I don't use Pinterest. I've had an account there for a while, but i've never actually pinned anything.
Since i first heard of it, i've been a little skeptical of the whole thing, as it seemed to me like just another place to post "inspirational pictures"* without giving credit or linking to the owner of the image, and it seems that my assumption about Pinterest was actually correct.
Only, their insane terms of service makes this issue a little more serious than if it was just about people sharing our pictures without asking, but i'll get to that in a sec.
First, i feel like i need to make my position about sharing stuff online in general clear from the beginning, and although my photos don't get reposted elsewhere as often as some people's, i'll use my own blog as an example.
I am not opposed to someone using a picture from my blog on their personal blog (not including tumblrs, as re-blogging is just too easy and information gets lost along the way), as long as they ask for permission, and link back to my blog. That'd be ok.
But the thing is, my images are all over the web and i didn't put them there, and in all my years of being a blogger, i can't recall ever being asked for permission to use a photo.
So since that obviously doesn't work, i guess this is how i feel: if you like my pictures, please enjoy them. Here, on my blog, where they live. It's not unlike being in a museum (a small crappy one, but at least the entrance is free!). You can look at the stuff there (and you can come here anytime, even in the middle of the night without even having to worry about waking me up) but you can't take it home. And if you wanna borrow, at least ask. Cause if you don't ask before borrowing something? Well, that's called "stealing" and it ain't nice.
Now, let's get to what's really wrong with Pinterest, which is their terms of service (meaning all the crazy shit you agree to without reading whenever you sign up for one of these accounts).
Mette from Ungt Blod posted this article from girlfriday on twitter, and i'd like to share some of that with you.
But it's a little long, and i can't post the whole thing here, so i suggest you just head over there and read the whole thing right away.
It's good, i promise!
"Pinterest has been around for a few years now, but has gathered considerably more steam and attention as of late. It’s a pretty fun concept. “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.” Hey, cool. With all the nifty things I find on the web, and with all of my ideas and future plans/haircuts/meals/renovations depending on it, I could use some organizing help. There’s even some pin etiquette to help get you started. Interestingly, they’re saying to avoid self-promotion. Really? Ok then. Moving on… wait. What’s this in the Terms?
“You acknowledge and agree that you are solely responsible for all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services. Accordingly, you represent and warrant that: (i) you either are the sole and exclusive owner of all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services or you have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms; and (ii) neither the Member Content nor your posting, uploading, publication, submission or transmittal of the Member Content or Cold Brew Labs’ use of the Member Content (or any portion thereof) on, through or by means of the Site, Application and the Services will infringe, misappropriate or violate a third party’s patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, moral rights or other proprietary or intellectual property rights, or rights of publicity or privacy, or result in the violation of any applicable law or regulation.”
*Holds up hand* Soooo…. how can I post anything if I shouldn’t self-promote but those are the only images I actually own? How can I pin to my boards if I don’t have the rights to use the images I find on the interwebs? *Waves hand around* Is this even a sustainable business model?
It’s great that Pinterest encourages their users to credit the source (if you spend any time on Pinterest, you’ll see that a lot of images are credited to other pins, or Tumblr, or whatever other site they were copied from, instead of actually leading anywhere that would be productive to the actual creator of the image). Not to mention, Link With Love is doing an admirable job of raising awareness in this regard. And many Pinterest users are conscientious, caring people who are crediting, attributing, linking wherever they can. But there’s one thing everyone mentioned here has forgotten about:
Most, if not all, of the images you’re posting do not belong to you. You need to ask permission.I probably should put my hand down now – my fingers are getting numb, and I don’t think anybody’s going to be able to answer my question, at least not for now. If everybody on Pinterest actually took the time to ask permission to use the images they’re pinning, would anybody still be on there? And if you really think about it, shouldn’t this already apply to all blogs, tumblrs, facebook pages, etc? I realize this is a much bigger issue that stretches far beyond the scope of this (already very long – and it keeps getting longer) post, but it’s something we should all consider on our daily internet wanderings..."
Read it all here. Really, go read it and then come back.
Are you back? Ok then. To break it down: you shouldn't post your own pictures, cause that's self promoting, and that's bad (apparently).
So you have to post other people's pictures, but you also have to agree being the owner of those pictures and having the right to post them, which you're not and you don't.
So let's say you take one of my pictures from my blog (without asking).
By posting it you are agreeing to being the owner of this picture (which again, you are not), and Pinterest then has the right to sell and otherwise exploit my picture (what? that can't be right? uhm, yeah, if you post my picture on there, they now have the right to sell it!), and if i should decide to get angry and sue you and Pinterest for using my photo (which i won't, but you don't know that), you not only have to pay your own legal fees, but those of Pinterest's as well. Seem fair?
Oh, and unlike that other site where people blog and re-blog other people's pictures like they own them, these guys won't help you if you'd like your picture removed from their site.
With tumblr (we all knew that's who i meant, right?) you just write them an email with a link to where you first posted the picture so they can see it's yours, and usually within an hour or so, they'll have politely answered your mail and taken down the original tumblr post, as well as all the re-posts.
But, according to Young, who looked into it, Pinterest requires you to send them a letter if you want your image (again, your image that you own) taken down. A letter!
You may think i'm overreacting to this, and that having your pictures posted by strangers all over the web ain't so bad. But if i don't want my pictures posted elsewhere, it should be my right to say so.
And nobody should have the right to sell and exploit my work when i'm not even the person who's agreed to those crazy ass terms in the first place.
Seeing pictures of my tattoos** (cause it's usually my tattoos) posted somewhere without credit to either me or the artist pisses me off, and seeing pictures of my friends nieces and nephews posted on tumblr as cute inspirational pictures makes me downright furious. Cause yeah, that happens too, and that's a whole other level of getting punished for being the kind of blogger who shares their personal life with the world. Something we shouldn't be getting punished for at all, if you ask me.
I've said this before (back then it was regarding comment etiquette), but if we all have to live a big part of our lives online, as we now do, we also need to behave civilized online and don't do shit we wouldn't do in real life.
Like, you know, steal shit.
Alright, that concludes the angry rant portion of this weeks posts, i'll be back to posting nice, happy pictures tomorrow!
*Isn't it kind of amazing that as soon as you call it that, it's everyone's property? Like all of a sudden nobody even took the damn picture, the internet just made it for you so you can be inspired!
**I spent a good hour a few days ago, commenting on as many pictures of my husband's or Eckel's tattoos as i could find (most of them were without credit to the artist, of course), asking people to remove them. Cause apparently, asking some random person who posted it to take down YOUR picture, is the only option we have at the moment.