How Artists Can Harness the Power of Pinterest

Guest Blogger: Beth J. Hayden

No doubt about it – Pinterest has definitely reached a tipping point. Lately everyone seems to be talking about it!

So, what’s Pinterest?

PinterestPinterest is a relatively new social networking site that allows users to “pin” images, organize those images into collages called “pinboards,” and then share those collages with other Pinterest users. You can also follow other site members, comment on images, tag other users in your comments, and “like” other people’s pins.

Pinterest lets you share the beautiful things you find on the Web. People are using Pinterest for all kinds of things: planning weddings, organizing recipes, developing ideas for their dream houses, and more.

Pinterest’s About page says, “Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” Sounds awesome, right?

So how can artists use this trendy new tool to market their work and inspire their art? Here are some suggestions for artists who want to harness the power of Pinterest.

Create a portfolio!

You can create a board (or even several boards) on Pinterest to share your work. Pinterest is a great way to showcase your best stuff to a targeted audience of artists, galleries, and potential customers. Although Pinterest’s terms of service ask that users don’t use the site purely as a tool for self-promotion, it’s okay to showcase some of your best work by pinning it.

Find inspiration.

Pinterest is a whirlwhind of color, texture and beauty. What I particularly love about it – and the reason it can be such a wonderful source of inspiration – is that on your Pinterest home page, all the pins of people you’re following are mushed together. So you get a wonderful sampling of images in lots of different topics.

On my Pinterest home page right now you’ll find:

  • A beautiful photo of a polar bear from the National Wildlife Federation
  • A recipe for strawberry shortcake kabobs
  • An infographic about the hectic life of a social media manager
  • A luscious oil painting by artist Lori McNee
Beth Hayden's Blogging With Beth Page on Pinterest

The Blogging With Beth Page on Pinterest

I love that kind of variety! When I feel like I need a little visual boost of creativity, Pinterest is the site I turn to. The site’s beautiful, simple layout makes it easy to focus on the images.

It’s like healthy steroids for the artist mind.

Snazz up your other content!

If you write a blog (and you do have a blog, right?) you can embed your pins into your blog posts. To do this, click on one of your pins. You’ll see some options for social media sharing on the right side of your screen, and one of them says “Embed.” Click on that button, and you’ll get the HTML code that you can put into a blog post to create beautiful, compelling post content.

Pinterest also makes it really easy to share you new pins and re-pins on Facebook and Twitter. Again, click on any pin and then look over on the far right to see lots of cool options for sharing your pins, including sharing on Facebook and Twitter. I like doing this because I can pin something and also share it on my other social media sites, which helps me create content for all my social media accounts quickly and easily.

Show your audience who you really are.

The whole point of Pinterest is to be yourself. You want to pin and share things you think are beautiful, interesting, and exciting.

Yes, you can use Pinterest for marketing – there are tons and tons of ways to do that – but remember the goal of Pinterest is to connect people around the world through the things they find interesting.

Being yourself and pinning interesting things – not just self-promotional items – is going to build your brand because people want to do business with you as a person. They will enjoy connecting with you through the personal self-expression of Pinterest. They will consider buying your art or working with you because they like who you are and what you’re about.

Focus on creating beautiful and compelling visual content, just like you focus on making great art, and the rest will fall into place in time.

A note about copyright issues.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the copyright issues on Pinterest – about images appearing on the site without proper attribution. Clearly, Pinterest is still working out some problems in that realm, and it will be interesting to see how things play out over the few next months.

For now, be aware (as artists) that you need to monitor what’s going on in the Pinterest world. If you find that your work is being pinned on Pinterest without a proper link back to you, you have the right to ask that user to either remove the pin or provide correct attribution.

As a user, you can get yourself in trouble when you pin without proper attribution.

Be respectful of other artists’ work, and never pin something that doesn’t have a link back to its original online source.

Pinterest is not only picking up steam in social media circles, it has become an excellent source of traffic for blogs and websites, quickly surpassing current favorites like LinkedIn and YouTube.

Sign up.

Currently, you need an invitation to join Pinterest. Get a buddy to send you an invitation and then you can start pinning.

 

Beth HaydenBeth Hayden is a social media coach and Pinterest marketing convert. You can follow her pins at @bethhayden and read her blog at BloggingwithBeth.com.

 

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63 comments to How Artists Can Harness the Power of Pinterest

  • I would advise re-thinking using Pinterest.

    Firstly, if you look at the terms of use, once you pin images of your work to their site, they then *own* those images and can sell them (a word they actually use in their terms of use and I don’t think it’s their by mistake); and secondly – if you pin other’s work, you are saying that you not only own or have rights to sign over said work to Pinterest, they explicitly state that if you and they are sued for copyright infringement, YOU are responsible to defend not only yourself, but them.

    Please have a look at these articles which explain this much better than I can:

    http://artists-bill-of-rights.org/news/campaign-news/pinterest-%11-our-view-of-this-project/

    http://ddkportraits.com/2012/02/why-i-tearfully-deleted-my-pinterest-inspiration-boards/

  • THERE not “there”. Sorry.

  • I began to rethink my embracing of Pinterest when I assessed my own use of it. I’ve found the site to be a wall of images that I look at during idle moments without really thinking about who posted what or where the image originated. I think it is another way in which hard working artists will end up making a handful of people rich by building a destination populated with “donated” content.

    I’ve added a code snippet to block pinning on my site, and will be removing my boards shortly–Kit, I didn’t even consider the rights issue, thank you for pointing that out!

    • For everyone who might be interested in blocking Pinterest from your site, here’s how to do that. But I would encourage everyone to read about the benefits of having your content on Pinterest before you block. There are lots of great case studies on the web about people getting massive traffic and sales from Pinterest. It really can be an extraordinary marketing tool.

  • Kit,

    Thank you so much for those articles! Reading the second one now. I was getting ready to start posting on PI when my husband discovered the copyright situation. Not good.

    • Amy, I definitely encourage you to look at using Pinterest, even though I know they are still figuring out the copyright issues. There are ways of using it safely, and I think it’s such an incredible marketing tool that it would be a shame to have you miss out just because they working out some issues with their terms of services, etc. Facebook experienced many of the same issues when they started out, and they seemed to be settled into a nice groove now.

  • I can see this as a powerful networking tool.
    It’s important as an artist that all your images online are watermarked.
    That will help when re-pinners are not attributing you correctly.

  • That’s very helpful, thanks for sharing!

  • I was getting ready to jump into this until I saw the above provisos. Now I am going to slow down and read those very carefully. Thanks!

  • Very interesting!! Thank you Alyson, I’ve seen FB friends using it and wondered what the heck it was. After reading your article I went to Pinterest and did a search on painted feathers, and found that my work is already all over the place on there. Not too sure what I should do about that, if anything could even be done??
    http://pinterest.com/search/?q=painted+feathers

    • Julie, if you’re not comfortable with the links to your work that are already up on Pinterest, you can ask the pinners to remove your work. And if they don’t comply, you can report the pin to Pinterest and they should remove it.

      • If you’re unhappy about pinterest taking wide rights over your work that someone else has pinned, you need to ask pinterest to remove it, using the DMCA takedown request. Just having the pinner remove it does not cancel the rights pinterest have taken – those are ‘irrevocable’ except by asserting that the work was pinned without permission.

  • @Julie- you can ask pinners to remove the pins -if that doesn’t work, you can write to Pinterest and ask them to remove the offending work. They *will* do so, because when I was a pinner, I got an email from them once advising me that they had removed all of a particular website’s content at their request (even though I did, in fact, attribute it – although given my understanding now via the links I posted earlier, that didn’t matter anyway.)

    You can also, if you so desire, add a bit of HTML code to your site that will prevent people from pinning. I have installed it in myself and works like a dream.

  • Part of me wants to just let it run (my images on Pinterest) because that’s how my work took off in 2008, a random email with my work in it. Even though it didn’t give me credit my market grew enormously just because people were using Google to find the source of the images. Does Pinterest allow comments? That would be one way to harness the exposure.

    • Can people find the source of the images? If all the metadata is removed?

      • In my case, it’s been a matter of people searching ‘painted feathers’ and then recognizing my style among the others as they search. Because of the random email my stuff shows up in blogs all the time, usually without credit, so I make a habit of searching blogs periodically and politely telling people where the images came from. It’s work, but it’s been great free advertising. Unfortunately I’m not finding a means of leaving comments on Pinterest…

      • Mckenna: Meta data is removed – just like on Facebook.

    • Yes, Pinterest does allow comments, which can get you more followers to your Pinterest account and more traffic back to your site. It’s a great way to network and build relationships.

  • a lot to think about!

    I started slowly adding a few of my own photographs and drawings on Pinterest last week and had a lot of people repin them but in looking at all my stats, no one has looked up my website, or Etsy shop. Does this lead to sales? Julie has a fantastic story in regards to that…or is Mary right? I just don’t know.

    • Hey, Kathryn – Yes, Pinterest can definitely lead to more traffic and more sales. I’m getting half of my traffic (to my website) from Pinterest right now, and the sign-ups to my mailing list have spiked dramatically since I started using it. If you like it, I’d say keep at it!

  • You can leave comments on Pinterest – when I started finding people who had pinned my work I left comments* thanking them (which also reinforced that it was mine); but it became a bit of a rabbit hole. One person pins, and then ten people re-pin, and then ten or twenty re-pin them, etc.

    And then I read those two articles (and others) so I decided I didn’t want PInterest involvement at all. Your mileage may vary!

    *If you click on the actual image it takes you to the person’s board, where you can like it, or re-pin or comment as you will.

  • I pinned some of my website images up to pinterest. And within a day had a large number of repins on my images. I have yet to read the above articles on copyright and pinterest owning the images but I recall some buzz going around like that about Facebook a while back. I placed a copyright date on the discription of the images which may or may not get repinned. I did a little experiment with double clicking the re-pinned images and they indeed link you directly to my site. So I checked my website stats the next day and i did see a slight increase in visits and hits plus I was able to see what the referring site was on the hits and pinterest acounted for about 6 or 7 visits to my website. initially the increase is small but in one days time it wasn’t too shabby. I guess for me the jury is still out due to the copyright issues but as far as driving website traffic it seems to be a winner

    • You’re right, Kevin – the same buzz did go around regarding Facebook a while back. I think Pinterest does have some issues to work out, but if you’re willing to put your images out there (and do watermarking, etc to protect your work), I think it can be great for marketing.

  • Okay I just tried to read through the links that Kit posted. Not sure what the issue is. If you post any of your images on any social media site except google+ you lose your metadata and your copyright data. So facebook is the same. I understand how Facebook makes their money(or at least I think I do) it is from the banner advertising on the side of the page (that I never click on or buy from) that generates their income. Where does Pinerest generate their income ?? I do not see any advertising the site has no sign up fees what gives??? SO if Pinterest is selling my images who are they selling them to? is there a site somewhere that sells legally stolen internet images? It all seems very confusing but I guess for now I am getting traffic to my website that wasn’t there before and my real products are my original paintings which are safe here in my studio.the digital online images are pixelly and only out there for means of advertising. I can see where photographers would have more of an issue with this. I also think after reading the second article that it could be risky to pin someone elses work to pinterest. And on a side note is someone who is hopelessly addicted to pinterest called a PIN-head??? Hmmmmm.. Sounds like a can of worms here.

  • You are right on the mark with this article Beth. Pinterest is growing so incredibly fast that’s it definitely something worth checking into; especially for artists and illustrators like myself who has images that I want to put out there for everyone to see. I not only do I use the website to promote my own work, but being an image lover, it’s just a fantastic place to view so many beautiful and interesting images and photos.

    Thanks for the great article.
    ~Christina

  • I don’t think all those who are using Pinterest appreciate that they have signed up to ONLY pin images which:
    * either they own (which is odd since the Pinterest etiquette suggests you shouldn’t pin your own stuff)
    * have permission from the copyright owner or a licence to use.

    Now did you all know that? You actually need the permission of the copyright owner for every image.

    It’s all spelt out in the terms and conditions.

    Along with the statements which say you are liable for anything you post – and that you also indemnify Pinterest from being sued by the copyright holder. (Basically that means you have to pay their costs as well as your own if you get taken to court)

    So OK that’s the worst case scenario – and if you have stuck precisely to the terms and conditions of membership you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Thing is – most people haven’t.

    It really doesn’t matter if you think you’re doing a good thing by sharing somebody else’s work. If you share somebody else’s image you are making decisions for the copyright owner that only he or she can make – hence why you need their permission.

    Read this article http://ddkportraits.com/2012/02/why-i-tearfully-deleted-my-pinterest-inspiration-boards/ by somebody who is both a lawyer and a photographer – you may then understand why she has deleted all her pinboards

    My personal opinion is that Pinterest is in a mess right now. The copyright issue is not going to go away. It’s also going to jeopardise Pinterest’s efforts to make money off the back of the content. I understand the intention is to decorate the site with adverts linked to the content.

    • Katherine: I agree. We published this post just as all of the proverbial s**t was hitting the fan. There are tons of articles like these on the Web. I’ll bet I read 5 or 6 a day. We’re concerned enough that we’re pulling the plug on the teleseminar for now. We hope that Pinterest addresses these very real concerns.

      And it’s not just Pinterest, but all visual bookmarking sites.

      Are you going to be adding the “NOPIN” code to your sites?

  • It’s certainly a very fast-moving viral mess at the moment!

    Could that last question be a lead in to my recent blog posts? ;)

    I certainly have implemented the meta tag and other adjustments to make it operative – on all sites/accounts on both Blogger and Flickr. Here are two posts on Making A Mark which your readers may find useful. Please feel free to share the links with any friends who you think may want to stop their images being pinned until this copyright mess is sorted.

    Making A Mark – Pinterest: How to prevent your Blogger images from being pinned – this explains how to make the adjustment to your template
    Making A Mark – Pinterest: How to prevent your Flickr images from being pinned – this explains which settings you need to change to make sure that the meta tag which Flickr has installed applies to your images. Note in particular that it effectively shuts off sharing of Flickr images to all sites. They can of course still be seen on Flickr

    More articles – written by lawyers – I’ve found worth reading include:
    * Changes Needed to Pinterest’s DMCA Policy | ALL ABOUT THE DMCA , SOPA & ACTA by Connie Mableson on February 24, 2012 http://www.dmcahandbook.com/2012/02/changes-needed-to-pinterests-dmca-policy/
    * What you should know about Pinterest and copyright – Digital Lifestyle – Macworld UK http://www.macworld.co.uk/digitallifestyle/news/?newsid=3340195&pagtype=allchandate#permaLink – yet another lawyer says what they are doing is wrong

  • Great blog and information. Would I be too strong (naive?) in stating that we visual artists have to decide if we want to live quietly in our studios surrounded by our lovely creations (cave-like living) or do we want to show and share them with the world? Too simplistic? Perhaps.

    I have been “invited” to be on Pinterest, but have not set up my boards yet. I think I will give it a try.

    All of this copyright debate makes me want to also ask, Have you copyrighted all of your work with the US Copyright Office? I know I have not. …..ah,h,h, so many things to consider and to do! :~)

    • Carol I can’t Say that I have copyrighted any of my work outside of placing a Copyright2012 Kevin Aita on the images that are on line. But I think you have a good point that is much better to share your art with the world than to keep it hidden in a cave. I have found, as Alyson has also stated in her book, that the act of creativity is completed when it is viewed by an audience. That creative process continues and grows every time somebody sees an artwork and has a reaction even long after the paint has dried. In this context artist are in a way giving birth to living entities so to speak and we have a responsibility to them to nurture them. I still have some of my art work pinned on pinterest and it does bring traffic to My Website. I can’t give you any advice as to wether it is wise from a legal stand point but good luck with Pinterest

      • Thanks Kevin for writing back to me. (c) on our paintings does not protect us as much as registering our work at the US Office, despite what a lot of people say. Also, there are tons of people who do not understand copyright out there and think that if it is posted all images are game for them to use. I have people look at me dumbfounded when I tell them they are breaking copyright laws when they use my artwork or anyone else’s for a screen saver or whatever. It is a wild and wooly and uneducated world out there when it comes to art! Which leaves with choices to make.

        • Carol I see your point. I also understand that if your product as an artist is the digital image then if the copying of it is available in high enough resolution online to be used Borrowed or stolen by someone on line then copyright law would be usable. in my situation my products<at least at this point in time are my original paintings and my high resolution giclee prints….Neither of these products are obtainable on line as they are very physical and not digital. If I was to post a full resolution image of my artwork it then would be but that isn't practical as it would take forever to come up on my site. Someone told me early on in this website environment go ahead and let them download your images sharing your art in that form is free advertising…Example if someone uses your image for a screen saver maybe your info will be attached or at very least the person will be ask where they got the image and they would send yet another viewer to your website. I understand that if your product is photography for screen savers then you would have a problem I think it is different for everyone
          Thanks
          Kevin

          • Kevin – Pinterest strips out the metadata which identifies who created the image and all statements as to copyright. There is no way of identifying where some of the images on Pinterest come from.

            Long before the social networks started, people also said a lot of things about how images should be treated on the Internet . I think what’s happening at the moment is we’re beginning to question some of the assumptions that have been made in the past given the way things are progressing.

            Like one assumption which is particularly prevalent i.e. that everything posted on the internet is in the public domain and therefore is free and therefore you can do what you like with it. This is NOT correct – but it doesn’t stop people thinking it is true and behaving accordingly. People genuinely don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.

            Bottom line, it’s assumptions like these which are leading to the attention being paid at present to the way copyright law needs to change.

    • Carol – I recognize that I’m biased, but I was nodding agreement when I read your comment. I know that artists and photographers have valid concerns about Pinterest, and there are some problems to work out. And I admit that I am somewhat uncomfortable with the feature on Pinterest that lets you embed pins into your blog posts, because it just doesn’t seem right to me.
      But I also encourage anyone who’s considering blocking their site from Pinterest to consider what HUGE benefits they could be getting from letting their images be pinned – including more traffic, more sales, and more fans of your work! But everyone needs to make a decision they are comfortable with.

  • In the UK we’re fortunate to be protected as soon as we create it. We have no need to register copyright.

    I think we also need to bear in mind that there are a great range of people creating art from beginners to hobby artists to semi-professionals to those who pay all their bills from the money they earn from their art.

    What might seem OK for one won’t the the right answer for another.

  • I started to leave this as a reply to Kevin’s first comment, and got a little verbose. So I’m leaving it as a comment by itself.

    Part of how Pinterest is making their money is through affiliate links–so anything that was pinned, that has an affiliate link, is stripped out and their affiliate link is put in. For example, say you are an affiliate with Amazon, and get a little kick back when someone clicks on your link & buys a book form Amazon. If you pinned an image of a book (or whatever), and your affiliate link was in the URL, Pinterest would strip it out and add theirs. They use a skimming service which automatically does that without you knowing. There is nothing illegal about doing that, but they need to be upfront about it. I think they are finally admitting they do that.

    Another issue, which is my main problem, is that they store full resolution images of everything that is pinned, where as the other services (like google images, etc) only store a thumbnail. I imagine so far they aren’t selling the images, but by reading their terms, they have the “right” to do basically whatever they want with it, and even use the word “exploit.”

    One of Kevin’s comments mentioned he sells giclee prints of his work. According to their terms right now, they could sell them too! they could make prints of his work that have been pinned, use software to add resolution, and sell large prints. And since they are bigger than you with more connections, they could git the corporate world. Next thing you know, your work is hanging in hotels and you didn’t get a penny of it. Good exposure? Not if your name isn’t on it. That would definitely cut into your sales.

    Another thing, I don’t know if people actually click on the image to go to the original site. From what I gather (and have read), most people just repin the photo without ever clicking on it. By searching on Pinterest, I have found a lot of my work pinned, repinned, and repinned again. When I look at google anyaltics, the traffic I have gotten from all of that is extremely tiny–smaller than a blogger mentioning my work on their blog once.

    • Yes I see your point on taking a 72 DPI image and enlarging it into a 450 DPI image artificially creating a Giclee knock off. You’re right most people would not see the difference, so point taken on them stealing the pixelly images. That would only bring up a discussion on how viable the giclee market really is. My market isn’t based on giclees it’s mainly originals.
      As far as metadata being stripped it has already be mentioned in this blog post that Facebook does it and Google+ is the only one who doesn’t..I did a little experiment and I went to a repinned image of mine on Pinterest …First I noticed that my website is posted next to the picture and it seems to be done by Pinterest and not the repinner. I also noticed that my original description was also accompanying the image which contains my name and copyright notice. I also noticed that when I click on the image I am taken directly to my website. For me if I lose the sales of a bunch of knock off pixelly phoney giclees to a hotel chain but can gain the traffic to my website, I am better off, as I probably will never get the sale to the hotel chain. I need the traffic to my website. Let’s say I stop them from Pinning my work and withdraw from pinterest what is to stop them from going to my website and stealing the image from there. Same difference. It sounds like a trade off to me I truly doubt they will find the resources to pirate any of these images and if they did I would never know. I wouldn’t know if they were pirating them from my website either

      • One thing to keep in mind though is if someone snags one of your photos and puts it on their tumblr, or uses it in their blog post–regardless of why they were doing it. Then someone sees it and pins it. The “pin” would link to where ever it was pinned from–it would only link to your site if that’s where it was pinned from. So, it would go to that blog post or the person’s tumblr–which may or may not have given you credit. This isn’t a fault of Pinterest, but just something to keep in mind.

        I was trying to figure out how the links got “lost” to the original site, and googled “pinterest no attribution” and discovered it that way–lots of things on pinterest with no credit that lead to other people’s tumblrs, etc (not the original artist). So, I’ve started having my info at the bottom of my images, as part of the digital file. That way if someone uses my photo without me realizing it, and then someone pins it, it’ll at least have my website info unless it was cropped out.

        “First I noticed that my website is posted next to the picture and it seems to be done by Pinterest and not the repinner.”

        –Yes-as long as it’s pinned from your site, and not from somewhere else.

        “I also noticed that my original description was also accompanying the image which contains my name and copyright notice.”

        –That depends on what software/code kind of thing was used to pin it. What you saw is not always the case. Many of my images that have pinned do not have that.

        “I also noticed that when I click on the image I am taken directly to my website.”

        –Right, as long as it was pinned from your site. If it’s pinned from someone’s blog, who posted about how awesome your work is and used one of your images, it’ll go to their blog, not your site.

        • Tracy – they started the skimlinks – and then stopped.

          I’m guessing this might be because of the copyright issues and also the failure to declare the affiliate side of things as per the FTC rules which state you must be open and transparent if an affiliate

        • Yes I see how the info could be lost if not pinned from my website. . Good idea about adding the info to the image as a caption but again like you said someone can crop it out. I still think the value of increasing website traffic far out weighs the inherent risk of sharing your art on line. The logic of worrying about a seemingly flimsy copyright protection in spite of promoting your art doesn’t make sense to me.

          • Might we hear from artists about the ACTUAL increase in traffic to their site and subsequent sales?

            I’m somewhat sceptical as to the increases we’ve heard so much about as to date I’ve only heard from artists who had a lot of their pics pinned to the site but who’ve said they didn’t need the fingers on both hands to count the extra traffic to their websites!

            So who’s getting the traffic for paintings?

    • A couple of things I need to correct here – Pinterest was NOT stripping out anyone’s affiliate links and inserting their own affiliate code. For links that people posted that went to Amazon, etc that DID NOT HAVE affiliate links at all, Pinterest was inserting their own affiliate code and making a little money from that.

      Secondly, there is absolutely nothing in the Pinterest Terms of Use that would ever give them the right to make prints of your work and sell it. Admittedly, there is some scary-sounded language that lets them use content however they want to use it, but ONLY on the Pinterest site. There is actually several sections in the TOU that prohibits anyone from printing and selling images from Pinterest.

      • Beth, Here’s an article on CBS News that talks about it the swapping out links:

        http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-57373201-501465/pinterest-secretly-swaps-links-for-profit/

        Here’s a snip of the article:
        “The affiliate marketing blog GTO Management noticed that links were being changed without notice to members. Instead of going to a user’s link, Pinterest is swapping out the links to the benefit of its partner Skimlinks.

        “I discovered that a pin that linked to one of our merchant clients was swapped out for a Skimlinks affiliate link,” Joel Garcia said in a blog post. Garcia repeated this experiment a few times with varied results.

        According to social media blogger Josh Davis, Skimlinks automatically goes through a site and converts affiliate links, so that it will point to its own.”

        But, perhaps I’m misunderstanding the article and it is saying that there wasn’t an affiliate link in the first place, that it just went to the merchant’s site, but SkimLinks inserted an affiliate link on Pinterest’s behalf.

        Regarding the 2nd part of your comment, their terms do say they can sell the work (on their site) that is pinned. It’s a pretty broad statement:

        “By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, *modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.”

        They have the word “sell” in there .. . and “exploit.”

        It sounds like you get a lot of traffic from it, which is great. I have found quite a bit of my work pinned on there–some with attribution, some not, and I get very little traffic to my website or blog from it. Part of that could be that Pinterest uses the full images–so people just repin what they see on there with no reason to go to the artist’s site.

        Here’s another interesting article.
        http://girlfriday.ca/blog/2012/02/on-sharing-and-pinterest-musings/

      • I find the fact that they stopped using skimlinks pretty fast compelling evidence that not everything was as it should be.

        There has certainly been quite a bit of comment as to the fact that Pinterest has been going after the income generation angle so early in its life. One of the aspects that the retail sector is most pleased with is the way in which it’s generating traffic for commercial products – it’s far outstripping the traffic generated by Google+, Youtube and LinkedIn combined according to this infographic (which fails to source its data) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/01/facts-about-pinterest-users_n_1312935.html

        see this infographic for more about the impact on retail traffic http://mashable.com/2012/01/29/pinterest-retail-infographic/
        and this article re traffic for lifestyle magazines

        In terms of targeting the decorating market for women with money to spend it does indeed seem to be the perfect vehicle

        What people need to be very aware of is that this site will be generating income from the content that members create as it matures. There will be adverts, there will be links to products, there will be links to suppliers – it won’t just be something that looks pretty.

        What I’m interested to know is how it’s going to deal with the FTC aspect regarding affiliate links – which like the grittier aspects of copyright ownership seems to be another matter which Pinterest has yet to get to grips with

  • I’ve decided not to partake in Pinterest for the time being, unless they change their TOS. It makes no logical sense to me to participate in a service which is based upon their users violating their own terms.

  • Annette Buckner Hall

    A slight correction to information provided here. You do not have to be invited by anyone. You can simply go to the Pinterest site and there is a link for Pinterest to send you an invite.

    All of the copyright issues make my head spin at the moment!

  • Very interesting discussion. I think as long as we are on the Internet, we have to be open to sharing. We cannot stop anyone from using our images and our thoughts for that matter. After all there are no original thoughts or images-just interpretations. The pictures pinned on Pinterest originated from someone. To be really safe, one would only pin their own work and that’s it. I love knowing that people appreciated my work enough to pin it on their boards.
    I think we are living through very important times. Things are changing very fast. The trend is going more and more towards collective and not individual. I am eager to see what will happen.

    • Thanks, Lilith – I think there are things you can do to protect your work if you don’t want someone stealing it, so I’m not advocating that every artist just throw up their hands and say “I’m helpless! Just take it!” But I really love to see artists embracing new tools and getting great benefit from them, while they’re taking steps to make sure people know where their work came from – like watermarks and text on pins!

  • Hmmm. I don’t know what happened to Beth.

    I am writing a follow-up to this post for tomorrow. I hear ya!

  • Sorry, everyone – didn’t mean to disappear! I’m still here, and watching this discussion closely! I’m going back and responding to some of your questions right now.

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