pinning matters


I recently started to feel uncomfortable about the whole image sharing thing that goes on between us all. Up to now, I'd kind of ignored it... we've all heard the appalling stories of how disreputable bloggers steal images and indeed whole creative identities, but well... that's the sort of thing that happens to other people, right?

Well... yes in that it hasn't happened to me yet, but a big 'no' in that we're all in this together, and that's why it's so enjoyable and rich and wonderful, and that's why it's not ok.

I came across this post recently and was inspired to learn more. I realised I knew next to nothing about creative commons or copyright issues or proper Pinterest etiquette, and more importantly, that my ignorance was adding to the problem. I love Pinterest, and really enjoy adding lovely images to my inspiration boards: beautiful homes, gardens, art, and tutorials for making pretty things that I might get round to one day. But I'm lazy about my pinning, and often don't make sure that the image links to its creator, or gives any information at all. This might be ok if it was just for my own personal use, but Pinterest is a social networking site, and when somebody else finds my pin, they have no idea where it came from or who owns it - none at all. That's not right.

So I decided to go through ALL my pins on Pinterest and check that they linked to the correct source. Lots didn't. If I couldn't find the source and add the right link, I deleted the pin. This meant lots of deletions, which made me sad, but it would make me a lot sadder to know that I was contributing to someone else's work being mis-attributed or stolen. I want to feel that the trail I leave on the web is as clean, transparent and responsible as the trail I leave anywhere else on this earth.

I would encourage you to do the same and to take steps to be a responsible pinner and sharer of images. I've found that Tumblr is one of the worst offenders for not providing links to sources. If you pin from a Tumblr blog, it's very likely that you won't pick up the right source html unless you're very careful to follow any link that's given and chase it up for yourself. That's what I've done for several of my pins, but it's not always possible, and I must admit that the thought of my own work getting lost and unattributed in this way makes me pretty anxious.

If you're feeling as muddled as I was, take a look at this post as well as the one I mentioned at the top, and there's tons of stuff on the Link with Love site. It is quite a lot to take in, but it really matters, so please sit down with a cup of tea and take the time to understand it all and form your own point of view.

You can find my Pinterest boards here if you're interested.


Jennifer Tetlow said...

Great post - thanks for all links to places to find out more. I think it is important too and I'm going to learn how to be squeeky clean!

Toffeeapple said...

I signed up to Pinterest but I still have no idea what it is for or how to pin something. If I ever do find out, I shall bar your warning in mind.

Toffeeapple said...

Bear, not bar! Humph.

knitsofacto said...

I couldn't agree more.

I am a big fan of creative commons and I did have all my Flickr pictures and my blog content cc licensed, but sadly I had to revoke that due to the degree to which my trust was being abused. All I asked was that people credited my work and did not use it commercially, but a particular image of mine was popping up all over the place uncredited and had actually been put into print by someone.

Equally worrying though is what's happened with an image I posted on my blog in a review of an interiors book. I posted photographs I'd taken of sample pages from the book, all properly credited and appropriate to a review, and one of those images, that includes a crochet throw draped over a metal bedstead, has been pinned and repinned over and over, mostly linking back to my blog somewhere down the line of repins but without the proper credits for the author of the book. I am forever getting emails asking for the pattern for the throw and yet the book has nothing to do with crochet, which just shows how little attention people pay to the source of a pin. It's scary.

Gigibird said...

I usually try to pin from source - if I see something uber cute I click on the picture to try and find the original source then pin it.
BUt I guess I don't want to pass other people's work off as my own but I feel sadly that anything we share is open to being copied.
Not that I am condoning this of course.
I thinks sadly the pure of heart are a minority.

Karen L R said...

I have linked from my blog to your post here. Loved your words.

Unknown said...

If you use Live Writer to create your posts it will automatically add a creative commons license to your posts.

ginny said...

Hi Sue,
I agree.
When i started using pinterest i wouldn't pin anything that didn't have a proper source link. i fear i too have become a little lazy and shall return and ensure they are all up to date good links.
thank you for the links in this post, off to check out your boards now.
best wishes
Ginny x

Acornmoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
alice c said...

Thank you for this post. I don't use pinterest myself but I know that it is a source of inspiration to many people. My worry is that increasingly the boundaries defining ownership of images and ideas are breaking down as a result of image sharing sites like pinterest. I love to welcome visitors to my blog but I was surprised to realise how many of my images are now curated on pinterest.

greenrabbitdesigns said...

Thank you for this Sue. I naively though the idea of Pinterest was to link to the original source of the photo. I'm going to have to go and check everything!
I have had a Vietnamese blogger use photos of one of my bags on her blog. She then proceeded to explain how to make it giving the impression it was her pattern which was amazing as I hadn't explained how I had made it.
I did leave her a comment and she did put a link in but insinuated that she didn't think that it was an original pattern!
Vivienne x

Frances said...

Sue, I read your post before going to work this morning, but really did not have time to visit the links or think about all the issues you introduced me to.

Tonight, after some visiting those linked sites, and thinking a little bit with my tired brain, I just want to thank you for bringing this big issue to my attention. I guess it is a variation on the intellectual property topic, and shows us true blue folks once again that not everyone is all that ethical or honest.

I've never even looked at Pinterest, and now am not sure I would want to do so.

Thank you, Sue! xo

Pam said...

I use the pin marklet and assumed that taking a viewer to the place I found the image was enough. Now I'm not so sure. Need to take another look I think!
P x

sue said...

I think I shall go through my pins too (a long job I fear) hopefully most will be ok as I try to check as I go because it annoys the hell out of me when there's no link back!

Sue said...

Fantastically useful post Sue. You have prompted me to give up Pinterest! And to write a post about it.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I find all this need for 'ownership' and recognition a bit pathetic. You put stuff out there for showing off purposes, you get your reward by being told how talented you are (even if people are not) and it serves as a marketing tool. Sometimes it goes a bit wrong but well, that's tough. The pluses are huge but all anyone cares about is their ego and money.

Sharing is good, clever and nice. The people who are truly awarded and happy do this. People then WANT to pay and see them happy and they do. Petty people moaning and sniping that their crummy work has been 'stolen' should set their minds on higher things. There really is no such thing as originality. Just original to us. No one knows if something has been done before. Not even if it is in a book. Just because something is published, doesn't mean someone else hasn't already done it. It is literally impossible to check all the millions of books already out there and all the crafters own private projects. The concept of ownership of ideas is really a ludicrous one to my mind.

I really wouldn't dream of passing stuff off as my own but anyone knowing their own worth doesn't need to worry about this. Just leave people to get on with what they do and worry about what you are doing. It all comes out in the wash. I can't stand all this pedantic mealy mouthed stuff.

I am only uncomfortable about using personal images - children, babies especially. But even so, don't share them if you are worried about it (I would be myself).

No matter what you do to the title of your pin, it goes back to the source of the original pin. If that is wrong, that is not down to us if we re-pinned. Perhaps we should make sure when we are pinning ourselves but that is all I am prepared to do. In anycase what is the point of something incorrectly labelled if you want to go and find it at some point?

Whinging and whining and moaning is small minded and reminds me of the little girl putting her arm around her work at school so it couldn't be copied. Me, I didn't care. Copy away. I know what I did or didn't do and that is good enough for me.

If you are selling on line, then there are risks but there are also huge pluses with something like pinterest.

Sue said...

Hello Pam,

I don't think that anyone on any of the posts I've linked to is sniping, whinging or moaning. I think people are engaging in some overdue and well-informed debate that affects how we behave in a responsible way. It's not all about ownership or recognition, it's about copyright law, intellectual property and being a good neighbour, amongst other things. I'm glad to be part of a community of people who care about these things and can debate subjects like this with integrity and intelligence.

Best wishes,


Julia said...

These issues were brought to my attention earlier in the week, after reading an article online. Sometime soon I'm going to go through my 'pins' and make sure they are linking back to the copyright owner. I'd assumed that because the images do link back that it was a good way to send traffic to the artists/writers involved but now realize I've been naive and also lazy with my pinning habits.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sue, I wholeheartedly agree with your post and your reply to Pam. I actually don't understand why anyone would object to giving the source of an image or text. Yes, it's about sharing, and sharing includes sharing the name of the person who made it, surely?

I love the new blanket you're working on, by the way.

Helen (gallimaufry) (blogger hates me at the moment)

Thomasina Tittlemouse said...

I read this with a great deal of interest. I don't have a Pinterest a/c but have had a foray or two on the website. I found it quite a disconcertingly detached environment which possibly makes the kind of thing you are writing about easier to get away with. Wonderful though sharing stuff is, sadly there will always be those who don't scruple to plagiarise. In view of your sapient comments I shall not be repairing the omission of not having a Pinterest a/c myself at the moment!
I only discovered your blog today - I like it very much especially the post about "Not matter the long pause." and your lovely sea and shore coloured crochet blanket. Have a good weekend! Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

Most pictures on the internet are used without permission and without criminal intent. Especially if one blogs and/or wants to share a pic they find inspirational or beautiful,easy enough to credit it IF the name of the artist or photographer is specified,but what if it isn't?
I think if a person doesn't profit in any way from it,is just like saving magazine pics.

We are bombarded with images especially on line, most people will have forgotten the picture and the blog unless the artist is already famous.

Anonymous said...

I want to add that I only had copyright trouble with one rubber stamp company,in my 23 years career in crafts .
Some companies have no scruples see:

But I do agree with Pam Anonymous, the benefits on posting pics of your work outweigh the risks.


LeeAnn at Mrs Black's said...

I'm so glad you came back and posted again, just found your blog and really enjoy it. And I'm going to try to add the sources, the real ones, not those who first pinned it, to all my pins. thank you!