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.