Pinterest: Recommendation and Warning
The social media site Pinterest.com has been getting a lot of press in recent days because, according to some reports, at the moment it is the fastest growing social media site.
I joined the site after reading about how Pinterest could be good for authors, business people, etc. And since then I have been following the news, the recommendations and the warnings about Pinterest.
I’d like to provide a primer here with the disclaimer that I am NOT a lawyer.
How Pinterest works:
On Pinterest you set up a free account and then you can create “pins” (photos) that link back to where you pinned the photo from and allow you to add a short description.
For example, I have a website that has a page about my upcoming ebook “How to Succeed in High School and Prep for College.” After putting the “Pin It” function on my toolbar’s “bookmarks,” I can go to that website page, click on the “Pin It” icon, chose which photo of the photos that automatically appear I want to pin, and click on that photo.
Then I can write the short description and even add a hot link in the description box along with the automatic link back to the website page from which I pinned the photo.
I then get to choose to which of my already created boards (or I can create a new board) do I want to add this pin. (Think of boards as themed bulletin boards.)
What is in Pinterest for artists?
Especially if you choose eye-catching photos, you can encourage people to go from a picture of yours that they like back to the source of that picture, which could even be your DVD’s page on Amazon.
And you can get truly creative with the boards you set up – naming these boards what you think will attract people.
Copyright infringement in a big way.
First, let’s assume you do not pin any photos to which you do not have the right to use. But someone else who repins your pin may not have the right to the photos you pinned.
In fact, what if the photos are your original art and you do not want these photos to be repinned (the process by which people add your pins to their boards)?
And, second, what if you pin photos you like from all over the web – or repin photos from all over the web – without getting permission of the owners of the photos? Do you have the right to do this?
Bloggers have been discussing how in these cases you might be liable for copyright infringement if you have not gotten permission to do this. (Note the word “might” because a lot of copyright rules for online material have not yet been set in stone.)
According to various blog posts, the terms of Pinterest put the onus on the pinner for any copyright violations.
What should you do?
If you decide you want to take advantage of the opportunities on Pinterest to make connections via photos, decide on your own policies to avoid copyright infringement.
I only pin the photos I own, the photos I have bought from istock to use on my own blog posts, and the photos used with guest posts of mine on other blogs. (I do hope the blog owners have the right to use those photos.)
I am NOT planning to repin anyone because of copyright concerns, which as an author I am very sensitive to regardless of a site’s policy on copyright.
Remember I am NOT a lawyer. It seems to me, though, that if you join Pinterest, you must use common sense when it comes to copyright considerations. And you must keep these considerations in mind at all times.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter and @ZimblerMiller on Pinterest) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com, which is now WBENC certified and helps clients effectively use social media and other online marketing strategies. Check out Phyllis’ books and other projects at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com