Ok, so there’s a huge debate about Pinterest right now in ALL of the circles I run in. Quilts, Comic Books, Crafters, etc. Everyone is fretting about Pinterest. So, why would I, an artist, decide to join and keep Pinterest open for myself? Here’s my reasoning:
#1. And by all means the NUMBER ONE reason is that the moment you put your image out on the internet, even if Pinterest did not exist… the very minute you post it, it can be taken by someone else for nefarious means. They will download and save it to their computers. They will remove your watermarks. They will copy your pattern, redraw your image, whatever. They may even sell something with your image on it. You may never catch them if they do this, or you may get lucky to find it and spend a fortune fighting it.
If you do not want this to EVER happen to you, NEVER PUT YOUR IMAGE ON THE INTERNET. Ever. Period. End of story.
#2. If your work is ever shown in a public or even a private setting, someone could/will take a picture of it. Even if it says “no photos allowed”. They will do it. And the moment that happens, it can/will be posted on the internet. Then see #1.
#3. If you are an artist trying to make money in some form or fashion by having a website or participating in some public place where your art will be shown, I don’t see how you can avoid #1 or #2. Your work will exist in a bubble never seen by anyone, and that is not realistic.
You Cannot Stop The Internet
When Flickr was new, people were concerned about other people stealing their Flickr images for nefarious purposes. Yes, on my Flickr account I have my works marked so they are copyrighted by me. Guess what? Doesn’t matter, I can still click on them in some form and save them to my computer… Boom
!…now out of my control. I can print the page to a file…Boom
!…copy on my computer, bypassing clicking methods to prevent copying. I can Pin it… Boom
!…out there. Someone took a picture of my quilt at a show, uploaded picture to Flickr…Boom
!…it’s out there. Same with images on my blog. Same with images on my website. Same with images I submitted to be part of a show I got rejected by that are now part of an online advertisement. (true story)
People copying your images has been happening for years without your knowledge, so Pinterest is not really the enemy here. Google your name, your blog, or any other identifying feature and click “Images” and see that Google has thumbnails of your work, even if you have removed them from your blog or site.
See what I am saying? If you shared it online, it’s going to get shared further….I can’t stop it. I’M NOT SAYING THIS IS RIGHT OR LEGAL, or that you (my reader) should revoke your personal copyright rights this moment because of this. But it can and will happen, and is happening every day. I can get mad when I find it unattributed to me, but again, what can you really do? I do not have an army of lawyers or unlimited resources. I ask politely and see where it takes me. So far, almost all of that has resolved to my satisfaction.
Embracing Pinterest Responsibly
I pin responsibly by pinning from the original source, and I try to give credit where I can. That’s being a responsible Pinner.
I comment on pins that have my work in them. I thank them for pinning my work, and know that if they come back to my Pinterest Profile, they will be able to see more about me and be able to get to my website. I can’t stop the pins without lots of work on my part, but I can comment on the ones that aren’t directly from my site or blog to be able to somehow get back to me.