I've written about copyright in the past, but I have had a few people contact me about Pinterest.
I recently asked Pinterest to remove over 400 pins from a board where the user was pinning entire sections of my blog including many full tutorials. The user has done this in the past, and each time I've asked Pinterest to remove the images. The behavior continued, so I finally took the time to go through every pin to have all of my work removed from those boards.
The only way to tell if it's a re-pin or an original pin is by opening each one and backtracking through the links. With over 400 to do, I went for the easy way.
I do understand that Pinterest is a means for people to both save links to tutorials and to discover artists' work in the first place. However, please understand that when large sections of my work and tutorials are pinned, it essentially equates to my work being reproduced in its entirety on another website. In fact, each pin creates a new but exact duplicate of a copyrighted work using Pinterest's numbering/naming system. From there, the images can be republished onto other websites without links back to the original source, which is harder to track. If my work is published in its entirety elsewhere, then people have no reason to visit my blog.
Pinterest also puts the responsibility solely on the user as to whether they have the right to use the images they choose to pin. A copyright holder can ask Pinterest to levy "strikes" against a user for violating copyright. I don't know the full policy for Pinterest, but I do know Facebook will block repeat offenders. Just because Pinterest exists doesn't mean users are exempt from copyright law or in any way protected by Pinterest if they get into legal trouble.
I don't mind a photo or two pinned, but this large scale copying was out of hand. I understand that many people who pin responsibly might be caught in these sweeps. It's not a commentary on those users, and I'm sorry if it causes confusion, offense or hurt feelings. That is not my intention. As they say, it takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch. :\
There is no easy answer, so I try to strike a balance between being flattered at one or two images pinned and fighting copyright infringement where entire sections are posted to Pinterest, Facebook or other websites.
Additionally, if you've had a Pinterest pin or other image removed at my request that was a single pin as noted above, it is typically due to that image being hot-linked on multiple other websites and the only way to resolve the issue is to remove the source image.
I love to create and share ideas on my blog, but I do think the rights of artists should be protected and respected. It bothers me when I find my friends' works unattributed or copied in whole as well. It's a fine balance between publicity and infringement. I am doing the best I can.
I used to quite like browsing Pinterest for miniatures before they initiated the whole sign-in process even just to look. I hope you find some resolution as a result of your efforts, but as we say here, ‘You can lien the canoe, but they may still paddle away’.
I received an email saying my pin had been removed as a result of complaints. I’m not the original pinner but I do have to admit receiving the email was jarring nonetheless.
If I am entirely honest, I do think that the upsides of Pinterest would likely benefit you more than the downsides. It’s how I found your blog. Basically, I think it would be q shame for you to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I say this as an artist myself who has repeatedly found my work unattributed so I do understand where you are coming from.
hello otterine i am a fan of your work and also use pinterest as a storage and reminder of things i like and often tutorials .is this infringing copyright? i certainly didnt mean to offend ,when i go through stuff i have pinned for myself a picture reminds me that i wanted to keep that , just a shame it cannot be seen as a compliment to your work .
I am so sorry that you had to go through all that. I know how time consuming it must have been. I had 4 of your pictures removed from my board. I completely understand why you are frustrated as I know several artists that have the same issues.
I appreciate you discussing why you did it so pinterest removing them makes sense.
Thank you for explaining.
I had pinned the the owl 100820_owl16s.jpg and that one is removed.
I will respect your wish and will not repin it again.
I’m glad you asked Pinterest to pull the pins. Since I had some of them, I got one of the emails this morning telling me what happened. It had your blog address in it. So, here I am looking at your wonderful blog.
I’m looking for a subscribe button.
I just received a message from Pinterest telling me they are removing a pin of yours from my pins. Then I read your message. I just wanted you to know I undestand your position completely. It upset me at first because I felt I was being accused of stealing ideas but I would never do that. So I wanted to let you know that you are justified in protecting your work and most pinners would feel the same way. Your work is beautiful and worth protecting. Art belongs to its creator. Good luck.
Thank you for the support. I do try to see both sides, which is why I am not the type to remove all pins from Pinterest. It is indeed flattering to have a photo pinned to Pinterest. It is upsetting, however, to find entire sections of my blog and full tutorials republished on Pinterest. A single reminder pin is different from pinning 20+ photos from a single blog post or posting a whole tutorial.
I also understand that single image, responsibly done pins are being removed when I file complaints against users who copy large sections of my blog. There really is no way to prevent that, so it’s an unfortunate side effect. As you can see, bad behavior on the part of some people ruins the experience not only for me but for others who use Pinterest.
Looks like a lot of us got that message from Pinterest. It only involved one pin for me and I totally understand your predicament.
I also received emails that pins had been removed, and really appreciate you explaining why you took action to protect your work. It’s really weird that someone would pin in a way that essentially duplicates what is on your blog, instead of a single pin that links to it. I have a lot of links saved on Pinterest for miniature tutorials and find the site a useful organizing tool. It is a shame that it is being misused in a way that hurts the artisans.
I will try this again since I was thrown off this blog twice. I was one who had a dozen Pinterest pins removed from my Pinterest account. Amazing, since I haven’t been on Pinterest in weeks.
It said it was not me personally but through a third party, so if I like something and I pin it, I am not always pinning just that thing. If it is attached to something else, it gets pinned, too. I don’t understand it but know that since I follow this blog on a regular basis, I don’t need to download anything.
Honestly, I don’t know why everything has to be so technically complicated. And even tho’ I didn’t personally do this, I apologize, Brae. I’m mortified and embarrassed, too.
Please don’t be embarrassed, Pat. It was not you that caused any problem, I can assure you.
I’m glad you’re able to take some kind of action through Pinterest, and I think it’s great that you explained it here so people understand your feelings about it. Pinterest doesn’t really take any accountability for anything, so at least they do allow massive pin removal when needed.
I’m sorry someone upset you Brae. I forget how I found you, it might have been Pinterest or another Miniaturist’s site. I guess I know where to find you so I never pinned anything from your site.
It really is a shame that their are people that abuse Pinterest. It is a wonderful place to find worlds you did not know existed. That is how I found your site. As a crafter and artist, I understand your dilemma in trying to protect your copyright versus sharing your art with the world. Best of luck to you in this. I have your site bookmarked to visit.
I am writing to say that I too received emails about pins that had been removed due to a third party violating copyright laws. I actually had a dozen or so of your pins on my mini’s board. I had no idea about copyright infringement. In my ignorance I assumed (and we all know what happens when you assume) that everything on Pinterest is good to go. So, I apologize for my ignorance and the situation you were put in. I did not mean to steal anything from you and I’m sorry that I contributed to the issue at hand.
With that being said, I’m a huge fan! I love your work and attention to detail.
Wow. The repeated copyright issues you’ve had over your work are just really upsetting - artists deserve the credit and power over their work, and it’s mind-blowing that this has happened to you so many times over the years I’ve been following your blog.
I, too, received an email that a pin had been removed, and I didn’t check here but I figured that was the case. I’m really glad Pinterest responded to your requests and handled the matter for you! Here’s hoping this won’t continue, and any future problems are so easily resolved.
And just one more thing. I have often see people pin things that I know are yours. I write to them and tell them that they are yours. I’ve done this dozens of times. So I will continue to do this.
I don’t know how to prevent third-parties from doing this. I will try to be more vigilant. Seems there should be a posting from Yahoo/Pinterest on things that have been pinned to one’s account.
Thanks for understanding.
Brae, thank you for your post. While I am very careful with copyright on my blog I hadn’t really given must thought to copyright when using Pinterest. I often pin some photos as an inspiration board for a project and then delete the board after I have finished a project. I have never really given thought about how the pictures had got on Pinterest in the first place. For some of my project boards I could make it so only I can view them. I don’t think I had any of yours because I am always visiting your wonderful blog. However, I will be more mindful in future when using Pinterest.
I am really sorry this has happened to you Brae. I really try to take care to attribute pics of tutorials are linked from my boards, but if there is something going in like what you describe, you are fully right to do what you did ! And rest assured - you are not done with me yet
Brae, thank you for the very good explanation of what has been happening. I, too, got 4 of those e-mails and pins removed–and was so mortified that I didn’t even notice until the last one that it had a link which pin was removed. Then felt worse that it was one of yours. I know it was innocent on my part, but I felt bad–and then felt bad for you having to go through this. Hopefully Pinterest can keep an eye on this particular pinner and keep them from doing further harm!
In the miniature world, you are one of the brightest shining stars, IMHO, and I’ve learned so much from you–detail, thinking ahead, if it’s not right then make it what is right, and above all–enjoy the process! Thank you for all your inspiration. (((((HUGS)))))
I fully understand how you feel. I put my own miniatures on a few boards on Pinterest and don’t mind someone pinning an occasional pin. BUT when they “go to town” so to speak, it really upsets me. After all, it’s MY collection. Why not just follow my boards! I will block someone who does that.
If, by any chance, I’ve pinned from your boards…it’s been by accident. I have a board of miniatures I like that are NOT mine. I get those pins from other boards I follow. I haven’t had any miniature pins removed so I guess I’m not a culprit! LOL
I’m sorry this happened to you.
Maureen Fukushima in Aiea, Hawaii
I too received an email from Pinterest that some pins (5) were removed due to a third party pinner, not me personally. I completely understand your position and had no idea that someone had infringed on your copyrights.
As well, I felt terrible that someone went and stripped your blog for personal gain…. That being more pins to their boards.
I don’t understand why people feel it’s their right to take what’s not theirs.
Again I’m very sorry.
I am not a Pinterest user, but I have heard over time that they do little to nothing, about educating users on how to use their service responsibly–a basic primer on copyright and fair use for people signing in would do a lot of good to the whole community.
But then, it would also mean that Pinterest would have to take at least some responsibility for misuse/abuse, which they probable would prefer to defer to users entirely.
I am so very sorry this has happened again, Brae. I have always been so grateful to bloggers like you, who so generously share their art and their talent, and I have to know you are upset over people with a feeling of entitlement, and little self-awareness.
People can post pictures of your work anywhere. However I will always recognize them as your style and work . So I will know it’s yours. I guess many others will do so too. But I understand you being irritated about it. It’s a good thing you watermarked all your pictures by now.
I don’t know why people can’t just bookmark a specific tutorial on your blog for later. That’s what I do. I end up right back here, no hassles, no distractions from eleventy-billion other “pins” being recommended to me… So simple and it doesn’t infringe on your copyrights.
I think i’m going to have to take a spin through Pintrist and make sure none of my work’s been pinned. Will have to figure out how to watermark picture too. *sigh*
I fully understand how Pinterest leads to recirculation of pins! I can’t even begin to count how many times Pinterest shows me pins that I might be interested in and these pins are pins that I myself first pinned weeks or months prior, and the pins have been repinned so many times that even Pinterest was unable to tell that I was the one who first pinned them! I understand your point of view, Brae but I have a question about sites like ebay and liveauction. If photos of an item are widely viewed on auction sites and the item is for sale, as long as the seller is not selling original work that they created, do you feel there is harm in pinning a photo of an item from an auction sale?
I was wondering if there isn’t some way to have your site changed so items can’t be pinned. Some code perhaps. I have noticed on some sites images cannot be pinned. Pinterest is so interesting and works well as long as the parties agree to the pinning. I’m sorry you are having problems and having to do all that work. I hope it can be resolved for you somehow.
Mini Hugs, Jean
Thanks for all the emails and questions. It’s not the single pinners that are at issue, at least not with me. There is code I can use to stop pins from my website, but that’s just one finger in the dam, so to speak. I get that once it’s on the internet, the control is an illusion. But, I will continue to ask that my work be removed from sites where I did not give permission and I will weed out any excessive pins on Pinterest.
Sandra - I’m not sure I understand the question, but I will say that any time a photo is not yours and you pin it to Pinterest, there is a possibility of copyright infringement. Pinterest asks the user if they have the right to pin the images they pin, so they wash their hands of it.
I personally haven’t use Pinterest at all other than the one board HBS set up for the farm build. I just think it’s too much of a mess.
Also, watermarks only get you so far. I’ve had people put their logo over my watermark. I’ve had people crop it out and reuse. So, unless I put it smack in the middle, which is ridiculous, there’s always a way around it.
Sandra, I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one anywhere, but if you take a picture of an object you own, in order to advertise that object for sale, then a) the copyright for that pictures is yours, and b) as the object is also yours to sell, you are not infringing on anyone else’s rights,
Such usage of an image, and more to the point, an image for which you own all rights, has nothing whatsoever to do with taking images from someone else’s blog–in this case, Brae’s–and posting them everywhere, without attribution or permission.
The question compares apples to rocks, from where I sit.
Now, if you are talking about, say, taking pictures of a book cover (as one does to re-sell a used book in amazon, or ebay), then you would not be claiming copyright for the book’s cover image or cover design, only for *your* picture of the cover. Further, what you would be selling is a physical copy that you own, not the cover image (or even your picture of said cover).
Again different from using, say an image of one of Brae’s creations to sell something else, or–which I hope hasn’t happened!–to pretend to sell something made by Brae.
If the above doesn’t make sense, there are plenty of online resources to educate oneself on copyright law and fair use (wikipedia has its weaknesses, but it’s a start; then there’s the Digital Media Law website, which covers all manner of intellectual property topics; Duke University also has extensive online resources on the topic).
Sorry you had all this trouble and extra work to do, Brae. It must be so maddening to have people take your work and not give you the credit that is due. With something like Pinterest, things like this have to be expected as not everybody is honest, unfortunately!
No worries Brae, they are your pictures and if you want them removed that’s up to you. I have a link to your Blog on My Favourite Miniature Blogs Board if this is not ok with you I am perfectly happy to remove it.
Thanks, Janice! I don’t mind links or single pins.
hi Brae, I’m so sorry you’ve been dealing with this more than once.. And I so get your point of view and appreciate your very articulate and balanced explanation about this. You are more than reasonable. I had a notification too and had never realized silly enought, while I’m very aware of your copyright-notion on your blog. I know from your article you don’t mind single pins, but you are in your right to do so, after all even one photo is part of your content. Like some others have mentioned, I’m very aware of not using your photo’s, but indeed Pinterest let’s me forget about that or something. And eventhough you don’t mind single pins, I do want to respect your very rightful question for respecting copyright, so it just doesn’t feel right to even pin one of your photo’s, just as a matter of consequence and respect to your request and you. You’re amazing!
I just got a notice that something I’d pinned from your site was being deleted to so I came here to check it out. What a pain for you! I completely understand your position, and will simply be bookmarking your blog rather than pinning. You do great stuff here!! Thanks for all your hard work.
I too am in the same place as everyone else receiving the daunting emails from Pinterest, but was much relieved to know that I was not the offender. I love your work and had pinned your work as a reminder to myself to work on the craft I love and an incentive to push myself more outside of the box. It is indeed a complicated world of pins and I find myself pinning so many miniature ideas that I can only look and wish for more time and money. I will also be bookmarking your blog so I can enjoy your work directly from the source!!
I do understand your problem. But must also say that if it hadnt been for Pinterest, I would never had seen the work you’ve done.
I use pinterest for a lot of inspiration and make it a way to link to diffrent webpages from where i can go and get inspirred in doing my own stuff.
I also know that when i leave this pace now, ill probably never stumble over it again since I’ve stopped searching google for that kind of inspiration. I use pinterest for that.
But keep up the good work, and I’ll probably stumble over your work on pinterest one day again.
Thanks for explaining. I got the same email saying a pin had been removed and I FREAKED OUT! I thought I was going to be barred from ever pinning anything from Pinterest again! I have made an effort to always try and pin the original blog page by linking back to the owner of the article. It nearly always ends in my subscribing to the blogger/artist page. I’m sorry for your frustration and anger over this issue and hope that you will continue with your blog. It is truly an inspiration for us not so talented mini builders.
I had a couple of pins removed and honestly wasn’t bothered by it. The way Pinterest explained it in the email was that the complaint wasn’t directed specifically at me but more of a general clean up (as you explained in your original post).
I use pins as visual bookmarks so I can go back to the original source and reread (recipe, tutorial, what have you) and after the clean up it did take me a few months to find your blog again. I have noticed that now your images have the Pinterest “save” button on them so I feel a bit more comfortable pinning the occasional picture from your blog.
You truly are an inspiration. Thank you for your detailed posts and fabulous photography.
Yes, I generally remove pins in clean up if they don’t direct back to me or if they are done in excess, which is pretty rare. But, I haven’t added Pinterest buttons to my site, so that might be something in your browser or something Pinterest does if you pull up images that are already on there. I still pinning one or two images is the best practice if you’re going to pin.
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