Yeah, I’m on Pinterest. I got so many invitations from friends I felt compelled, and at first I couldn’t quite see the appeal. Once I got started making boards, though, I did get straight-up hooked for a few days. I LOVE categorizing things, but I’m really bad at it. When I started, I had about 12 pinboards with ridiculously specific subjects (items I would have if I was living my dream life, scientific sketches, “sexy” scientific sketches, products I could make things out of if I had the time). I was pretty much making a different pinboard for every picture I found. Then I read this.
In a nutshell: if Pinterest doesn’t want you to self promote (thus making it just like Tumblr) you are compelled to use other people’s images that you don’t own. And if you get in trouble for breaking copyright, all the fault lies on the user. The only way to use the site as it is intended is to use other people’s work without permission.
(Yeah, yeah, you can ask for permission. But I bet you haven’t been asking.)
In an interview with TechCrunch, the author of that blog post, Kirsten Kowalski suggested some changes that would make the whole thing a lot less scary. Such as making a “pin it” button bloggers/artists/photographers can put on their work. That totally works, but only if everyone on the great big internet decides to help Pinterest’s reputation by adding something to all of their work. Isn’t that called setting Creative Commons licenses? I think a “pin it” button would just be more advertising for Pinterest, as if they created this problem so there would be a similar outcome.
They created a site that users love, then set it up so that users would have to jump through hoops and content owners have to opt in or opt out of something they may not have even known about. Am I making sense?
Of course, by putting the “pin it” button on their work, the content owners would more likely be pinned. But I just think it sounds like we’re doing the work so Pinterest can survive with their crazy user agreement intact. I’m imagining Ben Silbermann (the site’s creator) sitting back in a deck chair on the beach while owners scramble to cover their blogs in new widgets so they can be a part of one single site.
Add Creative Commons licenses to your work, so they can be “pinned” anywhere, not just Pinterest. If that site is going to be a headache (or a lawsuit) for its users, don’t reward them for making the site less user-friendly.
P.S. Just so’s you know, you can share me wherever you like, as long you link back to me directly. Pin me, put me on your wall, slap it on tumblr, whatever. I will soon be practicing what I preach and putting a clear CC badge on my page.