I’ve Been Abusing My Pinterest Account, But This Is How I’m Going To Stop.

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Like many of you last week, I read Roni Loren’s post on copyright infringement, which got me thinking about my own blog. I didn’t use photos in my posts until last year so I don’t have that many posts I need to fix as I go back through my archived photos. But the majority of posts that have photos that weren’t mine* came from Pinterest (you may recall my post about my Pinterest obsession from last year).

Now I’m sure we’ve all heard the kerfuffle about Pinterest and Copyright Infringement. Basically, if you pin and/or re-pin something that is not yours and you did not get permission to pin it you can be sued if the person who owns the rights to the photo comes after Pinterest.

This isn’t a post to pound that fact into your head and make you leave Pinterest. I’m not leaving Pinterest. But I am going to be more careful about what I pin, and I have a plan to make sure my boards aren’t going to get me sued.
EDIT: This method didn’t work, so I scrapped it and deleted all of my boards except for the Custom Pony Board (which are all photos I’ve been given permission to share), the Quotes board (does anyone know for sure if these are protected or not?), the Books board (book photos fall under Fair Use from what I’ve read), and the boards that were made for company contests (those companies were asking people to re-pin their products for free advertising). I’ll be starting over from scratch for all of my inspiration boards, and making sure that each photo I use is pin-able by the owner before I pin it. I’ll also be going through my “likes” and un-liking anything that shouldn’t be on Pinterest, even if it’s not pinned to a board of mine.

Step One: “Like” all my pins. When you hit the “like” button on a pin it puts it in a separate “liked” board. I’m doing this so I won’t lose all of my pins in one fell swoop. (EDIT: I wasn’t clear the first time and have been called out on this part: I’m only liking the pins until I can figure out which are ok to use. Everything that isn’t safe to use I’ll be “unliking” and deleting from my boards.) (EDIT AGAIN: It turns out you can’t “like” your own pins, so I deleted my boards and will be starting over from scratch.)

Step Two: Delete all the pins from my boards that aren’t mine, or I didn’t get express permission to pin. There are a couple photographers on Pinterest who I know are there for the express purpose of sharing their art. They want you to re-pin them. I’m not going to delete those pins, and I’m not going to delete anything that I own (or the pony pins, which I’ve been given permission to feature). But everything else? Trash. Well, for the moment at least.

Step Three: Go through my “like” board and delete anything that comes from a website without a Pin-It button. Or anything that doesn’t link back to the original owner. If I click through the link and can’t find the photo I’m not going to put it on Pinterest, because chances are it shouldn’t be there.

Step Four: Re-pin what’s left. Everything that is properly linking back to the original owner, who has given permission to “Pin-It” will go back into its original board. I have a feeling my Colorful board is going to be sorely lacking pins.

Yes, it’s going to take a long time. Yes, it’s going to be a pain in the ass. But I won’t be stealing anyone’s work, and I won’t be sued. From now on when I see something I want to re-pin I’ll check to make sure it links back to the original owner and is shareable. If I don’t have time I’ll “like” it so I can look it up later, and unlike it if it’s not shareable.

Have you been abusing Pinterest? Do you have plans to stop, or do you think the whole copyright argument is a bunch of nonsense?

*I ask permission for all custom pony posts – if I can’t get permission I don’t feature the custom, which is very sad because there are a few that I really want to show you guys!

Final Edit: I’ve found a list of photographers on Pinterest who are happy for you to re-pin their work: http://farbspiel-photo.com/connect/pinterest-photographers

No more worries about Copyright Infringement 🙂

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Published by

Rebecca Enzor

Rebecca Enzor is a chemist in Charleston, SC who writes Young Adult and New Adult Fantasy and Magical Realism. Repped by Eric Smith of P.S. Literary.

19 thoughts on “I’ve Been Abusing My Pinterest Account, But This Is How I’m Going To Stop.”

  1. I’m glad you’re seeing the light.

    I’m having to settle financially with a photographer myself for a repin – I think they’re after me because my identity wasn’t obscured and they were able to find me. I’m also under a sort of gag order on the details and the names. I am going to have to borrow a few grand from the bank. My attorneys are negotiating and I’ll have to pay them too. I’m going to to be in a financial hole for years.

    For what? A pretty picture I didn’t need. I hate Pinterest now.

    1. Oh wow. I didn’t know anyone had actually been sued over a pin yet – I thought it was just a threat so far. Thank you for sharing, and I hope you can get everything settled quickly with the photographer.

  2. I hadn’t yet joined Pinterest because of my concern over its time suck; now I’m glad I didn’t and don’t think I will. After reading Roni’s blog post, I did comb my blog for photos and images that I was unsure about and clear those out.

    As a writer, I wouldn’t want anyone to steal my words, so for me, I see stealing images from a photographer as the same thing.

    1. I guess when I joined I didn’t really see it as stealing (since I wasn’t claiming it was mine) I saw it as sharing things that I liked. I wouldn’t mind if someone shared my work, so long as they didn’t claim it was their own.

      I decided to delete most of my boards and start over the right way because it was all such a hassle. It didn’t take me long to find all those photos in the first place, so now I just have to re-find them and check to make sure they are ok to pin.

  3. All the hubub over Pinterest makes me glad I never bothered to join (and I was never tempted, honestly. I already have a LJ, and a Twitter, and a Facebook page and now a public blog…do I really *need* another site to keep saying the same things over and over and over?). Good luck with getting everything sorted out!

    1. Thanks! While deleting everything wasn’t how I would have preferred fixing it, it was the safest route for me. I still love the idea of using Pinterest as an inspiration board – I just have to be more careful about which photos I use.

  4. I read Roni’s post last night and plan to go through my blog to double check. I’m usually good about pictures, but I have a few celebrity pics I bet I’ll need to take down.

    I joined Pinterest a while back because everyone was doing it, but I never got around to pinning anything – now I’m really glad about that!

  5. After your comment and a photographer’s comment on my blog I decided to take the easy (and very painful) way out of Pinterest. I deleted my account. I just don’t have time to do Pinterest the right way. I hope your new system works out. It’s amazing what we need to know about copyright, just to play around with social media!

    1. It is amazing, and I’m kind of wondering why more sites aren’t getting sued? So many of the photos I deleted came from Tumblr, it seems like people should be more concious there too.

  6. Yikes. I need to go through my blog and on Pinterest. I don’t want to lose my boards, but I really don’t want to be sued, either. Thanks for your ideas. It’s a confusing/scary time right now for sure.

    1. I really dreaded hitting that delete button on Pinterest (especially for the Fie Eoin board!) but once I did it was nice to know I wasn’t stealing anyone’s work, and I wasn’t in danger of being sued anymore. It took no time at all to fill those boards originally – it won’t take much time to re-fill them with better photos 🙂

      I also found out the guy who made Pinterest had to delete his boards and start over too! So we are not alone 😉

  7. Roni’s post sent me into a tizzy of review. I have six blogs–about 3000 posts–and went through all of them. Luckily (because I’m so busy blogging and doing the day job thing), I haven’t had much time for Pinterest–though I get a lot of traffic from them.

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