I’ve known since Pinterest’s early days that people have been “pinning” my work to their visual bulletin boards on the Pinterest site. I thought that was nice, and was happy that they were inspired by my work. It was only recently, when I started hearing all of the hubbub, that I started looking into exactly what Pinterest was, and if perhaps it’s something I should use.
There have been many, many articles online recently about Pinterest–many for, and many against the social sharing site. When I first started reading them, I kept going back and forth. I even had a “Pin It” button on my blog (for about a day or two). Then as I started understanding their terms of service more, I started getting that queasy feeling.
I like the concept of Pinterest, and see many great uses for it. But I think Pinterest needs to do some thinking and change their terms. If you read them, they are scary, and also confusing. I won’t go into all of the details, because there are already so many articles that do it very well. But the long and short of it is, according to their terms, when you pin something, you are stating that either you are the owner of the work, or you have rights to the work, which you then grant to Cold Brew Labs (Pinerest). And, their terms state:
By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.
So basically, if something is pinned, they have the right to do whatever they want with it, which includes sell it or exploit it. That also means, if someone pins your work or my work, they have made that decision for us, to let Pinterest have their way with it. Their info also says that if someone sues because their work is on Pinterest without their permission, the person who pins it is responsible not only for their legal fees, but also Pinterest’s.
I know many people feel that even with all of this, they still want to use Pinterest and have their work pinned on it because of the exposure they’ll get. But, one thing that makes Pinterest different from other sites is that they keep full-size images instead of just thumbnails. That means when someone pins an image, the full-size image is right there on Pinterest for the viewer to see, giving them no need to click on the link to go to the original site. Then it gets pinned and repinned by other people, who may or may not go to the original site. So, how does that get you much traffic? I use google analytics to see how many visits I get to my site, and where they are coming from. Even though I have quite a bit of my work that has been pinned on Pinterest, I hardly get any traffic from it. And, I have found some of my work with no link to my site, or where I wasn’t given credit.
I’m hoping that enough people will be concerned about this–not only about their own work, but the choices they make for other artists when that person’s work is pinned.
Pinterest has taken some steps recently, but they need to take more and change their terms of service. So I’m asking you to please share this blog post, and also the image I created. Pin it!
I’ve read many articles, and here are links to three that I got the most out of. Also read through the comments because sometimes those are just as helpful as the post.
Link With Love is what inspired me to also create my “letter” to Pinterest. Add a “Link With Love” button on your blog!