So yesterday afternoon on Twitter, I noticed a lot of my art friends talking about Pinterest with the hashtag #donotpin. I had no idea what they were talking about so someone linked me to this article.
The debate is whether or not Pinterest (and Tumblr) hurts artists by people not attributing images or linking them to their source blogs when they are pinned and my answer to that is a resounding “YES” and I’ll explain why by posting what I posted on Facebook last night about it, in response to Less Herger’s blog post about it:
You guys should read the article on Pinterest she links though. It’s not as cut & dry as it seems in the case of Pinterest. I don’t use or know much about Tumblr so I can’t really comment on that but Pinterest is a cesspool of unattributed things. The problem with Pinterest is that people are legitimately too stupid to know how to attribute things correctly by pinning the direct source. Pinterest should do more to ensure that its userbase knows how to do this CORRECTLY, like maybe having an etiquette section in the FAQs and a link on each pin to report it for copyright violation. The other thing is that Pinterest saves a copy of the pinned image, which is dirty pool. Like the blog post I linked quoted (from the blog posts SHE linked, which I also posted this afternoon on my own FB), Pinterest creates a duplicate, competing image, which is counterproductive to the original artist.
That said, this image here is a prime example of where I saw an image on Pinterest, unattributed, and I moved heaven and Earth trying to find the original artist so I could buy a print:
If it had been pinned properly, I wouldn’t have had to spent a very long day trying to find the original artist but what was WORSE is that what was pinned? Was a VERY high resolution picture of the piece. I don’t know where it originated from but it was likely the artist’s original scan. I saved the image and if I was a dick, which let’s face it, most people are, I could either print my own copy (if I had a nicer printer) or take it to a print shop to get a print of my own for like, $5, which is a very real scenario when no one has any idea if a “real” artist did it or some bored housewife in Idaho (not that that should make a difference but it does).
I like Pinterest. A lot. But I also pin things correctly by attributing them to something’s original source and when I repin things from other people, I make sure they’re attributed correctly as well, but most people on there are NOT that contentious. My mother has been ripped off a few times now by people repinning her things under categories like “DIY” when it’s her original work (this is not copyright infringement but it is damaging when they pin the image and not her original source or when they take her name off their repin).
This hasn’t happened to me yet and to be honest I wouldn’t mind so much if it DID happen to me because I don’t post high-res images and I know that no one could ever recreate in a print what I do in an original but it would hurt my feelings to see a pin, one day, where I wasn’t attributed by proper pinning when I make it so easy for them to do.
Pinterest really needs to take a long look at how they do things. There’s no reason for them to keep a copy of each image and if they insist on doing that, they could at least make it a thumbnail or a smaller image so it’s not competing with the original.
So there ya have it. My $0.02 on the subject.
When I woke up this morning and looked at Twitter, an artist I’m not familiar with had posted a pledge for people to take and while I won’t be taking the pledge, as its worded (I’m not going back through all my boards and seeing if they’re attributed correctly but I will make sure they are from now on) but I agree with the sentiment.
So there needs to be compromise and I think we, the arts community, need to collectively come up with that compromise, develop a petition and take it to Pinterest directly saying that things need to change. This is probably one of the only instances where a petition may do some good. We could PIN the petition and ideally, it would be repinned over and over again, especially if it’s made cute somehow.
Nothing changes if nothing changes. Y’know? So nothing’s going to change if all we do is hand-wring and write angry blog posts. I saw some people deleting their Pinterest accounts in protest but really, that’s just a drop of water in a very full bucket. That’s not going to make a difference for me or anyone else, that’s only going to make a difference for you, it’s going to help YOU sleep better at night…I guess. But what if we could really enable change? What if?
Pinterest is a great service. I love the site. And it could be really useful to artists and bloggers (or artists who blog!) as far as exposure so why not help create this tool while it’s still in its infant stages? I mean, you still need an invite to even use Pinterest! It’s still in Beta! NOW is the time to voice our concerns to affect change! So why aren’t we doing it?
Edit: This works too! PIN PIN PIN!
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