Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Some time ago, a blog friend in the US asked me if I was OK about her 'pinning' photos from my blog onto her Pinterest board. At the time I didn't know anything about Pinterest and, when I looked into it a bit, I was somewhat unnerved by what I found out, as it didn't seem to me to respect people's copyright over photos. So I asked her not to 'pin' my images and she has, as far as I know, respected my wishes. However, a recent conversation with my daughter went something like: 'Mum, why aren't you on Pinterest yet? It's great, it's like having a magazine to browse that's full of all the things you're interested in. You should sign up and try it.'
Well, to be honest, I am definitely a late adopter of new trends and gadgets. But, since I do respect my daughter and she is way ahead of me on keeping up with trends especially online/mobile, I had another look, even signed up so I could explore it properly. I can't say I have fully understood this phenomenon, let alone fully embraced it yet. But what I did discover was that there are LOTS of my images already 'pinned' on people's boards. (There are probably some of yours too.)
My daughter reckons it's fine, as they can all be traced back to the originating site (ie: my blog) and so they are not breaching copyright or even using my images, but instead just linking to them. She says I should be glad people like them and that from a 'pin' people might move on to reading my blog. I remain a little uneasy, though I recognise that I can't stop it happening. I'd be really interested to know what other bloggers think.... Are you using Pinterest? Are people 'pinning' your images? Are you 'pinning' other people's?
It does remind me that as soon as anyone posts a photo - on a blog, on Flickr or Facebook, on a website - you are effectively losing control of it (or so it seems to me). Despite the copyright laws, it is actually almost impossible to 'police' whether someone else uses your work. I have discovered a couple of cases of people pinching my photos and using them without permission and without attribution. In both cases I contacted them and they agreed to take them down. I have also had numerous folks contact me to ask permission to use images in different ways (books, leaflets, websites, calendars) and in most cases I have agreed, provided they are acknowledged as mine. I don't mind so much as long as people ask.
I started my blog, perhaps naively in the beginning, as a way of challenging myself. I didn't really expect anyone else to be interested or to read it and I have been pleasantly surprised to discover the (mostly) friendly community spirit of blogland. I've made some good friends and had countless hours of enjoyment reading other people's blogs and being inspired by their pictures. But I'm not sure whether I'm comfortable with this new development.... Should I be flattered? Should I be worried? Should I just embrace it all freely and have Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest buttons on my sidebar? What do you think?