To Pin Or Not To Pin?? I Choose Not …… for now. (updated*)

I know the vast majority of us do not take the time to read those long wordy Terms of Use agreements when we sign up for online websites, but Pinterest’s is one you really need to read.

Did you know that by creating Boards and filling them with pictures you have found around the internet you are basically saying you take responsibility and claim ownership to all those images?? So in short, you can be sued by the original owner of said artwork/image for sharing it without their permission. And believe me, Pinterest made sure their behinds are covered and will not be held responsible. After all, they are just providing a venue, they can’t control how we use it. From the TOU-

“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.”

Also, read this article posted at which explains how Pinterest rips away all the metadata from images so it can’t be traced back to the original owner and how they can can sell any image located on their website. The following is also copied from the Pinterest TOU:

“By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services. Cold Brew Labs does not claim any ownership rights in any such Member Content and nothing in these Terms will be deemed to restrict any rights that you may have to use and exploit any such Member Content.”

It all sounds like a copyright nightmare to me. A shame, because I loved the concept of the site. I chose to delete all pinned images from my account and replace them with a “No Pinterest” image and a warning that you can see here. Support your fellow artists and don’t Pin !!!!

******I have an update. A friend share a link with me that was very interesting reading. There may be hope after all. 🙂


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Roberta
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 15:01:22

    I agree. I just blogged about it today. I just think it is a waste of our precious artistic time. We can’t fall prey to every web site that threatens to eat into our creative time like that or we will never make anything. And making is the key. Not looking all day long.


  2. Marlene Brady
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 16:01:17

    You make a good point to a point. Anything on the internet is up for grabs. Pinterest is no different than any other social networking site (Flickr, Facebook, etc.). It is a way to get your work seen. I either watermark or sign my photos. It is no guarantee, but I’m being as diligent as I can be. Pinterest has tripled my blog traffic. I have bought wonderful products I’ve seen on Pinterest that I never would have found otherwise. I’ve been inspired by art I have found on Pinterest that has taken my work in new directions. I’ve made friends and contacts that have helped me. I have found polymer clay blogs that I never would have found on my own. The techniques I’ve learned have advanced my skill level. It has been a positive experience for mer. As far as the legalese, due diligence dictates that they cover all bases. Pinterest is like a big magazine for me…I look at what I want, when I want and then I go back to work on my art.


  3. Laurel
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 17:07:50

    Yeah, I agree too. It has always seemed a little hinky to me, getting to post whatever the heck you feel like posting, but on the other hand, I’ve found fabulous links in other’s boards.


  4. Tonja Lenderman
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 18:03:40

    I agree Marlene. Nothing is 100% safe on the internet. Wish it weren’t that way and like you say, we should all take precautions where we are able. There is some good news. I just read a great blog post that has some good news for Pinterest. The site owner actually cares what we, the users, want and need. Sounds like he is working hard to make Pinterest a safe place to use. I will still wait and see what these changes are before Jump back on the bandwagon, but I am hopeful. Here is a link to that blog post.


  5. Carolyn Good
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 18:59:05

    I believe you misinterpreted the “terms” of Pinterest and not sure where you got some of your info. Pinterest does not strip away any information and by posting on your “board” you are not claiming anything. It is basically a means of saving a link to a favorite item or article. The problem lies with some people who do not know how to “pin” properly and do not “pin” the actually link so you cannot find it when clicking on it. The other thing is to give credit and mention who it is when you do pin as a form of acknowledgment.

    Also, if someone does not want anything pinned from their site, there is an easy way of setting that up and someone tries to pin they will receive a message that says pinning is not allowed. I have come across this message at certain flickr and websites and respect that request. It is up to the individual who puts work on the internet to copyright it by watermarking their work and/or protecting it.

    I personally love to use Pinterest and it is a great way to save those recipe and other interesting links so you can easily find them again. It is a fun way to explore the internet and when my own work is “pinned” I have no problem with that as it is a great way to obtain more exposure on our work, etc.

    One happy “pinner”


  6. Tonja Lenderman
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 19:32:11

    Carolyn, if you read my post you can see exactly what their TOU says. I copied it right from their site. If someone gets in a real snit, they can raise hell if you shared their property without permission. And the code you can embed in your web pages and blogs is nice, but I guarantee there will be a lot of people who will have no idea how to use or implement that code if they are using those ready made web site and are html challenged. Also, you can’t use the code on sites you do not run yourself. I do like that Flickr has stepped up and added the code to the site so you can choose to activate it by checking a box in your Privacy Settings.

    I always did put the artists name with the picture, but not everyone seem to do that.

    And if you read the blog link I provided that was written by it tells how they tested their own images after they were posted to Pinterest to see if the metadata was left intact. It had been removed. It seems Twitter does the same thing with images that are posted. Not sure why they do it, but they do. Metadata is what tells the who, what, where, when of a picture. Without it the image has no past, no way to trace it back to it’s owner. This to me does not seem to be in the best interest of the pictures owner.

    So, while I love the concept of Pinterest, until they make a few changes (which I hear are in the works) I will not be indulging. But that’s just me. I am a firm believer of free will, so feel free to do whatever makes you feel good 🙂


  7. Gordon C Harrison
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 05:43:32


    Three things.

    1) Pinterest are stripping out the copyright metadata that’s embedded within the images pinned to their site. Pinterest are doing that without the permission of the copyright owner. I have tested this myself as have others – read this report for detail –

    If you are not sure what embedded metadata is do a Google search.

    2) Pinterest will know fine well that despite their terms advising people not to pin without permission, that people will pin without permission. To solve this issue Pinterest could provide a ‘Pin permission’ code then website owners can embed that on their website if they are happy for their work to be pinned. Why should everyone in the world who doesn’t their want to be pinned have to embed the Pinterest ‘block code’ throughout their website?

    It is not up to people to have to block copying of their work. The law does not work that way, the law requires people to get permission before copying. Either Pinterest don’t understand the law, or have decided not to enforce its requirements and put the onus on everyone else. If Pinterest would release a ‘Pin Permission’ code for website owners who want to be pinned that would get rid of some of the criticism.

    3) Pinterest claim the right to sell whatever is pinned on their website. Frankly this is astonishing. What right have they got to do that? It is clearly unacceptable.


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