I'd like to start off by saying that I LOVE my pinterest account.
I'm crazy visual, so when I first jumped onto the pin-it bandwagon, I was in eye-candy heaven. It didn't take me long to start building up my boards. At first, it was mainly for character inspiration:
Then it evolved to include things that interested or fascinated me:
I now have 19 boards and almost 2,000 pictures pinned. If you've never had a chance to check my boards out, you'll want to do so within the next couple of weeks, because I'm about to delete most of them.
In lieu of some posts and articles that have recently come to my attention, I'm now second-guessing if it's worth the possibility of getting sued just for fun and some extra PR. One post that really scared me points out that we should also be very wary of the pictures we use on our blogs.
Roni Loren, a romance writer, was actually sued by an artist, even after she complied and took his artwork down. Here's the link to that post, if you're interested. If it could happen on a blog, it can happen on pinterest.
The possibility is so real that several businesses are jumping the pinterest ship. For example, The Boston Business Journal abandoned their account after rereading the pinterest user agreement and realizing that pinterest literally reserves the right to sell images any users might upload. Which means if you upload anything that isn't yours without permission, pinterest will be protected, but you could be sued for copyright infringement. Here's that article online.
Sure, you might be thinking that only people who upload images have to worry. Not people who link to the picture online, leading the viewers back to the original, and thus attributing the artist of said image. But, how can you be sure that's the original artist? Unless you take the time to investigate every single image you pin, you can't be.
I've heard the other side of this issue, too. That pinterest is doing everything they can to address the copyright concerns. In May, they added a flickr attribution to the pin buttons.
Do we honestly all do that? Wouldn't that take up an inordinate amount of time? Most of us pin for a hobby or fun. Not a full time job. Also, and most importantly, how do we know the pins we're repinning off of other boards have followed the proper protocol? We really don't. We really can't.
This article here, written by a lawyer, reiterates that fact by breaking down the pinterest user agreement in no uncertain terms. Of course, it's just her opinion, colored by her profession, but over the last few days, this has been such a concern to me I actually emailed my agent for her thoughts. I was surprised to hear that she took all her boards down just recently after hearing Roni Loren's story. Better safe than sorry, she said. And I agree. I'm even going through old blog posts to take down any pictures there that have questionable origins.
So, as much as it breaks my heart to take down my pinterest boards (GAH! all those gorgeous pictures!), I feel it's the safest route for me right now. I plan to go back to pasting any inspirational images I find into private documents instead of having it all displayed online.
This isn't goodbye forever. I still think pinterest is an incredible concept. But until they get all the legal/ethical kinks worked out, I'm laying low. I'll keep my account sparse for now. I'm only going to have a board with my favorite book covers on it, and maybe my Etsy favorites. I think I can get by with that. ;)
Once the litigation waters get less choppy, I'll hop back in again with both feet, because eye candy is right up my alley.
What about you? If you pinterest, do threats of law suits concern you at all? Or have you grown so attached to your boards you can't even consider taking them down (which I totally understand--sniff)?
**Special thanks to Bethany Crandell and Mindy McGinnis for bringing Roni Loren's post to my attention; to Bethany Taylor for pointing out the Shiny Shiny article; and to Katherine Ernst for the link to the lawyer's insights. You ladies ROCK!**