Is Pinterest Good for Photographers?Feb 14 2013 · 2 comments · Photography ·0
Is Pinterest good for photographers? Like many photographers when Pinterest first became one of the popular social websites I was a bit dismayed because of copyright and copyright violations that go along with it. I am a huge proponent of photographers rights and in particular their constitutional right to copyright. When my copyright is violated or to be more specific infringed upon I can be anything from annoyed to seriously aggravating or even downright pissed off.
Disclaimer: Yeah, The disclaimer is at the beginning, not the end. That’s just the way I roll. It’s important to point out that this article is my opinion and my opinion only. It’s not based on scientific fact or extensive research. The bottom line, is pinterest good for photographers? I think it can be.
As a photographer I’ve found, in the literal sense of the word, that my photos have been infringed upon many hundreds of times. In most cases it’s just kids or young adults that have downloaded the photos and added them to their websites. In the beginning this would annoy me to no end. However over the years I’ve gotten over this. It can still be annoying but basically kids are going to do with kids are going to do.
These days I only take real offense when the photo is used for profit or if someone claims the photo as their own. I just don’t have time to track down 250 or 300 children on a regular basis and send out DMCA notices for every case of infringement of every photo. Now I’m certain that there photographers that will disagree with me in fact. No, I am absolutely certain that most photographers will disagree with me. However, the joy of copyright is that each of us gets to decide what happens to our photos and how they are used. It’s not for me to tell any photographer how to employ his or her copyright or how they license their photos. And it’s likewise not for them to tell em what I choose to do or not do with mine.
It’s true that I’m full of information that I often share about licensing, copyright, publication and things that photographers can use. Things that will not only benefit themselves but benefit the industry as a whole. However in the end it’s for each of us to decide for ourselves. With that in mind there are things to consider when you get all riled up because someone has pined one of your images.
Get Over Yourself!
In his blog photographer Jamie Lawrence wrote:
“Some photographers are going batshit-crazy because their fans want to favourite their images and share them with friends. This is the point where technical transgressions of copyright laws need to be ignored in the name of pragmatic business decisions.”
There couldn’t be a truer statement ever made concerning the on going battle between photographers and Pinterest.
The first thing you need to consider is have you actually lost revenue from a photo that’s on Pinterest? Was the person who pined it going to buy a print or licence the photo if they hadn’t pined it? Just as I no longer get upset when kids post my images on their websites and Facebook pages the same applies to Pinterest. One example is where a woman pinned one of my photos into a category about hippies. Apparently, from viewing her Pinterest account she’s a tree hugging hippie that lives in Australia and many of the things that she pins are related to that. The fact is the woman liked the photo. Now it’s true that the photo hasn’t gone viral on Pinterest. It’s been repined a grand total of five times. Five repins or not the link back to this blog post still remains on the photo and I do occasionally get hits back to my website from that photo. In another example I have photo that I posted to Pinterest myself a few weeks ago. From that one photo on Pinterest I got 5 hits back to the blog post Obelisk just today alone! For the life of me I don’t see how anyone can consider this a bad thing. We all want our names to get out there and like it or not Pinterest is a vehicle that can do that for you.
I have, and I’m sure that most of us have posted photos to Facebook or Flickr or some other social networking site. Pinterest is no diffident than that and the link to your primary website stays with the photo when it get repined by others.
The Down Side to Pinterest
Though it is still up for debate question of infringement is still questionable. If you don’t like it how ever you can always track the photo back to the original pinner and then send Pinterest a DMCA take down Notice. PRESTO! Like magic the problem is solved. Just as a side note I think that it is always best to contact the person or business infringing on your rights personally and ask them to remove the image. I only send out a DMCA notice once no action is taken from personal contact. This does not mean that screen shots should not be taken and if you need to pursue legal action you are still free to do so. (This is in the US now.) It just shows good faith on your part.
You can also add a simple code to your site that will prevent people from pinning your images. Pretty simple. If you don’t want people to pin your stuff just add the code. Problem solved, sort of.
The other problem and one that is also annoying is when someone, usually but not always a kid once again, strips your image from your site and uploads it to their own site. Not only is that uncool (Uncool = blatant infringement for those of you that don’t speak Barry.) and then someone pins it from that there. The credit goes back to the kid’s Tumblr or where ever it was placed. When the photo goes viral on Pinterest (It always does unless it’s pined directly form your site by the way.) everyone thinks Little Suzy snapped the shot and not you. Yeah, that’s most irritating. Trust me on that score. Then there are all other types of infringement and the worst cases are when adults steal and use your crap for their on benefit but that’s another discussion for another time. Today’s topic is Pinterest or rather, is Pinterest good for photographers?
Fashion and Such
OK, it can be argued and argued effectively that Pinterest isn’t good for Photographers or for that mater any service industry. That it’s only effective for the product industry. This could be something like fashion and, hell if I know, perhaps ice cream! In the linked article Allen Murabayashi makes some very good points but the fact remains that backlinks are backlinks and, more important than how “Big G” sees or views them if it brings people to your site all the better! I mean, why do we keep a website anyway? Certainly not to sit out in cyber space and collect dust! At the very minimum it will up your Alexa score! For my part I believe that Pinterest is good for photographers and not just for stupid backlinks. If you don’t just tag and pin images randomly but do so with sound SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in mind then it can be very good.
Is Pinterest Good for Photographers?
by Barry Kidd
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