Pinterest: Protect YOUR intellectual property

Pinterest is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. 

I joined a few months ago and pinned a few photos of my artwork and I have already seen crazy traffic to my website because of it. The site is the #2 referrer of traffic to my main website and my Etsy shop shows similar results.

You just can't ignore that.

According to this article on Mashable, Pinterest has 10.4 million registered users and brands like Kate Spade, Etsy and Threadless even have accounts. When big name brands get involved you can assume that it's time to pay attention.

I certainly have been.

Right now I'm using Pinterest to collect images of things that inspire me. Mostly skull related, some octopus stuff and tons (and tons) of interesting jewelry finds.

One of the things that I have noticed about Pinterest is the potential for any artist's intellectual property to be abused because of pinners who either aren't crediting the creator of the image or who have pinned the image from Tumblr, one of the worst offenders of uncredited images.

Tumblr is a social blogging platform that consists of thousands of blogs that post images of artwork, photos and the like. The images get "reblogged", similar to "repinning" on Pinterest, only Tumblr posts generally don't link back to the original website.

In short, the creator of the image never gets credited. That sucks.

Being an artist myself, I've gone out of my way to try to find the source of the image and to include a credit to the artist or photographer. I'd want someone to do it for me.

While Pinterest represents a new frontier in social sharing, it does open up a can of worms that needs to be dealt with. The intellectual property rights issue is not going away and the sooner that everyone is educated on how to share images in a kinder way, the better.

There is nothing more aggravating than finding your artwork pinned into a user's DIY board or finding a comment like "gotta try this" etc. There is nothing wrong with being inspired by someone's art but copying it just isn't cool!

And lastly, my biggest pet peeve with Pinterest is when a user repins and leaves my personal comments in their repin. I can understand it if you agree with what I'm saying, but a little bit of originality goes a long way!


  1. Very insightful! I've been reluctant to try Pinterest although I signed up for it a long while ago; I looked at it briefly, got lost immediately and that was that. I may have to give it another try. I use tumblr and always credit the person I'm sharing the photo with, giving a link to where I found it to begin with. Thanks for sharing this really important info!~Cindy, EarthMotherMosaics

  2. Anonymous2/15/2012

    Mostly agreed. However I will just add in that the terms of use on Pinterest is to NOT use it as a platform for your marketing purposes. I almost feel embarrassed when I see someone pinning their own business/artwork. Its not what Pinterest was intended for.


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