Last April at Mom2.0, Janice Croze from 5 Minutes for Mom shared her love of Pinterest. She explained its usefulness–for curating things and ideas you love through pictures and images. She described it as a bookmark program that’s beautiful (I’m paraphrasing.) I returned home and eagerly joined early, before it was commonly used. I explored Pinterest: created boards, curated beautiful finds, invited friends… all to share the love of things I love on the internet.
For those not yet members at Pinterest, basically, Pinterest is a place to pin images you love. Think of it as an organized internet bulletin board: you pin a picture on your board and you show it to your friends who stop by, or your hundreds or thousands of followers.
Pinterest can be a great tool for curating images. Pinterest is an excellent marketing tool, when used correctly. And it’s an exceptional way to communicate. Afterall, a picture tells a thousand words.
Apparently, some Pinterest users are not so quick to agree with that adage. In fact, some Pinterest users are finding it necessary to copy entire posts that are attached to a pinned image. They believe this to be fine. As you’ll read in this conversation, some believe the Internet to be a “free for all”:
The quote, above, is taken from a discussion when @mommynamedapril asked a pinner to please take the recipe down from the pin, as pinning an image with credit is acceptable, but content stealing is not. April said it far more elegantly:
The fault of the confusion does not lie on Pinterest users. Many users are uneducated in Intellectual Property Law and truly believe that anything posted on the world wide web is for world wide use. In sum, the opposite is true. Copyright law extends to the internet and all things digital. WIPO (the World Internet Property Organization) explains Copyright, related rights and the WIPO Internet treaties. It’s actually a very interesting read… if you have the time. If not, you can trust me that the internet is not a “free for all” and if one is copying and displaying elsewhere, that is stealing. Stealing isn’t nice.
April’s situation isn’t the only case where users have pinned with full content in the comments without siting sources. Pinterest has it’s rules and offers suggestions on reporting infringed property:
It is Pinterest’s policy, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, to disable and/or terminate the accounts of users who repeatedly infringe or are repeatedly charged with infringing the copyrights or other intellectual property rights of others.
The good news for those of us in internet media is that, recently, Pinterest has been very quick to respond to reported content theft; they are taking down the pins and alerting the user as to the reason for the removal.
But while stating a policy is all Pinterest has to do, and taking down offending pins with notice is certainly an active step in stopping content theft on their website, I’m calling on Pinterest to take this one step further: be proactive and educate Pinterest users before they post:
— Julie(@justprecious) January 4, 2012
I ask Pinterest to send a membership update in the form of an email newsletter or to institute a sticky or pop-up video or window so that all of its registered users have a clear understanding of copyright infringement and Intellectual Property Law.
I enjoy Pinterest. I see it as a benefit for readers, marketers, writers, curators and many others. But it doesn’t benefit anyone when it’s used wrong. It’s in everyone’s best interest to know, understand and adhere to the rules.
© 2012, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.