Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Legal Issue Settled?

In a blog post by, Maureen Gilmer re-assures her readers that "pinning pictures is not copyright infringement." Now we know?
No, pinning pictures is not copyright infringement, but the jury is still out about whether or not it’s a threat to artists and photographers. Many are using watermarks on their pictures to emphasize it’s copyrighted within the Pinterest system.
Ironically, the author's images on the blog have buttons labelled "PURCHASE IMAGE" with a shopping cart icon. I am not kidding. You can't make this stuff up. I repeat: she is trying to sell rights to the images she posted on the blog! Not only that, but she claims with obvious pride that the images are pinned all over Pinterest already!

Who will purchase her images, when, as indicated in the images' caption, they are pinned all over Pinterest? I can just hotlink them from Pinterest with the EMBED code, then Maureen can sue to original pinner, and not me. Besides, it's not copyright infringement, right?

How can she say that "the jury is still out about whether or not it’s a threat to artists and photographers" when she should have the perfect vantage point to know that it is a threat to her selling rights to her photos?

I hate to be mean, but that was one of the most ignorant things I've ever read.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Continued Harassment of Artists by Pinterest

In its valiant and tireless attempts to make it increasingly difficult for creatives to protect their intellectual property, Pinterest now forces us to become a member of their copyright infringement facilitating platform.... for the privilege of checking if images have been pinned from our websites.

We artists are their bread and butter; some of us are happy to let Pinterest steal their work and exploit it commercially in exchange for traffic tidbits of dubious worth, and others are very unhappy about having their livelihoods, which is protected under current laws, grabbed from them.

The very least they could do is to make it easy. But no. Pinterest wants to make it as difficult for artists as they possibly can, while sending their members letters "you have done nothing wrong, happy pinning" as their coddling version of copyright enforcement.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Absolute MUST-READ

Photographer Tara Bradford relates a story, in This photo is not free: Nikken EU & copyright infringement, where a company infringed on her copyright for commercial and promotional endeavors, and incredibly, is refusing to pay her a very reasonable, non-punitive fee of $535.00 for the photo, because, their spokesperson claims, THEY TOOK THE PICTURE FROM PINTEREST and Tara should suck it up. The company is even refusing to apologize.

This is absolutely outrageous.

According to Tara,
[The spokesperson's] argument blamed the so-called "original pinner," insisting that if other people grabbed the photo, Nikken EU could too. She claimed to be "unaware of any copyright restrictions related to the use of this photo..." Further, she advised that Nikken EU "strongly deny any copyright infringement and recommend that you contact the person who first posted the photo and availed it to all Pinterest users."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Photographer Against Pinterest

In About Pinterest: An open letter to my readers, photographer Tara Bradford writes:
[...] I don't want even one of my photos on Pinterest.[...]

I am trying to prevent my original work from losing its value by being pinned (and uncredited) numerous times on multiple Pinterest boards, amidst groupings of dubious quality and origin. Pinterest is a big company with massive funding and I am one small business owner, simply trying to protect my livelihood. I receive no benefit whatsoever from my photography appearing on Pinterest.
For other posts from Tara about Pinterest, read:

Picture This, Pinterest

Has It Come To This?

The continuing saga of keeping photos off Pinterest - this article mentions a pinner that knowingly posts Tara's photographs knowing full well this is against her will.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Still No Self-Promotion

Pinterest's early TOS and user etiquette had some firm language warning against "self-promotion" - setting the tone of the "pinned" images never to belong to the pinners. If a pinner can only "promote" other people's images, by definition they do own the copyright to them.

Pinterest has a new feature where they "verify" your website, which on the surface sounds like it could be a way to legitimize and set paramaters for self-promotion and posting one's own images.
Accounts with a verified website have confirmed ownership of their website using our automatic verification process. Website verification establishes the link between a website and a Pinterest account.

These accounts are marked with a checkmark which displays next to their website on their profile page and below their name in search results.
However, this seem not to be the case at all: In Do NOT to verify your website in Pinterest - Read my story. the below was reported:
This was a big mistake: very short time after I verified my website in Pinterest, my account got deactivated. There was no warning from Pinterest and no specific reason.

They've just suddenly decided that I was a spammer. I believe that they've noticed that most of my pins are linked to my website and they didn't like it so they kicked me out.

But here is the big issue: Because of the association between my website and my account - my website got banned from Pinterest as well.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pinterest News Roundup

A lively discussion on the Etsy forum, spanning at least 25 pages in two days, was spurred by the following opening post by an Etsy seller, after receiving a "strike":
What the heck??? I pinned an image from a blog I follow. It was not the person's website. How on earth would I have known that the person didn't want their stuff pinned? This really stinks.... I don't care about the pin, I care about getting cyber-slapped for something that Pinterest encourages - PINNING!!!
Further down in the thread, she write:
If she didn't want me to pin the image at all, why didn't she just send me a message thru Pinterest right then and there and tell me to delete the pin???
...which is a fairly typical demand for courtesy from copyright infringers that lack the courtesy of asking for permission, and do not realize how much time they are costing content creators in chasing their content.

It is interesting to note that many pinners in that thread report having had "strikes" and some pins deleted. Etsy pinners are by no means a random sample, but if so many pinners have pins removed, one might be led to believe that Pinterest handles MASSIVE amounts of DMCA take-downs.

Photog Gets Into Nasty Tussle With Radio Station Over Copyright Infringement outlines a case where a photograph was used without permission, and is followed by some fascinating comments.

In Why can't we use Google images on our website?, a webmaster requests the help of a consumer advocate after receiving a demand from Getty Images. The comment section is very lively here, too.

While not about images, AP wins big: Why a court said clipping content is not fair use reports on a recent judgement imposing fair use limits on the written word, in this case, snippets from news articles.