A new social media website is coming up. Pinterest.com gathers people and invites them to pin from the net to their virtual pinboards what they like and what they want to share.
Yes, the net is for extroverts and this is their latest gimmick.
What’s wrong with that, spoil sport?
With each pin the members of Pinterest create a copy of the image they want to swallow, or should one say hijack, for their pleasure and interest to their board, hence the pinterest.
Unfortunately they not only create an image copy, they also create it under a different file name and store it as upload under different url on the Pinterest servers. Such manners are usually identified as the trademarks of ordinary image theft.
If members would read the Pinterest terms of service they would notice that as they pin they represent and warrant that they either are the sole and exclusive owner of all content that they make available or have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary.
How they get these rights and consents without asking the copyright owners for permissions remains a secret though.
Pinterest themselves are so free not only to impose all consequences of copyright infringements on their members but also to reserve the right to do with the uploaded i.e. pinned content what they wish. More precisely according to their terms members give 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, to Pinterest.
No wonder that visual artists, graphic designers and other image creators and copyright owners are delighted to hear that their rights and property can be transferred to a third party with a mouse click by Lizzy Miller who enthusiastically collects pretty images without further notice to them and free of charge (of course).
Sorry that is not fair. Let’s leave Lizzy Miller alone she is innocent, by saying that we can avoid the less favorable word ignorant. Instead let’s be grateful for the professional promotion that professional bloggers, preferably from the design and creative department of the net, sprinkle with these image copies generously over the net by re-blogging, at best on Google blogger, which again creates an independent image copy on Google servers, or by smart hotlink.
OK, the terrific backlink that is said to be the grand reward and prize of fame for those not asked about copyright at all gets pretty much useless as the original source in the most cases is not traceable at all from the start or lost after dozens or re-pins. But at least the bloggers can attract more viewers and traffic to increase their Adsense and other revenues. The image source until then is completely lost, the subject can be taken as orphaned image then i.e. free to be used by everybody, which is another great achievement.
OK the Pinterest TOS explain that their service is only for non-commercial and personal use, but who wants to bother with such trifles?
Some fools like me! They write protest mails to Pinterest and disturb their coloured world of lovely and inspirational prettiness.
As time goes by some others such known as lawyers will show up and have their say, hopefully.
Until then I kindly ask you dear readers : Please don’t pin my images. Thank you!
For those who like a less sarkastic take on the issue I commend Pinning Pinterest: Copyright protection for photographers by Tara Bradford
Update on 9.2.2012: There is evidence that Pinterest is making money from pinned affiliate links by changing the orginal link ino something else. Read more at Pinterest is quietly generating revenue by modifying user submitted pins on llsocial.com.