Like lots of people I have been delighted by the opportunities that Pinterest offers. And like lots of people I imagine, I opened an account without really reading the small print and got pinning away to my heart’s content in complete oblivion. However there has been a lot of online discussion about this site of late and the issues surrounding copyright.

knitsofacto has a great article here but I too feel like I want to say something about it which won’t necessarily add to the debate (might widen the audience possibly) but to outline my expectations of people who may be pinning me. It is worth reading this article whether you feel you have the time to or not, whether you’re a just a pinner or an artist and pinner, or just an artist.

What I didn’t know even though I have ticked ‘read terms and conditions’ was that if I pin an image onto one of my boards it is agreed that I either own the copyright or have asked for permission.

If you pin something Pinterest is assuming that you have asked permission or own the copyright because that’s what you agreed when you signed up.

If you pin something of mine onto one of your boards, it assumes that you own the copyright (which of course you don’t) or that you have asked my permission (which no-one ever has.)

First then the log in my own eye before I pick at the splinters in others. I apologise to anyone whose image I may have pinned onto one of my boards without asking for permission and please be reassured that I am making it a priority to tidy up those boards by removing anything which compromises your copyright on your image or work, and to properly credit the source of the image or article.

Lazy pinning means that we often just re-pin images from where we saw them, not from their original source. This means that proper credit gets lost amongst all the re-pinning.

Here’s the scarier bit…

” Pinterest’s terms of use state that if you upload content to Pinterest, then you’re giving Pinterest permission to distribute, sublicense, and sell that content:

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.”


This means that by pinning others work, or by pinning mine, we are giving Cold Brew Labs (the company behind Pinterest) the right to store that image (full size!) on their own servers for ever, for future use should they wish to use it and profit it from it.

Some may say ‘Oh no-one will ever let that happen, it’s an enormous global copyright scandal and won’t be allowed’ and I imagine, and hope that, that will be the case as lawyers argue the fine points.

But I am going to do what I can now to make sure that my work is not compromised by asking you not to pin my work to a Pinterest board. You could open a Word document and drag an image into it and save it as inspiration or reference that way (like I used to before Pinterest and will be returning to now.)

I’m going to use this as an opportunity to use my sketchbook more effectively and instead of pinning things that inspire me, I’m going to try to draw, record and write from the screen straight into my sketchbook.

Mostly the internet offers us opportunities that could never have been explored before and sometimes we run like lemmings over the cliff believing that every global web-site that’s well designed, is well-designed for our benefit. And sometimes it isn’t as straightforward as that. Time to think again perhaps?

You may notice I have amended my copyright statement now.