Or maybe you’re just a smartie who’s thinking ahead.
The topic of intellectual property theft from bloggers and content creators is a distressing one for me. I love to encourage creativity and hate to see creatives taken advantage of.
But I’m going to keep calm and give good advice. So read on.
What is Pinterest copyright infringement?
When you allow your content to be shared on Pinterest, you’re agreeing to have your image saved, shared, and displayed across the Pinterest platform.
This includes being embedded in Pinterest widgets on other websites.
But you retain copyright on your content, and it should always be linked and credited to you.
Don’t know the Pinterest Terms of Service? There’s lots more. Read them here.
About copyright, Pinterest says,
Pinterest respects the intellectual property rights of others and we expect people on Pinterest to do the same. It’s our policy—in appropriate circumstances and at our discretion—to disable or terminate the accounts of people who repeatedly infringe or are repeatedly charged with infringing copyrights or other intellectual property rights. ~Copyright on Pinterest
When Pinterest users talk about “stolen pins” or copyright infringement, they’re usually referring to Pins that belong to one website being changed to link to another website. This is highly unethical, and almost certainly illegal. Don’t ever do it.
*I’m not a lawyer and don’t play one online. Seek legal advice if you have questions about the law and how it may apply to you.
But I don’t want my images on Pinterest, ever!
<meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin” />
<meta name = “pinterest” content = “nopin” description = “Sorry, you can’t save from my website!” />
<img src = “foo.jpg” nopin = “nopin” /> source
How can I prevent Pinterest copyright infringement?
Unfortunately, you can’t. No matter what measures you put into place, there are people who don’t know better, or don’t care. 🙁
BUT I do recommend you put measures into place to mitigate the problem:
- NEVER change the URL on a Pin that’s not yours. Just. Don’t. Ever.
- ALWAYS put your logo, website name, or URL on your Pin images. All my favorite design tools make this easy to do.
- NEVER repin anything without ensuring the linked site is the right one, that is, they have a right to link from the Pin to their site.
I also strongly recommend you develop a recognizable visual style or branding for your Pin images. This will help other Pinners notice when something’s not right, for instance your Pin has been hijacked.
Be careful when saving Pins from Pinterest!
I know, it isn’t always easy to tell if the Pin link is correct. Best bet is if the Pin image has an identification on it that matches the site it links to.
It starts to get difficult when images from another site are used with permission. I constantly get PR companies asking me to post infographics on my site in exchange for a link back. So in this case it’s not only OK for me to post them, but desirable.
Here are some clues that the site has no right to link from the Pinterest image, when the identification on the Pin doesn’t match the linked site:
- The image isn’t on the linked page, and the page doesn’t relate to the image.
- There’s no credit and link to the image’s source on the linked page.
- Linked page has lots of ads or otherwise looks spammy.
NOTE: I am NOT saying that using someone else’s image on your site with credit and a link back absolves you of copyright infringement! Only use others’ images with permission. It might be wise to note “used with permission.” Read this for more about copyright.
What happens if I mistakenly save a stolen Pin?
Maybe nothing, except spreading bad content. Someone may click on your “save” of that Pin and find a spammy site. Sharing spam is certainly not good for your own reputation on Pinterest.
And you risk your account being closed. What?
Yep. If the content owner finds the Pin and reports it, and marks a “strike,” you could get a notice from Pinterest that you have a strike on your account.
Even though you didn’t change the URL.
How many strikes ’til you’re out? Unknown. But don’t risk it.
How do I find stolen Pinterest Pins?
If you’re a Pinterest newbie and your content isn’t popular on Pinterest yet, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. I think it’s popular Pins that are targeted for theft.
If you want to look for stolen Pins, here are some things to try:
- Click on one of your own Pins and look at the related Pins that come up.
- Search for one of your Pin titles.
- Search for one of your Pin keywords.
- Check in a Facebook group about Pinterest for a list of accounts that steal Pins.
On a computer, you can quickly mouse over any Pin and see what site it’s linked to.
How do I report Pinterest copyright infringement?
Truth: I can’t be sure this is even safe to do right now.
A few people have said that after reporting Pins stolen from their own content, they got a notice from Pinterest that their Pin was reported.
Others have said their own top-performing Pins have disappeared.
If you’re confused, I understand. It’s a big mess right now, and I’m hoping Pinterest is working on a big fix because I personally don’t feel safe reporting thieves of my content.
If you want to report your own intellectual property as stolen, you can use this form.
DO NOT check “Remove all” unless you want all like images to be removed – including the ones that link to your site.
DO NOT check “Strike” unless you’re sure the Pinner of that particular Pin is the baddie who changed the URL.
DO NOT include your home address in the Contact Information. If the reported Pinner complains, Pinterest may supply your report, which might include your contact info.
You may submit your completed DMCA notice via the web, or by mail, FAX or email:
Pinterest Copyright Agent
808 Brannan Street
San Francisco, CA 94103-4904
Fax: +1 415 762 7100
There’s also a phone number where I suppose you can leave a voice mail.
Telephone +1 650 308 4604
At this time, Pinterest won’t accept reports of entire accounts – even if all the images are stolen content.
You can’t file a DMCA if you aren’t the copyright holder, but you can still report the Pin.
- Click the 3 dots above the Pin image.
- Click “Report Pin.”
- Choose “This Pin isn’t useful.”
- Choose “I can’t find the image on the site.”
- Click the “Report Pin” button.
If your website traffic has tanked due to stolen Pins, you may need to create new Pin images. Users may be wary of images that once led them to unreliable sites.
What’s next for Pinterest?
If you’re wary about Pinterest after reading this, I don’t blame you.
I still believe in Pinterest – it’s still my best social traffic referrer, and I still get 20K – 200K website sessions a month from Pinterest.
But you can’t put all your eggs in one basket! While Pinterest is still the best place for a new business or blogger to start for traffic, it shouldn’t be your only source.
My goal is to continue making valuable content that people want to read, share, and subscribe to. I believe this should be the top goal of any blogger – not “getting more Pinterest traffic.”
For further reading (bold links are on my blog):
This info is not specific to Pinterest:
I hope I’ve helped you understand the problems with Pinterest copyright infringement and stolen Pins. Leave a comment if you have more tips!