The other day a friend of mine posted a link to an article where a Pinterest user had come to some point where she felt uncomfortable with using the service and violating copyrights. The writer was a not only a photographer, but a lawyer. After reading the article, my friend (who has been an artist for years) now had a sour taste for Pinterest and was planning on leaving the service too. Her and I exchange some thoughts back and forth and whether I convinced her otherwise is yet to be seen.
Then I recalled another article earlier in the week where a Catholic blogger had his own photo “scraped” from the internet and in marketing material by a Church group without his consent. Content, such as images and writings, and who has the rights to it can be very confusing. Yup, it’s easy to right-click and download that image . . . BUT you do not have a right to use it in anything online without express consent of the owner. It’s very important that you always ask permission of the owner prior t use or find royalty-free clipart if you have a need for a lot of images.
Here comes Pinterest, and the idea of “pinning” and whether “pinning” violates copyrights. So is it a “sin to pin”? My answer is, “No”. The difference is that “pinning” is nothing other than “sharing” online. I am not claiming credit for the work and the service pinks back to where one can find the original which gives promotion to them. For example, I have a Pinterest Board of Catholic Churches in which I “pinned” images of various Churches. If you click on an image and look down to the right you’ll see a link to where the original image is from. Click here to view my pin of the Cathedral of St. Helena as an example.
So what’s the benefit of “pinning”? From a “new media” standpoint, Pinterest is an extremely powerful service for exposure. As my Pastor said to me the other day, “A picture is truly worth a thousand words.” and I couldn’t agree more. This is a great and easy way to share images you come across while browsing the internet while also sharing the source website as well in a very organized way. For example, I might share a photo link (because I would NOT download it and repost it as my own) on Facebook that goes into my stream. A few people “like” it and then it’s all but forgotten about. In Pinterest I can create a themed Board with images I want to share with others (i.e. check out my Catholic Cupcake Board (@LisaH, you knew I had to throw that in!)). For artists, others pinning your work you’ve posted online is a great way to get exposure you might not of otherwise gotten. Some artists do not see it that way and it’s important to be respectful and remove any “pin” that an owner disapproves of.
The bottom line . . . it’s not a sin to pin, and “pinning” has real benefits online. Besides the benefits of exposure it’s a lot of fun! I do warn any one venturing in for the first time . . . pinning is also somewhat addictive. Pace yourself. Be respectful and have fun pinning away!