remove, alter or obscure any copyright, trademark, service mark or other proprietary rights notices incorporated in or accompanying the Site, Application, Services or Site Content.

“Member Content” means all Content that a Member posts, uploads, publishes, submits or transmits to be made available through the Site, Application or Services.

“Site Content” means Member Content and Pinterest Content.”

(source: http://pinterest.com/about/terms/)

This is the part that bugs me. I feel like this is saying that as soon as someone puts one of my copyrighted photos up on Pinterest, it now belongs to Cold Brew Labs. Is that what that is saying? Even when “pinners” are never asked to insure that the images they are pinning are really theirs to pin?

So my thought is, maybe it would be nice to have some way to block pinning on photos that are really off-limits. A wordpress widget or something that would allow someone to stop pinning on particular images. I noticed you have the link to report copyright infringement, but for me, that would mean spending hours every week going through pins from my site and weeding out the ones I didn’t want up.

Obviously I really love love love Pinterest and as a person who has a handmade business, your site has been really wonderful for me! Just wanted to figure out what’s going on with this ownership stuff, especially with my kids’ pics.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I’m really interested in your thoughts on this.

Thanks!!!

Rae Hoekstra
made-by-rae.com

And, I kid you not, the man wrote me back in LESS THAN TEN MINUTES. I was/am still totally floored/impressed. And if you’ve ever had any contact with Ben from Pinterest, ever, you know that he is quite possibly the nicest man on the planet. I will not directly quote his words here because I have not asked his permission to do so (although if I did I’d probably have a response back before I could finish writing this post, sheeeeesh), but basically he said:

- thanks for writing
- he totally understood and appreciated the concerns
- they are reviewing the Terms of Service
- they have already introduced a little snippet of code that you can put on your website to block all pinning if you want to (found on this page, scroll ALL the way to the bottom)
- they do not currently have something that will prevent people from pinning specific photos, but are working on it

Pretty neat, right? I thought that was very nice of him to get back to me, and be so cool about it. I honestly thought I would never hear back.

So as far as I can tell, if you don’t want your photos on Pinterest, you can either a) not put them up in the first place, or b) add the code to block pinning to your website, c) report specific photos for copyright violation, or d) wait for them to introduce something that will prevent folks from pinning specific photos.

I find all of this very very fascinating. Anyway, I thought you guys might find it interesting or even useful too! While I’d love to see them change their terms (honestly I’d just be glad to know that my photos don’t automatically become Pinterest’s as soon as they are pinned) and add a function to be able to block specific photos from being pinned, sometimes it’s just nice to be heard, you know? I’m a pretty simple creature I guess.

What do you think about all this?

74 thoughts on “Pinteresting food for thought

  1. This is a fascinating post – I admit, I was slightly bothered when I thought about the fact that I, and everyone else, can pin my kids photos and they are all over the world from there. But I guess I figured, heck – I put them up on the blog in the first place – anyone can simply copy and paste it from there if they really want to. And I have never been strict with my kids photos anyway. Pinterest IS a huge source of traffic. So much so, that the pics I have started to take for the blog I am trying to make in a more Pinterest friendly way. But to know that I can block certain photos would be such a sense of relief, I would really love that feature. That is incredible that Ben wrote back as fast as he did – that goes a long way in speaking for him and how he values his ‘readers’ or pinners.

    Thank you for this post!

  2. Thanks for the post. I respect your right to control how your images (and especially pics of your children) are distributed over the Internet. Pinterest is a new media – image copyrights are an issue at the moment but hopefully Ben’s smartypants developer friends will find a solution that satisfies everyone (and their lawyers).

  3. yes, quite interesting. i really don’t use pinterest for the social component. that is, for others to pin or for me to pin from others. i use it to remember stuff i want to find again! i love pinterest for sewing ideas, quilting tutorials and recipes. lately when i pin, i write “so and so from whatever blog” so they are getting “credit”. but i’d almost rather not have anyone see my pins (i mean, i don’t care) b/c they are just for me! i sometimes wonder how others see this – do they want their stuff pinned (b/c it may get them more readers…) or not b/c they see it as taking what’s theirs to a different place. i don’t really like that pins become “owned” by pinterest.

  4. HA! This is perfect. In my draft box, I have basically a novel that I’ve been writing in reply to your email. I’m eager to hear what others have to say on the issue!

  5. I’m not a lawyer, but I have read up on copyright quite a bit for work, and I’m like, 99.9% sure that Pinterest cannot claim ownership of your content – especially if it’s pinned by someone other than yourself. Even if their “Terms of Service” says they do, it probably won’t hold up in court.

    You hold the copyright until you expressly give it away to someone else (usually a notarized contract), or 70 years after you die.

    As for pics of your kids, you’ve already hit the nail on the head, if you don’t want them out there, don’t post it in the first place.

    • I totally agree with Liz. I worked in advertising for a long time and know for sure that you cannot overrule ownership of a picture like this. Ha, that would be a dream of any advertiser – just put that statement into your terms and never pay buyouts for usagerights ever again. Luckily, that is not possible!

  6. First, that’s amazing (and even a little comforting) that he responded so quickly. It sounds like they’re on the right track in terms of making a pinterest opt-out, but it’s still all a little unnerving when you read the fine print. A lot of my measly amount of traffic comes from Pinterest and I, too, have really enjoyed using the service. Like someone commented earlier, I primarily use it as a bookmarking tool. Intellectual property is whacky, though, and there is very much a grey area when you introduce the magical world of the internet.

  7. I agree with you 100%. I love pinterest as well and it’s been my #1 traffic referrer for eons as well so I feel the love there too. But it’s worrying the phrasing in the paragraph you posted. I hope they get that rectified sooner than later.

    I’m hoping they also get private boards instilled soon. I know it’s in the works but I would be over the moon to have that as a function on pinterest.

    Also, the idea of being able to have a plug in for all types of platforms to block certain pics is a great idea. I think that would be really helpful.

    Like you I don’t have time to scroll through all the pics pinned that are mine and block them all. Way too time consuming. So for now I just watermark the heck out of them and cross my fingers they don’t get use improperly.

    Thanks for posting this hun! I guess I should be reading the fine print just a little bit closer :)

    • yes I know — I hope they figure that out too!!

      And you know, sometimes I wish I *didn’t* read the fine print!!! (it’s like reading the warnings on medication, you know…best not to even look)

  8. Great post! This issue seems to have caused quite the brewhaha lately. I thought it was more a way for Pinterest to cover themselves and not be responsible for how users pin things instead of a pinterest now owns your images and can do what they want with them issue.

    I definitely think a widget of some kind would be great because then you could make sure that the photo you really wanted pinned could have all your pertinent info on it and people could find their way back to your site even if it gets pinned a lot or the direct link is lost.

    • Lizzie: there is a widget for wordpress that allows you to select the picture you want to “represent” your post, so that people can choose that instead of picking their own photo. It’s called “Pin It for WordPress”: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/pinterest/
      I haven’t gotten it to work on my site yet, but if it did work it sounds like it would do exactly what you’ve mentioned here!

  9. Thanks for writing to them, Rae. I’m heartened to hear Ben’s response and hope that they do make some changes to the user agreement. Code to disable pinning of specific photos would be great, too.

    I just wanted to say that I have seen your request not to pin photos of your kids and I think I have always followed this when I pin from your blog. No, you don’t have control over what people do once the images are on the internet, but I think it is a reasonable request to make. Actually I try to follow that policy when pinning from other blogs, too–I try not to pin photos of other people’s kids especially if another photo that gives the same idea is available.

  10. I have the same issue as you. Someone even told me to not share photos or even share my kids’ name. So, that is what I did, to keep my kids out of my blog. It’s not their choice to write a blog. I don’t exactly like it b/c I want to have a “relationship” with my readers. But not everyone see [or read] eye to eye on taking pictures off websites.
    I will say that I’m glad that Ben is respondent to this, giving suggestions and letting you know that something is in the works.

    thanks for sharing this.

  11. You are amazing. Leave it up to you to get a response from Ben. Pretty cool. I love Pinterest and it definitely is a big source of traffic for me. I hope they come out with a widget to block certain photos. That I would definitely use… but not on that many pictures. Maybe my big pregnant belly from my very first blog post ever!

  12. Interesting stuff. My blog’s not related to a business at all, and I don’t tend to put pictures of any people up, but I have had a couple of my photos pinned by others (I’m not a Pinterest user) and have read other articles about the copyright issues. I might block pinning from my blog just so I don’t have to think about it any more – thanks for bringing that option to my attention.

  13. I don’t blog so I’m coming from the reader side here. I love your blog Rae. I use pintrest but I only re pin stuff I don’t know how to use it to well :) I just wonder what it is your worried about happening to your punctures. As a mom I feel that unless you never leave your house anyone could get a picture of your kid. I’m being kinda extreme I know. But even though I have my facebook set to only friends and I only have a small# of friends, I always think do is want to see this on a billboard? Will I regret this? Before I post. Just my two cents. My feelings are enjoy what you do! It should not cause you worry and it won’t matter in the end d

  14. Oh no… I am a crazy repinner. I hardly have time to pin myself, but when I check pinterest, I repin like crazy to mark things I like and want to look at later (not really going to the original pinned site until much later). I hate to think that I am violating people’s rights or spreading photos that they don’t want spread. I mostly have only been repinning tutorials, so hopefully, the person who created the tutorial posted a photo on it that they didn’t mind being distributed. However, I am planning to start taking photos on the side, so lately, I have been repinning photos of poses I like. Because I am only interested in the photo, I never look at the original pinned site. I would love a tool that keeps me from inadvertently hurting someone because of laziness on my part to make sure the pin source is okay.

  15. Great that you got a response so quickly. I have been confused and baffled by the use of my kids on the internet as well, but I also put them up on my blog so what can I do. I hadn’t actually read the ownership thing, very interesting and a bit disturbing for sure.

  16. Great post Rae. I´ve always been aware of your concerns re your kids pictures but unfortunately not everyone reads the small print (even if you make it big and blinky)
    Someone should look into a html thingy that tells you when a photo from your flickr account has been pinned. Or does it exist? Does anyone know how to track pins from a flickr account?

    • You can search Pinterest by the source. Flickr might be hard because it is not a personal webpage or blog, but you might be able to include your Flickr username and force it? Or search just for your Flickr name?

  17. This is a very interesting and thought-provoking post. Thank you for sharing! I’ll definitely be more mindful of my pins and re-pins after reading this. The copyright issue is one thing, and I am gratified to hear that it is being addressed by Pinterest. But, on the other hand, (and I don’t mean to be harsh about this), if you don’t want photos of your kids floating around the Internet, then don’t post photos of your kids on the Internet. It’s that simple.

    • I agree completely. If you don’t want pictures out there, don’t put them up. Besides differing views of morality and the law, its just too easy to copy images and do what you like with them on the internet. Pinterest is just one visible way to see how your images are used. The only way to be sure is to not put them up in the first place.

      I use Pinterest as a bookmarking service with a greater emphasis on images than something like Delicious – the link to the original content is always there if people want it. I guess you (that is, any blogger) have to think about what you’re trying to achieve with the blog and post appropriately. If its for friend and family, restrict it if the usage bothers you. If its for promoting your book or patterns, it really has to be open, but how much of your life do you want up there? I do worry that bloggers in general put a lot of their personal life out there, in an effort to connect with the audience or as some sort of diary. Once something is published you can’t control it. 10 years down the line, will you regret how open you were? Will your friends and family? (even if they agreed to it now)

  18. This is very interesting and I have to say that this is just confirmation of my decision to keep my twins’ faces off my blog. Like every mom, I think I have the cutest girls in the world and I would love to share their darling identical faces with everyone, but I just don’t feel comfortable with that. When I started blogging, I made the decision to only publish photos in which I had cropped out their faces. Now that I’m seeing pins of my handmade clothing on Pinterest like you are, I’m so glad I made that choice! Not everyone is paranoid like me, LOL, so it’s definitely a personal decision.

    In regards to the copyright issue, I like your line of thought that at least the pins are linking back to your website, so people are getting steered in the right direction. I’d like to believe that the crafty community is filled with well-intentioned people who don’t steal other people’s ideas, photos, tutorials, etc…although I know that’s not always the case. I guess what I’m saying through all this rambling is, we have to have each others backs and if we see a fellow blogger’s stuff being used in an inappropriate way, we need to let them know so they can address it. I love Pinterest too and I’d hate to see anyone get hurt because some people don’t know how to be courteous!

    • Re: “the crafty community is filled with well-intentioned people who don’t steal other people’s ideas” and “we have to have each others backs”

      This has definitely been my experience! I have been impressed time after time by caring individuals who take the time to email me when they see something of mine being used in a way that doesn’t seem right. And, I have found that the vast majority of the time, when someone is using something of mine (or others’) in a way that is inappropriate, it’s out of sheer ignorance rather than a willful misappropriation. More often than not, if I just say something (kindly), the problem will be taken care of right away!! It is a wonderful community, by and large.

  19. I don’t use Pinterest but I find it kinda scary to think that a photo I took or image I created could suddenly become property of a service I don’t use simply because someone liked it enough to want to remember it. Not cool.

    • It can’t. You hold the copyright to it until you personally give it away, not other people. Pinterest does not legally own or have the right to use your photo for commercial purposes – and any court would agree with that. There are instances of Fair Use but that’s a whole different discussion.

      • That’s a bit of a relief but still…. I’ve seen some wacky copyright and service use policies. And then there was the family that traveled to China and found one of their facebook photos on a billboard ad.

  20. there is a good post here
    http://ddkportraits.com/2012/02/why-i-tearfully-deleted-my-pinterest-inspiration-boards/
    written by a lawyer/photographer and she breaks down all the legal mumbo jumbo.

    like you, I am very happy with the traffic that interest sends my way. I know there is the code to stop your pics being pinned BUT what if you get featured on another blog (with or without your permission) and the images get pinned from there? The only way to stop people using pictures that you don’t want them to use is not to post them in the first place.

    Two things you can do is, use low res images, won’t stop it but it limits what people can use your images for and smack a watermark on everything, not pretty but practical.

    Looking forward to see what everyone else has to say about it.

  21. Wow. Wow, as in I didn’t know that Pinterest “owned” the images and wow, I can’t believe Ben Silbermann replied so quickly and got your concerns. If only everyone could be so seemingly trusting, we wouldn’t have to worry so much about posting pics of our kids. Also, I guess I never really thought of pinning a photo of someone’s child, but you are right, I wouldn’t want someone to do it with my photos so why should I do it with theirs? (regardless if they have the copyright info on their blog or not) Good post!

  22. Very interesting. I find it hard to keep my kids photos off my blog and I like seeing other people kids on their blogs, it help me bond with the blog writer. I do read some blogs where they do not publish any personal photos and I find it really cold and if they weren’t friends then I wouldn’t feel compelled to follow their blog. Cropping out faces might be a solution and I’m going to think about how I can make that work for me.

    I have only joined Pinterest about a month ago and just worked out how to use it to pin items instead of using bookmarks. It is brilliant in that respect, I would be upset if I couldn’t pin a photo of something that inspires me. I also like the traffic it directs to my blog.

    On the point of creepiness… there’s two scenarios that concern me: my children being harmed and someone doing creepy things with my kids photos. A very good friend of mine is a police detective and she doesn’t like the idea of posting her kids photos on Facebook and the like. You see, a huge proportion of crimes are committed by people you already know. So if you were worried about someone harming your children then it’s your community and circle of friends you need to be cautious about (on Facebook you can now create close friends and family groups and limit sharing photos with those more trusted people, instead of the bloke you went to high school with and haven’t seen for 20yrs). Also, make sure blog readers/pinners are not privy to information that will help them track down where you live.

    I’d like to see if anyone has any great ideas.

    • Umm, when they say a huge proportion of crimes against childrean are commited by someone you know, what they mean is those people in your very close circle of family and friends are the most likely perpetrators – not the hangers on or people you don’t know. So restricting photos to close family and friends doesn’t cut out the most likely suspects. Obviously there are some random freaks out there, but they’re by far the minority. The media would have you believe otherwise because it makes for a “better” story.

  23. Google owns blogger and Google owns all content- just like Facebook owns all of your content. Not surprised about Pinterest.
    Thanks for the code link – I did put this onto my blog.
    I think Pinterest will be my next web platform to conquer- frankly – I haven’t got enough time in the day right now to add one more web thing to manage. I like the concept of Pinterest but I am not blogging to make money. So, I elected to insert the code to keep my photos from getting pinned.

    I may have to re-visit placing watermarks on all my photos. I used to do this when I had a web site but let it go as too time-sucking with the blog.

    Thanks for the food for thought. Glad my kids are grown up so they rarely get photographed anymore.

  24. It’s interesting you blogged about this, as recently I’ve been thinking about the same sorts of things in regards to Pinterest. I also had recently read that article someone linked to above, and of course that makes me wary about all the fine print I may not have read closely enough… Pleased to hear you received a response from Ben so quickly — I’m glad to hear they’re reviewing their terms of use. Thanks for sharing what you learned!

  25. This is really interesting. I have just recently started using Pinterest and it really didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t be ok with bloggers to use their pictures. But, duh. I haven’t used anyones kids but I’m not sure it would have registered as a problem, given that I’d be pinning from someone’s very public blog.

    Just an FYI, if I understand the terms correctly, facebook treats pictures in a similar way – they own your pictures. Google however does not.

  26. Wow – I always wondered. Thanks for asking for everyone. I can never decide how I want to handle my kids and the internet…and I guess I’m right to be protective over them. I’m excited to see what they come up with for blocking. Thanks again!

  27. Thanks for posting this, Rae, and for bringing the concerns to Ben directly! I had seen other posts about this topic but none so personally written – and it’s great to hear that they’re working on privacy solutions. Pinterest has just blown up recently, too, so it seems like the company has to be playing a bit of catch up with the logistics. I was an early user (errr….addict) of Pinterest, and it’s amazing to me how it’s grown in the last year and a half. Makes me glad to be a kid’s-face-cropper-blogger, though it would be awesome if there was a solution to allow only certain photos to be pinned! Anyway, can’t wait to see what they come up with, as this seems to be an emerging concern.

  28. Interesting post. I fully understand your point and I appreciate that you brought this up at Pinterest AND wrote this post.
    However. I do think that it simply is part of the whole internet deal that things you post will get used. Isn’t that exactly the point of blogging? If you think you can avoid the spreading of pictures of your kids by putting up a copyright notice, I think you’re very naive (although I did do this on my blog too;)). If you don’t want pictures of your kids showing up on websites, don’t post them.

  29. Thanks for your post concerning this topic. I have to admit to being a Pinterest addict. I hadn’t given much thought to the people in the pictures – I am a crafter and I’m interested in the items that inspire me. I guess I assumed that if a picture is posted on the Internet it’s already “out there.” I will give this more thought in the future when I make a pin.

    • Diane,
      I think this is truly how most of us approach pinning; you’re really just redirecting people through the Pinterest Portal. What happens to that image once it’s up on Pinterest though is (obviously) still under debate! :)

  30. Thanks for writing to them!! I just heard about this whole copyright on Pinterest thing yesterday, and it immediately made me nervous. Though I don’t worry as much about people pinning my photos, it worries me about the pins I create. I mean, I have a board for tutorials, for instance, and I pin the sites of all the awesome DIY projects I want to make. So am I infringing on their copyright to do that? I always thought of Pinterest as just a better way to organize my favorite web sites than a bookmark list, but now I worry that I’m willy nilly violating the copyright of the bloggers I admire the most. I wonder what this will mean, legally speaking? I don’t understand why they can’t just take off the part about the images belonging to Pinterest. Maybe they just want to be able to use a screenshot to do ads or something so they want the rights for that? I don’t know, but it seems extreme.

    • Jess:
      To answer your question, no, I do not believe you are infringing on their copyright. Most people who blog DIY really appreciate the exposure (I include myself in this) and don’t mind at all if things on their blogs are pinned. I really love it when my stuff gets pinned, for me the hang up is just wanting more control over what can’t be pinned! :)

  31. I totally agree with you not wanting pictures of your kids on Pinterest. I love your tutorials and so I always pin the picture of the object made instead of the object worn. You are one of the few bloggers that I read who takes a shot of the finished garment and then superimposes your tagline with it. Thank you for taking the time! And this also lets people know (at least I think so) that there are additional tutorials if you follow the pin. Keep up the good work!

  32. Thanks for sharing Rae. I have posted a pointer to your post on Sewingmamas, because there had been a recent discussion about the exact same privacy issues.

  33. hello, great that you got a reply straight away. i had a rant over on my blog yesterday about crediting work – pinterest seems to be an issue at the moment for a lot of people! thanks for sharing this. francesca

  34. Rae,
    Thank you so much for posting this. It was very informative and I appreciate you sharing this with us. I, too, have had some concerns about idea-sharing that borders on copyright infringement because of Pinterest. Thanks again!
    Jacinda

  35. I don’t know if you saw this post or not, and it’s very lengthy, but still more to think about.
    I love Pinterest for my own use in the way of ideas and such as I sew for my granddaughter, but I don’t sell anything I make.
    This copyright thing has always been a hot topic on every forum I’ve belonged to. I wonder if there will ever be any solid answers. :(

    http://ddkportraits.com/2012/02/why-i-tearfully-deleted-my-pinterest-inspiration-boards/

    • Definitely good food for thought…and I wonder the same thing: everyone seems to be able to point out the problems, but no one seems to be suggesting solutions.

  36. I don’t personally have my own blog (yet), but I agree that this subject is a touchy one. I think the only black and white answer is to just not post pictures with your kid’s faces in them if it bothers you that people are pinning pictures of them.
    I myself try not to pin pictures with anyone’s faces in them because I know that people are generally not fans. I do think it’s a great idea for Ben and Pinterest to make it possible for you to block some pictures from being pinned. I do hope, though, that this doesn’t ruin the fun and idea sharing of Pinterest. It’s just a matter of figuring out what works best for you, and what you personally are comfortable with sharing. Right?

  37. This is a really great post. I’ve been wrestling with this. I post lots of pictures of my baby, and I really don’t want them all over Pinterest. Even though I know that I should just be more careful about what I put on my blog in the first place. At the same time, I really appreciate some of the blog traffic I’ve received from Pinterest. Plus, I just love Pinterest.

    I’m an attorney and do a significant amount of copyright work. I’m always dismayed by the incorrect information that’s on the web. Copyright is really complicated, and I’ll be watching carefully as Pinterest addresses these concerns.

  38. That is interesting about the new code you will be able to use to block pinning. But is anyone really THAT naive that they don’t understand that posting pics of your family online, anywhere, means someone can take it. If it is on your blog, anyone can take it. And sometimes, rarely, they do and they mess with it and then your kid’s pic is on some porn site or whatever. If it bugs you, don’t post pics of your kids. Simple rule.

  39. good for him for being a nice guy, right?!?! that is so refreshing! i will never pin your kids!! (hehe) but i can totally understand the vunerability that would come with having your kids all over the net. that would bother me worse than someone copying my work!!!

  40. I’m not a blogger or photographer, but my friends who are use http://www.tineye.com to find unapproved internet postings of their photos. I don’t know if it works for Pinterest, but it’s a nice reverse image search engine for tracking down copyright and privacy request violations.

    Also, thanks for bringing my attention to this issue. As a Pinterest user I tend to focus on the craft or project rather than the specific image that’s pinned. But I’ll definitely pay more attention in the future!

  41. That is so cool that he wrote you back.
    I know when I pin things, I try to find a picture that is just the article of clothing (or whatever) without people in it. That way I get to remember what I thought was so cool/unique/awesome about the item, and I don’t have other people’s kids in the pictures. Cause truth be told, I wouldn’t want my kids pictures floating around the internet.

  42. Hey Rae,
    I hate to be the negative one in this… but Im pretty sure unfortunately that he has an auto response email to this type of question.

    Im pretty sure many people have the same concerns and has emailed him.

    It would be interesting to see if someone else wrote him what his response would be.

  43. I’m a conscientious pinner. When I first got a pinterest account I did pin some tutorials with kids’ photos and not till I read someone’s request to keep their kids off pinterest did it occur to me how much more public, and viral if you will, pinterest is. When I realized it I went back and changed those pins, and now always pin only a picture of the creation, or even just the website header if there isn’t a good “non-face” photo. I always pin the link to the site as well. All that to say I’m sure the majority of people out there are good-willed, and even if they are a bit underinformed at first as I was hopefully if the concerns become more public the problem will lessen.
    As to the copyright, it seems to me that pinterest is basically a content sharing site, so how can any of that be owned by them? I suppose as with all public information it could be used against you in some way someday. I wonder if it is just poor wording choice in their case.

  44. the ownership statement actually was the same on facebook. a while back when I read their terms it said that all content put up by users is owned by facebook, which made me think, do they own copyrights of my pictures or if I say something in a status that becomes a famous quote I could earn money with, would it be facebooks? but it’s not. In a more recent update where these things came up they clearly stated that you – the user do own your pictures and contents and copyrights to it.

    I suppose that this whole statement of ownership in the terms is just something that is copied and pasted from some kind of terms draft that somebody made up without considering the actual laws on copyrights.

  45. The copyright issues are indeed real and maybe people aren’t offering solutions because there aren’t really any easy ones.

    It bothers me that they are claiming ownership of all content there but Pinterest’s Terms of Use (that users agree to) also says that you

    “. . .represent and warrant that: (i) you either are the sole and exclusive owner of all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services or you have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms; and (ii) neither the Member Content nor your posting, uploading, publication, submission or transmittal of the Member Content or Cold Brew Labs’ use of the Member Content (or any portion thereof) on, through or by means of the Site, Application and the Services will infringe, misappropriate or violate a third party’s patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, moral rights or other proprietary or intellectual property rights, or rights of publicity or privacy, or result in the violation of any applicable law or regulation.”

    In other words they own the rights to what’s there and YOU by give them those rights and warrant that you have the right to do so with any content you pin! Let’s face it, that isn’t true for most of what people pin and if I am using Pinterest and doing that I am violating that agreement. I get that they have to cover themselves but by doing that they are laying the burden of copyright infringement on you the user and I’m not comfortable with that and I if I cannot pin because I can’t warrant that I own the content or have rights to it, what’s the point?

  46. Funny,
    Casey and I were just talking about this yesterday. Thanks for sharing! And seriously, Ben is totally cool/nice/down to earth. I agree :)

    • haha yes! Every time I email him, he writes back, and it’s super nice. I just think, how does this person have TIME to respond to all of his emails??? Crazy.

  47. I have a few thoughts. Personally, if you don’t want your kids online, don’t put them there to begin with. That’s a general statement. I also don’t allow cell phone photos in my house because of geo tags. My blog has NO photos of my family and very limited photos of where in a room I took a photo. You can’t be too careful-and even having a blog w/ that limited info isn’t being 100% careful.

    Secondly, I agree. If a third party is pinning a photo on a public site, how can the site they are using own the photo. There is no agreement btwn the poster of the photo being pinned and the owner of the site. I can’t take a photo of my neighbor’s house and call it mine and own it because I took a photo of it. Now making an agreement w/ a site like facebook before you post pics on their terms and use is another thing. But to my understanding, there is no terms of use or the blogger being pinned has no agreement. Also, the photos appeared on the blog before pinterest was developed-so how can pinterest pop up and now own them? Right.

    No wonder the government wants to make laws for this type of copying. It is the digital age…

  48. From this and some other comments you’ve made on your blog in the past, having pictures of your children on your blog seems to trouble you. You can’t easily put the proverbial cat back in the bag on your older posts, but perhaps for your own peace of mind you might consider not posting your kids’ faces going forward. And just some food for thought: if you, for some reason, feel that images of your children are integral to the success of your blog, and your blog is your business, you might consider if you really want to run a business that requires the use of your children’s images.

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