Great post on Kirsten Kowalski’s blog:
“Last week another photographer posted a question on Facebook asking if it was okay to pin your own work on Pinterest. I was surprised to see that many of the photographers who commented back admonished those who pin their own work and even cited Pinterest’s suggested rules of etiquette, which apparently discourage self-promotion. That same day, I participated in a thread on Facebook in which some other photographers were complaining about people posting their work on Facebook pages without the photographers’ permission. They were complaining that their copyrights had been violated and one photographer indicated that she was suing the infringer. Well, this got me thinking. What is the difference between posting another person’s photographs on your Pinterest page and posting another person’s photographs on your Facebook page? If the latter is so clearly a violation of copyright why isn’t the former? Being both a photographer who loves Pinterest (and admittedly had some really great “inspiration” boards full of gorgeous work from other photographers) and a lawyer who, well, is a lawyer, I decided to do some research and figure this out. And what I discovered concerned me. From a legal perspective, my concern was for my own potential liability. From an artist’s perspective, my concern was that I was arguably engaging in activity that is morally, ethically and professionally wrong.
“Liability? Morals? Ethics? Wrong? HUH???” you may be asking? “It’s just Pinterest! And Pinterest itself discourages pinning your own work – so whose work are you supposed to use?” Good question. Unfortunately, the answer is not what I wanted and the analysis in reaching the answer is quite complicated…”
This is a complex issue, and one pinterest is going to have to wrestle with. It’s kind of like youtube in the early days. There’s no question that youtube was a source of massive copyright infringement early on. But youtube got so big that the big guys didn’t want to kill it. Maybe pinterest will turn that corner as well.