Can you put a pin on it?
Source: pinterest.com via Marie on Pinterest
We couldn’t let this week of Pinterest posts go by without addressing an important issue.
In the midst of all the Pinterest frenzy, one question seems to have been overlooked by the majority of users.
Do users have the right to pin an image that they do not own?
How many users have actually read Pinterest’s user agreement which states that the company reserves the right to sell images users upload?
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.
In other words, while Pinterest itself are protected by their user agreement (although from a copyright law point of view, I am not so sure how this would stand up in court), you the user are not – unless you unequivocally have exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license to upload the image.
If you upload an image that doesn’t belong to you and Pinterest sells it, you could be sued for copyright infringement.
Does this mean you should stop using Pinterest?
Not at all. We love it and will continue to use it ourselves.
But it does mean you should exercise caution when uploading images.
Don’t forget that while a lot of conversation has been generated online regarding copyright infringement and Pinterest, you cannot legally upload anything that you do not have exclusive rights to on ANY website.
In practice, many of the online websites you pin from will be glad of the publicity generated by your use of their image – the image will contain a hyperlink back to their website, and they will be hoping that this will generate more site traffic for them. (If in doubt, you can always send an email to establish they don’t mind you using their image.)
Indeed many websites have already incorporated a Pin It button which sits alongside other sharing buttons to encourage you to pin their content.
Now let’s look at this issue from another angle.
Note that according to its user agreement, Pinterest reserve the right to alter, sell, stream, etc. content on its site. Now what if you are the owner of content you do not want repinned, how do you protect your Intellectual Property rights to your own work?
There are some steps you can take. Pinterest has released code that will let publishers opt out of sharing their site content. Simply copy and paste this code into your website and any attempt by a user to pin an image will bring up a message on screen that states: “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”
The Yahoo-owned Flickr photo-sharing site has just added Pinterest’s newly introduced do-not-pin code to all Flickr pages with copyrighted or protected images.
Of course using this code won’t prevent users from downloading images from sites using the code, then uploading them directly to Pinterest, which leads us onto step 2 – watermark your images.
By engaging online, you need to be prepared to share content and interact with users. Sometimes this can be a hard concept for business owners to grasp. Whether you have written a cook book, you are a photographer, a social media guru, a business or life coach, the moment you decide to take your expertise online, you should be prepared to share some of your work – this is what lets us find the experts we want to buy and learn from offline as well as online. You run more risk of having, a recipe or image used uncredited on another blog than you do on Pinterest. Not only does Pinterest embed a link to your website, but it also imposes a 500 character limit which restricts users from re-producing content such as a recipe.
While we have sounded a note of caution in the interests of keeping you informed, we will continue to keep an eye on the situation and pass on the latest information as it happens.
And yes…we will continue to pin.
You will find lots of great pins with links back to the original sources on our Write on Track pinboard http://pinterest.com/ennoconn/write-on-track
Over To You…
Are you concerned about Pinterest and copyright? Does reading our article make you think differently about using Pinterest? Or will you continue to pin as before? We’d love to hear your views.
SEO Benefits from Pinterest
If you have been persuaded to start using pinterest by our posts this week, you may be interested to hear about how it can improve the SEO of your website. This post by Jeff Baer explains it very well but I’ll summarise it here too.
The pin / image, as well as the link within the description if you have one, works as an effective link to your site. Google recognises it as a link so it provides your website with more good SEO juice.
That’s the good news. Pinterest will increase the brand awareness of your product or service and reward you with improved SEO. The bad news is that once some businesses are loading thousands of images onto it (and they are starting already) or affiliate marketing takes off in a big way, the links will probably change to no follow links which means the SEO benefits will be lost.
However, just because the ‘big boys’ are now utilising pinterest, it doesn’t means that small and/or medium businesses like yours or mine won’t benefit from Pinterest. In fact, pinterest is perfect for increasing your brand awareness and as it can be used in conjunction with facebook and twitter, it gives double benefits in a way. From seeing your pictures, viewers will gain a much better sense (in seconds) of what your business offers and it will establish your brand.
Others are starting to copy Pinterest already – it remains to be seen if Pinterest will remain the front runner. I also wonder how long it will be before Pinterest is bought by a company such as Google. Apart from creating fabulous eye candy, it will be an interesting one to watch.
We’ll be answering your Pinterest questions in tomorrow’s post so if you do have any more questions, do ask them in a comment below or on our facebook page.
Pinterest for Business?
Have you heard of Pinterest? If your business is in any way related to retail / food / photography / interiors / architecture / knitting /hairdressing – indeed, if it is related to anything that you can take photographs of and find other photographs of on the internet, then Pinterest could be extremely useful for your business and will help to drive traffic to your website.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is an online virtual scrapbook or pinboard and the beauty is you can have as many pinboards as you like and you can share them with other people. See our previous post for an explanation of how to set up Pinterest and how to ‘pin’ pictures on it.
How will it boost my business?
- Pinterest is a little like an online ‘word of mouth’. People can pin pictures they like from websites and blogs (there will be a post on copyright issues regarding this coming up tomorrow) and they can repin pictures they like on other people’s boards.
- According to Hubspot, Pinterest is turning more browsers into buyers than other social media tools.
- Pinterest is a wonderful tool for any creative business to showcase their voice through images.
- Pinterest allows you to send visual messages about your business – be it product or service.
- Companies such as Etsy have had huge success with pinterest driving thousands and thousands of people to their site. Etsy has over 45,000 followers on its pinterest account.
- People can search for terms such as ‘bridesmaid shoes’, ‘Christmas’, ‘Wedding dresses’, ‘curtains’, ‘wallpaper’, so you do need to take care when naming your boards and describing each picture. It could be a good idea to use the keyword analysis tool to optimise your pictures. However, you can see how the possibilities of getting your product passed around as ‘repinning’ can really help to get the word out there.
- Each pin works as a link to your site so will count as a backlink. Each pin from your site should continually carry the source, ie your website, and if others embed the picture into their blog post, it will show the source as well as link to it if the picture is clicked upon.
- It is proving to be addictive! Women aged 25-44 are the most popular users but with the growth in infographics, more men seem to be partaking in it. One week recorded 11 million hits – a phenomenal amount for what is a relatively new media platform.
- It is shareable. It can link with your website, facebook and twitter. At the moment, it will show on people’s personal profiles on facebook (not business pages) so friends can see their pins and their activity. You can also link it to your twitter profile which can be a business one so each time you pin a picture, a tweet will be sent out.
- Pinterest can indicate trends or the success of new products. Repins may suggest how popular a product might become.
- Infographics are becoming very popular too so you can create a visual image of any company or industry data and share it by pinning.
How do I join?
You can apply to Pinterest to join and this can take a little while. Invitations mean that you can start pinning straight away so if you would like an invite, do leave a comment below and we will email you one.