Kindergarteners know that it isn’t okay to copy someone else’s work without permission (and even if we said okay, we’d probably still want credit for it). I know the teacher said it was a compliment that they liked our stuff enough to copy it, but it still didn’t seem fair. That’s because it wasn’t. It was your work. Not theirs.
As adults, copyright laws allow the fairness police to monitor and enforce our right to not be copied… That tricky little rule pretty much sums up what we all felt as kindergarteners.
Now, to Pinterest. Isn’t Pinterest a lot like copying on a grand scale? As a Pinterest-ee, it feels like I’m giving a compliment when I pin an item (and I am), but does that make it okay? It’s easy to feel justified because “pinning” (if done correctly) sends traffic back to the original source. However, take a look at it from the kindergarten kid’s perspective again. You just copied someone’s work without his permission…even if you gave credit to Johnny (for some reason, it’s always Johnny), it’s now attached to you as well. It’s part of your “board.” So, is it wonderful marketing for Johnny as it continues to get “repinned” or is it just incorporating his work in with yours, hanging on the fridge to show off?
I have a page of wonderful free knitting patterns, that showcases designs that I love. Only a couple are my own. For all the others, I contacted the designers and asked permission to use the picture and link back to them. Every person, not only said “yes,” but thanked me for asking. They loved having their work included and felt good about it because I asked.
For people who do a lot of pinning, it isn’t very realistic to contact every person or site whose work you’re snagging. And, you’re probably right that most people won’t care at all. But, from a legal perspective and from a kindergartener’s perspective, is it okay? I am by no means advocating boycotting Pinterest or suggesting that you don’t pin my stuff- please do; I’d love the traffic! I just believe that you should think about it first with sites where permission isn’t explicitly given. You know… Think before you pin.
And, that whole conversation doesn’t even address the fact that Pinterest can actually change those links too. Then where does that leave you? For more on that, read the linked article below.
Also, have you ever wondered how Pinterest makes money? Check it out here.
[Update]: If you haven’t seen this post by Christine Gilbert, take a look. It’s a great discussion of copyright issues on the Internet. Also, for more on Pinterest, check out this article by AmyLynn Andrews