I can’t take it anymore. I’m so tired of seeing blatant stealing that I just have to speak up. I have a big problem with the way that bloggers are disregarding the rights of image owners and copying images off of Pinterest to use on their own blogs. No, not everyone is doing it, but way too many are. Waaaaaay too many.
The images on Pinterest are NOT for your own personal/professional/commercial use (even if you link back to them) – and that includes on your blog!
Yep, I said it. Those “Look what I found on Pinterest this week” posts with the images actually posted on your blog are like a big red flag saying, “Hey! I steal images so people will come to my own blog and increase my traffic!” Stop it. You’re better than that and stealing not only makes you look bad, but mark my words, there is going to be a serious legal issue revolving around this someday, somehow.
See, one of the problems with Pinterest is that people pin and re-pin without checking the source of the article. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve clicked through on a picture to wind up on a site that says, “This idea was originally found on So-And-So’s Blog” and then links to the original article. Unless they have specifically asked So-And-So if they can use that image in their own article, that’s stealing too.
Also keep in mind that the “original source” does not mean the first person who pinned it to Pinterest. It means the person who took the picture. They are the only ones who can give you permission to use that image. If you don’t get permission, you’re stealing.
Imagine finding an image that you took of your craft on someone else’s blog that links back to someone’s else’s pin that in a round about way leads back to your blog….20 clicks later. You’d be pretty darn ticked, because, let’s face it, most people are not going to be seeking out the original source (you), they’re just clicking on the image that someone stole from you.
What’s even worse is people who download the images and then re-upload them to Pinterest so that the source comes back as “Uploaded by user”. Come on. You may like to dabble in home decor, but I would bet my Girl Scout Cookies that you don’t live in a villa in France filled with antique furniture. (Yes, yes, I know, people travel and take pictures and upload those, but you know what I’m talking about here.)
I spend a lot of time online, because it’s my job and, quite frankly, because I enjoy it. I am also a big stickler for image stealing – if you haven’t figured that out yet. If you need a spot to find images that you can use, free of charge, check out Flickr’s Creative Commons. People upload images and all they ask in return is that you link back to the image page when you use it in your blog post.
I’m not saying don’t pin. I’m saying don’t use the images you find on Pinterest as your own personal playground. If you find an image that you just have to have take the time to find out the original source and email them to find out if it’s okay to use it with the proper credit back to them. I did an article for my most-awesome-job-ever where I linked to the original source and the pin, so that traffic was going to both, but I never used pictures that weren’t mine, the company’s, or labeled with a creative commons redistribution clause (and then I linked back to the original source) in the article. Why? Because stealing makes you look bad.
Stop. Please. Find or take your own images for your blog. Or ask permission first. It makes you look better. It makes your site more credible. And it’s just the right thing to do.
Updated 2/25/12: Check out this article from the Boston Business Journal about just what exactly you’re getting into by uploading to &using Pinterest. Then, read the Terms of Service on Pinterest itself. Scary.