In response to cries of copyright abuse, Pinterest announced a “fix” for the copyright concerns. “To thwart any lawsuits in the making, the much talked-about startup is giving disgruntled site-owners a way to stop piracy before it starts by blocking their images from showing up on Pinterest,” Jennifer Van Grove wrote on VentureBeat.
The headline? “Pinterest not a pirate anymore, helps site owners disable pins.” Their solution was to provide a snippet of code to your site that disables sharing of photos to Pinterest. The code can be found in the help menu under. “What if I don’t want images from my site to be pinned?” This is not the problem. Giving site owners the ability to disable pins misses the entire point. There is an advantage to the original source to pinning with attribution.
The problem is the pinning from secondary sources. And the one most abused is Google.com’s image search. Just take a look at the volume of images being pinned from Google image search. These images have no attribution and result in no links to the original source, which is one of the major benefits being touted by Pinterest proponents. In fact, clicking through from a Google image search pin takes you to a blank search. It doesn’t even take you to the image search result. As Stuart Whitmore says in the comments, “Pinterest should disable pinning from Google Images or any other image search, since it’s clearly not the valid source.” And I agree. Completely.
No, Pinterest is still a pirate.
Let’s NOT put the burden for copyright on the site owners. Pinterest is the enabler. I can easily pin things that are clearly not the correct source. And I can even more easily repin an item without ever looking at the original source. Pinterest’s own language is in their ettiquette section is tepid on this subject. “Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Google Image Search or a blog entry.” I’d say it’s quite a bit more than preferable.
What can you do if you love Pinterest?
- Seek The Source. First, do your best to seek out the original source of the image you’re pinning, or at least make sure the blog that includes the image has the correct attribution.
- Repin with thought. It’s so easy to see a tantilizing photo in your Pinterest stream and simply repin it to one of your boards without ever clicking into the detail on the pin or visiting the source. I know, because I’ve done it myself. No more. One of the benefits of being pinned is that it drives traffic to the originator’s site. So, before you repin, go visit the source. If you can’t find it, don’t repin it. Find the original and then do what Pinterest suggests in their etiquette, “If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source.”
- Protect Copyright. On your own blog, be sure you’re giving proper attribution and have secured the rights to post any photograph you use. I’ve been a huge fan and participant of Creative Commons. Flickr has a vibrant and active Creative Commons community. Use it and use it correctly.
Are we raising a generation of thieves?
Last week I helped my son, a seventh grader, with a homework assignment that involved finding images online to illustrate different physical conditioning models. The instructions were explicit; go to Google and find the images. Download them to your hard drive and include them along with a description of why the photo demonstrates the conditioning model you’re illustrating. There was no mention of giving attribution. None.
He actually fought with me as I taught him how to give proper attribution by clicking through to the source of the image, copying the URL and site name and including that in the copy of his description. He said, “Nobody does this, Dad. It’s not required for the assignment.” I told him his teacher was wrong and that what she was teaching him was how to steal people’s intellectual property. Perhaps I was being overly dramatic, for effect, but I meant what I said.
Pinterest is a wonderfully executed site that millions enjoy using each day. But it can and should do more to protect the copyright of content creators that are fueling it’s growth. Your thought are welcomed.
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Image Source: Mine