My Date with Ben Silbermann — Following Up and Drying My Tears – Atlanta Senior Portrait Photographer talks with Pinterest

Okay, so when I said in my last post “call me”, I didn’t really expect that Pinterest would actually call me.  But it did.  Or, rather, it’s founder, Ben Silbermann did.  Now, to be fair, I did reach out to Pinterest first by sending an email saying “hey it’s little old me with a blog post that kind of went out of control and I’d love to give you a chance to respond.”  Well, respond they did with an email from Ben Silbermann himself within just a few hours.  He said “Can I call you?” and I said, “well, I’m kinda busy but I guess so.”  ;)   


So he called and we chatted.  For over an hour.


Alright, maybe that’s not a “date-date” but it WAS a phone date to discuss Pinterest and the concerns I raised in my last blog post.  And it went well.  He didn’t yell at me.  He didn’t accuse me of being a hater.  He didn’t tell me I was a “loser” or to “suck it” like some of the comments I have seen (comments which, by the way, I did NOT approve — yes, it’s my blog and I can approve your comments).  What he essentially said was that he is a guy with a computer who had a vision to create this site where everyone can share stuff.  He is not a lawyer and doesn’t pretend to be an expert in copyright law (I assured him that I do not either).  He knows there are issues with Pinterest and the fear of claims of copyright infringement and he wants to figure out a way to make “his little web page” (which he said his Dad calls it — I thought that was cute) work within the confines of the law AND in a way where photographers and every user feels comfortable.


That was great and all but this is where he really won me over  (this guy is no dummy by the way and while he claims to hate doing his own PR, he does it quite well):  he asked ME for MY suggestions.  And, as anyone who has had a successful date knows, this is the way to a woman’s heart – make it all about her.   So we sat and brainstormed.  For an hour.  We talked about ways his lawyers (who ARE experts in copyright law) can re-draft Pinterest’s Terms of Use to clear up any current confusion regarding how to use the site.  We discussed concerns that many photographers have with their work being shared in such a manner.   I assured him that most photographers I know want to use Pinterest to help promote their business as well as to find inspiration.  He said he wanted that, too.


We hashed out some of the pros and cons of using the site in its current format and talked about ideas he has to improve it and make it safer to use but still as fun.  All in all, it was a great conversation and he assured me that some changes are on the way in the very near future.  He told me some of them but I don’t want to bind him to anything so all I can say is “wait and see. He’s on it.”



I clarified that I was not out to destroy Pinterest and that I wished him great success.  I declared my love for his site and told him to let me know if there was ever anything little-old-me could do to help him.  He actually said that he would likely be back in touch to take me up on that.



As I hung up, I realized that he probably didn’t really need my advice or suggestions and I’m sure he has heard most of my concerns before.   After all, these concerns are all over the internet, Twitter, Facebook, Flikr, etc.  And I know that he isn’t likely to call me back for any help.  I am willing to bet some of the best photographer-lawyer-mom’s out there in the world would jump at the chance to work with him.  He is, after all, sitting on one of the most popular social networking sites out there.  BUT, he made an effort to treat me like I mattered and that goes a long way in my book.  I do truly believe that the concerns raised in my last blog matter to him.  A lot.  And I also truly believe that he is going to work his young, brilliant little butt off to address them and remedy the quirks to the best of his and his legal team’s ability.


To clarify something from my last post — I did NOT delete my Pinterest account.  I merely deleted my inspiration boards that contained work pinned from around the web.  And because many of you are asking, yes, I DO give consent for my work to be re-pinned if you are so inclined.  I will be adding a “pin me” watermark to my work from now on.  I do still have concerns about pinning other’s work without getting consent first but believe me, I am in the group of photogs who is doing the Pinterest cheer.  ”Give me a ‘P’! Give me an ‘I’…”  and so forth. I just want to be respectful of both the law and other’s rights when I use it and most of all, I want to be clear what the site itself expects.  Don’t tell me you want me to do something and then in the next breath tell me that I shouldn’t do it.


Okay, so Ben (yes, after an hour on the phone during which I enjoyed a glass of wine, I consider us on a first-name basis), I’ll be anxiously waiting to see what your changes are.    I won’t be sitting by the phone, but I’m betting my heart rate will pick up a bit if I see a call coming in from a 650 area code! ;)  Good luck with everything and thanks for the chat!


PS – oh, and I put your number in my contacts cuz it makes me feel special.












  1. by Miranda on February 29, 2012  6:47 pm

    Way to go K...I couldn't be more proud of you if I was your mother :D How wonderful to know that there are companies like Pinterest that do ponder on the thoughts and concerns of the average person (although I wouldn't call you average) crack me up girlfriend! And honestly you are made for blogging. Can't wait to see what happens with Pinterest and the changes they have in mind. And if he does call you again.....I'm going to start writing emails to my "dream" dates ;) As for pinterest I do believe its going to keep growing....ironically I signed up for FB, Youtube, Twitter etc for business growth and the growth of fan base is a daily task...however, I signed up for pinterest just for myself and for a blog I was everyday I get a message that someone is can that be posssible??? I haven't even told anyone or inteneded for anyone to follow ...especially since I haven't even posted ANYTHING...funny huh?! Looking forward to seeing what happens with the "little website" ;)

    • by kirsten on February 29, 2012  8:28 pm

      Thanks Miranda! Ironic that my legal article about sharing pictures is making me famous when all I want to do is take pictures and share them. Ugh.

  2. by tina on February 29, 2012  9:31 pm

    I just read the first post and this post back to back and all I have to say is GREAT JOB! Your writing is so witty and charming, I felt like I was on that date with you! I love the idea of adding a "pin me" watermark to images... and I didn't delete my account either. I trust that you and Ben will work it - the Pinterest stuff that is.
    thanks so much for sharing!!

  3. by Tracy @ Hall of Fame Moms on February 29, 2012  9:41 pm

    Whew! I'm glad you shared the update. I'm concerned about breaking these kind of laws too and when all that Facebook stuff about the giveaway guidelines was going on last May, I was grieved.

    So, I'll-a... hang onto my Pin boards at the moment, but I'll be more careful about what I'm pinning.

    Thanks :)

  4. by Emily on March 1, 2012  12:27 am

    I think it would be great to have companies that DO want their content to be pinned and repinned to be on a list that is easy to find on Pinterest. My wheels are turning!

  5. by Jenny on March 1, 2012  1:23 am

    Great work! You have brought some ease to my trouble soul. :)

  6. by Sarasvati on March 1, 2012  2:10 am

    Kirsten, there is an app that will block any pictures that the photographer does not want copied/pinned. I have no idea what the app is called, but I have seen it in action on a few websites.
    Agree watermark is an option (for or against copying), but it tends to ruin the picture to some degree.

    Have you seen the article in Business Insider:

    There is a great comment from someone who had posted language that kind of grants permission to pin her photos, but asks that she be ASKED for permission. I think that's a cool option, too. No? (rhetorical) And if she doesn't mind her email inbox overflowing with legitimate requests and the inevitable flotsam of junk. (But I digress.)

    Oh, and that invisible person with the OTT pompons, jumping up and down and yelling: "Give me a 'P', etc.? That's me. I, too, would hate to see Pinterest destroyed.

    • by Hope Bryant on March 3, 2012  2:20 am

      There are a number of ways any visual artist can protect their works. This is not new, but there are tons of people who don't know about it and don't think twice about it. I see it so often. So it's this "opt out" option that disturbs me most, from a web designer point of view as well as a content creator. I could get sued for "forgetting" or not knowing about this little add on. Thanks, but no thanks. That has to go, and I hope it's one of those bits that gets reworked.

      They already have a 'pin it' button. Why not make the meta tag state "add me" instead of "don't add me"? Otherwise they "own" the whole internet. Don't get me wrong, I think Pinterest is a great idea - just very poorly executed.

      As to what one can do to protect one's images? There are a ton of options. Starting with the basics:
      > Don't save/upload large version of one's work to one's server. Keep the dpi/ppi small, anything less then 100dpi prints out all nasty. This can discourage people from printing it out or selling it as if it were theirs.

      > Adding an app / code to one's website is one way. Some will put a "blank .gif" as an overlay. You can change this sometimes to a transparent .gif watermark - so that when people "save it" they save the .gif instead. Some code will disallow saving the image, or disabling the "right click" menu to appear.

      > There is a javascript code I know of that replaces a blank .gif image, disallows the right click menu option from opening, and if coded right the raw code of the site doesn't allow the directory to be known.

      However, all this can degraded a visitor's experience in general by slow site load times, etc. It's a swap off. I don't want to hamper my visitors, but I don't want to lose my copyrights either.

      • by jon stewart on March 13, 2012  9:51 pm

        "Don’t save/upload large version of one’s work to one’s server. Keep the dpi/ppi small, anything less then 100dpi prints out all nasty. This can discourage people from printing it out or selling it as if it were theirs."

        Common misconception. If you want to keep something on the server for all to view, it should be about 100 pixels x 100 pixels (or really any arbitrary small size like that).

        At screen resolution (72 pixels per inch) this about 1.3 inch by 1.3 inch (approx)
        At print resolution (assuming 300dpi for smaller outputs) this is less 1/3 inch x 1/3 inch.

        If you put up an image at 100 dpi (or slightly less, as you suggest) I can print that perfectly at a third the size (approx, depending on what res monitor your using)

        In summary, it's the total number of pixels in the height and width, not the dpi value (which only applies to printed media anyway) that's important. So when you output the image from whatever program you use, make it, say, less than 200 x 200 pixels .... and perhaps watermark it close to but not right in the corner. J xo

        Yes, I have OCD!

  7. by Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet on March 1, 2012  4:28 am

    What a fantastic post. I think it's amazing that your words sparked Pinterest and your new friend Ben to work to make Pinterest better. I often wonder what happens to my photographs and where they may eventually end up just from being pinned and repinned. This gives me hope that Ben will make it right for all of us. Thanks for spearheading this with your words.


  8. by Anita on March 1, 2012  7:41 am

    I love Pinterest. I am also an artist. I am acutely aware of copyright theft. But for some reason I presumed that by having the website from which the picture came linked on the Pin that that was good enough on Pinterest. Obviously, I was wrong.
    Maybe the solution is for Pinterest to give you the option to make your boards private?
    Until they find a solution I have deleted my boards. Very sad! Back to bookmarking the pages I like!

    • by Jen Carl on March 5, 2012  7:55 pm

      I wish they would have the private option as well on Pinterest. I use it as a virtual bookmark for websites or articles that I want to go back to but sometimes I don't want my followers seeing everything if I have something bookmarked like a birthday gift idea for a friend, etc.. I did find a site called Clipix (which is very similar to pinterest) and they have the option to keep private... so any of my private just for my eyes stuff, I keep there.

      • by Mel on March 9, 2012  3:18 am

        Thank You Jen Carl! I'm off to Clipix! I'm putting Pinterest on hold for now, but hated the idea of going back to bookmarks and folders. Clipix sounds like my cup of tea. Danke schoen.

      • by Becca on March 13, 2012  5:04 pm

        I wrote to Pinterest a few months ago requesting an option to make a board private for the same reasons. I am also planning my wedding and would like to keep a few details private from friends & family and the dress private from "him". I can definitely say though, I did NOT get the same type of response Kristen did; as a matter of fact I didnt receive a response at all, not even an explanation as to why they would not create a private option. I also never received a response when I wrote them about a problem I was having with the boards and search feature. Thank you for the Clipix info, I will look into it.

  9. by Katherine Tyrrell on March 1, 2012  8:13 am

    Well this confirms to me what I suspected all along - he's set up a business without thinking about all the angles or getting professional advice.

    The sheer contradictions in what is being said in the terms and conditions suggested that this was the most obvious explanation - as well as the fact he was leaning very close to contributory liability.

    OK - well people make mistakes - that's life.

    How we then regard them is based on they respond to their mistakes - and how promptly they act.

    For example, last night I served Pinterest with a cease and desist notice for six separate domains - and my illegally pinned images were cleared from the site within minutes. Mind you I did say what would happen next if they didn't respond promptly.

    The thing is the standard written response Pinterest is giving to people who have pinned an offending image (and which is passed on to those who notify on the "one image at a time" model) is misleading in the extreme - it misrepresents the legal position and fails to remind people that you can ONLY pin images which are
    * EITHER your own - and you own the copyright (which means it's your own wholly original creation)
    * OR you have permission to use or a licence from the copyright owner
    (see this post for what is stated by Pinterest )

    It could be a good site - but it's rather a long way from that right now.

    Now - you have bought up more bandwidth haven't you? Because we're all going to be sending you lots of visitors and I'd hate for you to go offline again! :D

    • by Gordon C Harrison on March 1, 2012  3:57 pm

      I agree with Katherine, the site could be good but it is well short of that at the moment. There are three things it could do.

      First, they should provide a code that website owners who want to have their work pinned can add to their website. This is much better than providing a code that blocks pinning. Such an arrangement would make clear that the site owner is actually granting permission for work to be pinned.

      Secondly, Pinterest should stop stripping out metadata from pinned images, especially the copyright metadata. This was tested by Artists' Bill of Rights and a report on the issue can be read here -

      Thirdly their terms of use gives Pinterest the right to sell work pinned to their website. This is quite astonishing. Is this a mistake, or do they really mean that? Either way the terms of use as written are unacceptable.

      • by Mel on March 9, 2012  3:49 am

        Kathrine & Gordon, I'm so on board with you two!

        "Thirdly their terms of use gives Pinterest the right to sell work pinned to their website. This is quite astonishing."

        I thought that too! I actually read the TOU before joining b/c I'm suspicious of social media. I too was "astonished". The only way that made any sense was if they had an agreement with those content providers. I figured they must have a standard contract, with P getting a $ percentage of what they'd re-sell, and the rest reverting to the original owner. It seemed outlandish otherwise.

        They only reason I joined after reading the TOU, was b/c the business journals and sites I read had written about Pinterest and its future, and nowhere had made any mention of user/company liability. It was all about how great it was for businesses and how those who allowed their content to be posted pinned would be benefitting. No mention of liability or open issues. Of course, that brings me to the lack of of journalistic integrity & research, but I digress.

        So anyway, I finally joined Pinterest...only a week ago. I was a bit nervous, but then came upon some sites that didn't allow Pinning, so that made me feel more secure that Pinterest had set up safety nets.

        Then all this happened and I find out the TOU were as astonishing as it seemed, and there were no agreements with content originators. And worse, users were totally at risk, with no cover from P. Since there are lawyers involved, that means they knowingly covered Pinterest's liability and left the users wide open for being sued. Ben may be a nice guy, but he knew what was going on, and that ticks me off. Working in business has jaded me a bit, and I know if K hadn't brought this to the forefront, it'd still be backburnered. Why? Pinterest had nothing to lose by delaying any action. It may have been nice for Ben to call K, but it was also damage control. Her article was getting too much traction.

        I do like Pinterest, and I hope Ben figures it out. But until he does, I'm not pinning. And I wrote in my profile why so that my followers can read it too. The impetus to make changes will lose urgency if people continue pinning. I don't mean to sound cynical, I'm just being a realist. I'm glad to read that I was not the only one who felt suspicious about the whole thing, b/c everyone around me was telling me I was paranoid. Of course, they also told me that when I told them the market was going to crash in the 4th quarter of 2008. And we know how that turned out. :-)

        I'm sooo grateful to K!!!

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  11. by Donna on March 1, 2012  5:01 pm

    Whew.....did he serve magic koolaid to you? One meeting and you are a glowing evangelist!

    Pinterest is promoting the stealing of copyrighted images.
    Pinterest will someday figure out a way to make money off the site...and not give one penny to any of it to all the copyright holders who have had their copyrights violated.

    • by kirsten on March 1, 2012  7:28 pm

      Haha Donna. I might like some magic koolaid. Not a "glowing evangelist" by any means -- just a person who is hopeful that this guy will figure it out so that I can use one of my favorite sites again without risk or guilt and most certainly without interfering with the livelihood of other artists!

  12. by Sivje Parish on March 1, 2012  5:41 pm

    Kirsten, thank you for both the original article and the update. I am still so confused by the discouragement to post my own images, but the legal rights to only pin my images. I hope your buddy Ben (that is so cool!!!) clears that up. There is so much I need to learn about the Internet and techy stuff, and I am always grateful for good information.
    I love Pinterest. Not only have I gotten custom orders for my sewing work, but my family has benefitted from the access to new recipes. I hope Ben and his developers and attorneys continue to build Pinterest into a safe place of sharing and inspiration.
    Thank you again,

  13. by Rhonda W. on March 1, 2012  7:22 pm

    Wow! I'm impressed. Thank you for your hard work and using your brain to interpret and explain what those legal terms mean. My ADHD brain can't get past the first few paragraphs of legalese. If I was expecting a call from Mr. Silbermann (or rather Ben to you) I think I would have to drink the entire bottle of wine just to relax. I'm laughing at myself because I can't count how many times I have sat at my computer wishing I could get a job pinning stuff. Now I realize that job offer will never come considering all the legalities.

    I've often thought about copyright and credits. I reasoned if clicking on a picture links me to the original website who would mind? Especially if they're running a business. It's free advertising. I also reasoned out "how can millions of pinners be wrong?" When I first began on Pinterest I pinned anything. But now if a picture doesn't bring me to a site of origin I don't pin it. But after reading your article I'm hesitating a bit more. Just can't bring myself to delete anything yet.

    Also, thanks for clarifying that you don't mind us pinning your pics. I did pin your pic of a baby in a blue blanket with a link to your site under comments. It's a beautiful picture and I like looking at it. I like pinning businesses because it's a type of Rolodex for me so I don't have to bookmark every page I like. Every time my computer has crashed I lost all my bookmarks and trying to remember all 350 sites is impossible. On Pinterest I know it's safe. I don't want to use Google for my bookmarks because I can't stand the way they track us and make algorithms. If you want me to delete my pin of your baby pic please let me know.

    I don't know why photographers/stylists are saying that it is wrong etiquette to pin your own work. If I could take beautiful pictures like you I would pin them too. I've pinned a couple of my own cards that I've made. What is wrong with that? I think showing your work isn't bragging, it's about promoting your business. If promoting your business is wrong then why are there 20 minutes of commercials in a 1-hour show? Why are there ads alongside of the computer screen on facebook and blogs. It's all about promotion and making others aware of your product.

    Well, I decided to bookmark you in case we all receive a cease and desist for using Pinterest. :)

    • by William Long on March 2, 2012  5:10 am

      Rhonda - I can assure you that I would mind it people pinned my work, as it gives Pinterest the right to then sell my image - no thanks.

      Sure if people choose to pin their own work, and agree and accept that Pinterest can go on and make money out of the work that they they've just given to Pinterest - if that makes people happy - fine. But I dont want to have to add code for every Tom Dick and Harry that comes out with a great business plan that relies on the innocence of others, and clearly ignores International Agreements - for instance in this case The Berne Convention - Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works :

      • by eve on March 6, 2012  2:21 am

        William, are you watermarking your work? If you do, then how could it be sold? Why would anyone want to buy an image with a watermark on it? I guess if you're posting your work on the internet without such protection then you would have a reason to be worried. It seems to make sense though for anyone to watermark the work they are posting online. Pinterest is a great tool for SEO and marketing. I think this is all much ado about nothing.

        • by Ben on August 22, 2012  7:34 am


          Re: watermarking- Most photographers, myself included, don't glaringly watermark, as it truly diminishes the interest in an image, and often times reflects poorly on the work of the photographer for no other reason that there is his/her name right in the middle of the image.

          I watermark in one of the lower corners or vertically beginning at the right lower corner. These can be stripped by merely opening up windows image viewer or paint. It's a tough for those of us using a Mac, bit still is not hard.

          the EXIF (metadata) are coded into the image, but unless that information is protected, anyone with a copy of Opanda can alter the metadata to the point they could even claim copyright by modifying the metadata.

          Watermarking looks nice, and keeps honest people honest. Doesnt do a thing to deter those who would rather steal one of my images rathen than investing the time and effort into making their own, which might be much better than the one they want to steal from me.

          Best Regards,

          MonocheomrB Studios

    • by Mel on March 9, 2012  4:02 am

      Rhonda, some info for you so you don't have to worry about losing bookmarks again. It's called Xmarks. You can not only synchronize bookmarks across browsers, and computers, but you can upload your bookmarks to their server, so if your computer crashes, or you get a new one, you will be able to download all your bookmarks again.

      Believe me, that has always been one of the worst things for me...losing the bookmarks. It took me years to find Xmarks and I rest much easier now. It's a jewel I wouldn't want to live without. Cheers.

      P.S. I have absolutely no association with the company other than being a product user. :-)

  14. by Merrie' Scriber on March 1, 2012  7:25 pm

    Great job ! I wondered about the legalities and haven't signed up myself.

    "he asked ME for MY suggestions." you're a lawyer; wouldn't that be considered legal advice? I guess it was off the record??? hmmmm....

    I think it's case of don't do this (pin your own work) and don't do that (pin someone else's), but as long as you don't tell, we won't ask? hmmm....

  15. Pingback : » Blog Archive » PS to my “Pinterest – Love It and Do It Right” Post

  16. Pingback : How Pinterest is like Napster, and why I deleted my account. » Rebecca Ellison Photography

  17. by Stephanie on March 1, 2012  10:56 pm

    I would LOVE to reach out to Ben and share some thoughts - as a photog and a UI/UX designer for a startup, I have some thoughts that I'd like to share.

    I'm so pleased that presenting cohesive thoughts and sparking discussion on the internet resulted in a bit of action. Love it!

  18. by Vicky on March 2, 2012  12:25 am

    I found that an amazing article and I think the Watermark idea in the interim would be great.

  19. Pingback : Tonja's Polyclay Corner » Blog Archive » To Pin Or Not To Pin?? I Choose Not …… for now. (updated*)

  20. by sharon on March 2, 2012  1:27 am

    Thanks Kristin!
    your blog is super fun to read and informative, and educational!! Look forward for more... i guess of your date with Ben =D

  21. by William Long on March 2, 2012  5:04 am

    Thats good - but.........

    1).did you ask him why they want the right to sell the work thats pinned ?

    Odd thing to want

    2). why they strip the metadata from what is pinned when its uploaded to the website ?

    deliberately removing the originators name from the metadata

    I'm sorry but I dont quite buy the innocence.

    Oh and thats good, blame the person who uploaded the image as its their legal responsibility when Pinterest go on to sell the image.

    While it may be great site, its going to rely in the main on users posting other peoples intellectual property - did anyone say "Napster" - which for the record (scuse the pun), IP holders ie record companies spent a great deal of time and effort chasing those who not only provided the system but also those who used the system - yep 26 million users were proved to be wrong - unfortunate but true:

    In 2000, A&M Records and several other recording companies, via the RIAA, sued Napster (A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc.) for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).[18] The music industry made the following claims against Napster:

    That its users were directly infringing the plaintiffs' copyrights.
    That Napster was liable for contributory infringement of the plaintiffs' copyrights.
    That Napster was liable for vicarious infringement of the plaintiffs' copyrights.

    • by Mel on March 9, 2012  4:16 am

      I'm with you William, I don't buy any innocence on Ben's part...not at all. In fact, I actively distrust & dislike him b/c he knew exactly what he was doing when he hired copyright lawyers and allowed those TOU. It's not until K pointed out the dangers, and it got traction on the web, and people began deleting their boards that he stepped up. This is self-preservation and desire for success on his part; nothing altruistic. I like the idea of Pinterest and hope they get some ethics so I can use it. But when they do, the credit goes to K & those who listened to her & took action, not to Ben's good heart. Just calling a spade a spade.

  22. by Kimi Boustany on March 2, 2012  5:04 am

    This is so wonderful that a social media site was concerned and listened to the people that choose to embrace it. Now ,if only Mark would take away that double page FB wall. All would be right with the world. =)


  23. by Lorraine on March 2, 2012  3:00 pm

    Your original post and this one really clarified things for me. I did delete my account and I know many friends and family who did also. I love Pinterest and can still enjoy looking. Plus, as I have done for years, I can still make private inspiration boards. I keep them on my computer and I can look at them anytime I want to. The big issue here is the PUBLIC SHARING aspect, correct? I don't really need to share my pics as they are for MY inspiration only. The Pin It idea made things very convenient but it can still work privately as far as I can see......but I'm no lawyer....just a blogger Mom.

  24. by Nancy Jones on March 2, 2012  3:30 pm

    I reposted this as to hopefully let some see this, and maybe it will help ease some of the thoughts on pinterest. I LOVE pinterest. You know all the health issues. As so many others have as well. I am sure some feel the same way that I do. There are many nights that I can't sleep (days too) and I can't just take pain medications due to the chemicals and from so much nerve damage. I use a lot of distraction therapy and breathing etc. Pinterest has really really been GREAT (maybe because it is new, but I really feel it is because of the ENDLESS ideas all in one place and the fact its easier for to use) So I was really getting depressed at the thought my new found strategy may be leaving. I hated seeing all the negative posts and people making you feel guilty for using pinterest. Although I from the beginning felt kinda ... STRANGE about the art part of it. I did refrain always from posting those. I always asked questions about the etiquette. Would hope someone would tell me with care if I had misused it because it would be from not knowing. MOST people that is why. (I give benefit of the doubt ... the first time)
    I know this may sound like a small drop in the bucket compared to the copy rights etc. that the others were facing and having had someone use work and put it on Ebay (NOT claiming to be a professional but it was really a bad situation) and refusing to take it down. I kinda get what they were saying. So I could see BOTH SIDES. I am glad they are taking it seriously and are trying to do something about it. I really hate to see it go away. I enjoy it, It is more than just entertainment, inspiration or a place to get ideas for me. It literally as you could say is medicine? My daughter and I spend a little time since I don't get to take her a lot of places and do things with her like most moms, we get to go to different places, design her rooms, plan parties, go where her imagination will take her. All from my laptop on the couch, or in my bed depending on which day it is. So I am grateful to them for creating such a site for people such as myself. I know it is used for all sorts of things. Ya, even the few out there that use it for bad things. There are some out there though that it helps to make it through that next hour or min of their life just a little easier. SO THANK YOU. I hope they can make the changes needed to keep it for everyone to be happy.

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  26. by Desirae on March 2, 2012  8:18 pm

    After reading your first article about this issue, my response was to delete my photography inspiration board and any other pins I had that linked back to anything someone is selling (patterns, crafts on etsy, etc) that I might try to make on my own. Granted, I still am a DIY-er and may make some of these things on my own based on the images, for my own personal use. But I felt better about not sharing the idea to do that with others and possibly taking sales away from these artists (however indirectly it may be). I will also admit, these actions were a little out of fear after reading comments on the web about this issue - the thought of a photographer or online merchant contacting me regarding my pin and their copyright, etc scares me.

    I did keep all my tutorial and design pins, because I think there are many many things on the Internet for the intent purpose of sharing ideas. There are some tricky things about Pinterest that bother me, so I appreciate your views and research regarding it. For now, I'll pin away, keeping in mind to keep other peoples' hard work off of my boards.

  27. by Linda Rosso on March 2, 2012  8:53 pm

    Way to go, Kirsten! I would like to put a link to your blog in an update to my readers. May I?

  28. by Angela on March 2, 2012  8:57 pm

    I agree with Nancy, Pinterest gives me the ability to go places, design rooms and come up with wonderful recipes, but most of all photography inspiration . I can sit and view these pics for hours. I am not able to get out a lot , so Pintetest is like exploring the world. I really hope they work it all out. I would so hate to lose something that brings me so much joy.

  29. by Trishia Jacobs on March 2, 2012  9:04 pm

    Tell Ben Baby to call me:) Here's my idea: when we do that waiting part to receive our "invitation" to his site, perhaps what they should do is say, While you're waiting, consider our terms and the IMPORTANCE of crediting sources, linking to the original owner/poster, etc. Before you can be a card-carrying Pinner you have to agree to these terms or risk being sued. This needs to be done to teach people how to use the internet. Someone said to me: If it's on the Internet, it's out there for the taking. NOT!
    All legalities aside, did Ben also discuss how he/Pinterest claim THEIR right to resell anything posted? That's just wrong.
    We are teaching people to click, copy, paste, share, like -- but not think!!! I came across a lovely vintage portrait of a queen. A commenter wrote: How I wish I knew who she was. I would so love to know her story. Well, duh, if she had just clicked on the picture, it actually was linked to the source on Flickr where the woman was identified as a Queen of Romania.
    I sell digital scans of antique French postcards that I buy and restore/alter. I get so tired of folks saying "It's copyright free" as if that gives them freedom to steal my images. HOW do 'copyright free' images become available if someone didn't BUY them, invest their time and money in sharing them. To ask a meager recompense for that investment is only fair. There's a big difference between copyright free and free:) Thanks for letting me rant.

  30. by meeshka on March 2, 2012  9:15 pm

    WOW! Thanks for sharing that chat with Ben. It gives me hope that he says he really wants to address these issues. I love Pinterest and have been reading the concerns, but still active on the site. Best, ~meeshka

  31. by Natalie on March 2, 2012  9:30 pm

    SO awesome of him to take time and give you a call and listen to your thoughts and ideas (even IF he has heard them before) Shows a lot of who he is. So, I love Pinterest even more now!!

  32. by Gwen on March 2, 2012  10:05 pm

    I just wanted to say that I think it's awesome that he called you, and had an open-minded conversation. :) Thanks for both blog posts, they sure have people talking!

  33. by Corey on March 2, 2012  10:05 pm

    Kirsten, I took my inspiration boards down, too, but found an alternative. I use Evernote now to store all the images on the internet that I find interesting. The compunction to "share" what my inspirations are seemed to be getting in the way of actually "using" the inspiration as a tool for my own work... I wasn't accomplishing anything. Instead, I was feeling I was somehow creating a sense of false accomplishment by posting my research and not really doing anything with it.

    In thinking about it a bit more, I realized that it's really great to share things I like but not at the expense of someone's else's hard work, especially if they're not credited or given a chance to have their say on whether they want it shared. In essence, I was letting my own desires and needs override theirs. And that was, I felt, sorta mean... I didn't want to be that kind of person.

    So now, I save all the images I like into a private file so I can still use them but without feeling guilty about illegally sharing them. To me they're a brush, or glue, or a piece of fabric---tools to use for inspiration so I can create my own wonderful stuff that moves beyond it's original influences.

    Otherwise, is Pinterest really at heart about the work that's being shared at all? Isn't it about how wonderful we all as the "collectors" of the images? And isn't that a bit... oh, I dunno... egoistic? In essence?

    It's been said that Facebook really isn't about what we post, it's about what responses we get to our posts. We want to know what others think about what us.

    Do we really need yet another site that demonstrates how wonderful we all are, but this time lets us do it by stealing other people's images and hard work? Seems wrong to me...

    • by Mel on March 9, 2012  4:26 am

      Corey, you said it so well. I've only been on Pinterest a few weeks, and I found myself falling into the pattern you mentioned, "sharing" rather than "using". I felt an unease but couldn't put my finger on it until reading your post.

      Btw, I've used Evernote and it is good. But I just read in one of the other posts on here about a service called "Clipix" that the poster said was like Pinterest but w/o the sharing aspect. I'm ecstatic about an alternative since I've now gone off Pinterest, and will be checking it out later tonight. Cheers.

  34. by Jeanie on March 2, 2012  11:10 pm

    He asked if he can call you! My Pinterest crush just got bigger. I read your last post and was sad that people were encouraging others to opt out. Pinterest had helped me to 'come out' with my love of pretty images and images of pretty things. My photo library no longer felt like a dirty little secret. Your last post prompted me to write this post in response....

  35. by Arlene Carmel on March 3, 2012  1:47 am

    I felt I needed to share this with you. My husband is an attorney too and after reading what you wrote, he strongly suggested I take down my boards and delete my account on Pinterest. I was hoping he would tell me not to worry about it. So.....I wrote to Pinterest and the powers that be. Below is the string of e-mail. I can tell you I am pleased they contacted you as promised in their e-mail. Start at the bottom and scroll up.

    Aaron, Mar 02 16:57 (PST):
    Hi -

    You wrote to Pinterest expressing concerns related to a blog post at

    For your reference, the author has written a follow-up after speaking with our CEO:

    We hope this helps with your concerns,

    Pinterest - Community Specialist

    Aaron, Feb 28 16:49 (PST):
    Thanks for writing in with your concerns. We are aware of some confusion with our terms of service, and are working on making our terms of use - and our intentions - more clear. Rest assured, we are listening, and we are committed to making our passion for content discovery beneficial to everyone, including both users and the creators of the content we love so much.

    In addition, our CEO will be speaking with the writer of this post personally to clear up the confusion.

    Thank you for your patience.

    Pinterest - Community Specialist

    Arlenenc99, Feb 27 16:38 (PST):
    I am very concerned after reading the following post. After reading this, can you tell my why I should feel safe continuing pining of my boards or even remaining a member. I have enjoyed this site and have encouraged friends on Etsy and FAA to create boards. I feel like I have been duped. Has this organization done it's research to protect their members? this post says, are we in jeopardy of being sued by any disgruntled artist out there?

  36. by Belinda on March 3, 2012  2:25 am

    Thank you for taking the time to write not only part one, but also this follow up.

    I too am rooting for Pinterest, but in the meantime I have deleted my account in order to avoid problems altogether. Looking forward to creating a new account once the issues have been resolved. =)

  37. by Stacey on March 3, 2012  2:29 am

    So happy that someone spoke to Pinterest/Ben. It's been the one question that I ask every time someone throws mud at Pinterest on Twitter or via their blogs... and this is the first post I've seen that has even mentioned sending a simple email.

    Nothing is perfect. I certainly don't expect Pinterest to be. I'm much more willing to let them grow at their own pace now that we know a bit more of the behind-the-green-curtain workings. I don't expect that Pinterest (Ben et al) thought they'd grow as fast as they have in the last few months, and while that's wonderful that they have, a sudden growth spurt like this is guaranteed to show the cracks and/or ugly bits.

    So, Kristen, thank you for this. And thanks to Ben and Pinterest for taking note and wanting to fix the problem rather than sitting back and waiting for something (ie. lawsuit) to happen.

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  39. by Andrea Hurley on March 3, 2012  3:07 am

    I'm in love with and addicted to Pinterest but I'd like to see these things happen VERY quickly so that I don't also have to tearfully delete all my pins.

    1.No ability to right click and save pins.
    2.No ability to upload pins; linked images only!
    3.All pins are automatically and irreversibly linked to the original pin site.
    4. No ' permissions granted to sell my work'! (I was oblivious to that one before)

    Dear Ben, I hope you're listening to all this advice!

  40. by Darcy Michaelchuk on March 3, 2012  3:21 am

    Great write-ups and interview. As a photographer, I will wait until the terms are changed before rejoining Pinterest. If not for the terms, I thought it was a very nice service.

  41. by Dixie Redmond on March 3, 2012  3:41 am

    I really HOPE that Ben & Company can work this out so that people don't feel like they're giving away their copyright in order to pin things to Pinterest. I went a little pin-crazy (yes, wild times in Bangor, Maine), and don't want to delete my great boards but am feeling a bit like maybe I should. TOS's shoudn't be written in lawyer language, as it's typically not just lawyers using sites like this. It should be in simple, unambiguous langauge.

    I hope it can work out. I love Pinterest.


  42. by Monica on March 3, 2012  4:10 am

    Can you ask Ben to please give me the option of who follows me? I hate having my competitors watch what I pin. It has had me so flustered that I gave up on Pinterest months ago. I just wish I had some privacy as well.

  43. by Carolyn on March 3, 2012  4:34 am

    Thanks for the update!
    I hope there's a way to make things all 'legal'.. i guess I don't understand how it's any different than a bookmark.
    Maybe if there weren't an option to re-pin so people would have to click the pin to go to its original source and pin it from there. It's not stealing a photo, right? it's just bookmarking it with an image icon.. publicly. So I thought

  44. by Kay Perret on March 3, 2012  10:07 am

    I didn't read through any of the comments, so someone else may have done this, too. I did figure out a way to pin both of your blog posts on this topic. You said it would be ok to share the link, so I created a board called "Will I be sued for pinning?" and the only way I could pin the links was to pin your logo - twice. Once with the link to the first post and once with the link to the second one. Maybe others will be curious and click your logo. Guess that's about the only way they'll see the links...

    Thanks to Grace Bonney for posting the link to this blog on Design Sponge. And thank you for doing the research and raising the issue in a way that a 'regular person' can understand.

    (btw, since Corey's comment is right above mine I did read it, and I have to agree with him. Although I haven't taken my pinboards down - yet.)

  45. by Katie on March 3, 2012  1:30 pm

    Wow Kirst! Just read this. You are amazing! I of course just signed up for Pinterest this week. I'm always the last to know. I always knew you would turn out famous!

  46. by Mary Ellen on March 3, 2012  2:08 pm

    Maybe I am simplifying this too much, but if a website puts a "pin it" button on a page, doesn't that give me permission to use their photo? The selling part is what really gives me pause.

  47. by Kristen on March 3, 2012  3:08 pm

    This makes me really happy. I knew that the heart and soul behind Pinterest was all about doing the "right" thing. This proves it. Thanks for sharing!

  48. by Paula on March 3, 2012  4:11 pm

    Thanks for the update. I hope to see some changes soon. I have not pinned anything since I read the details of the terms that someone else had posted before I saw yours too and won't until I feel safe in doing so.

  49. by Gary on March 3, 2012  4:58 pm

    As far as I am concern what Ben needs to grasp can be stated in 30 seconds. And I'll skip the man crush date part. ;o)

    1 - Drop the whole we get to sell your images line from their TOS. Be creative make your money some other way.
    2 - If you have to make a copy of people's images and put them on your server, make them small, you'd have a hard time convincing most of us you need anything else. And you'll probably pass fair use battles in court.
    3 - Make the attribution of each image "UNMISTAKEABLE"...don't leave it to chance that someone on your site won't know where the image came from.

    Those three simple principles will solve 90% of your problems at the moment, and the other 10% need to strap a chastity belt on their images and hide them in a closet.

  50. by Amy Locurto on March 3, 2012  7:02 pm

    I had one of those Pinterest concerned posts that went haywire like yours. Don't you love the hate mail? Ha! But, Ben didn't call me. I think that's great you got to voice your concerns with him in person. Gives people like me some hope who have images taken from our blogs or Pinterest's popular section and used without our permission on someone else's blog to get Pinterest traffic.

    I don't know what he can do about the people that mis-use Pinterest to gain traffic/money. But hopefully he can make some sort of changes to help the people who do create original crafts, photos and designs get the credit they deserve, not some other site who takes your images without asking to make a few bucks. Right now I have so many photos all over Pinterest that are being sourced to other's and not myself. It would take months to go through each one to report. It makes me sad that other people are taking the credit and it never gets back to the original source. I hope Pinterest does their best to educate other's in how to use their site correctly.

    Thanks for taking the time to write your articles!

  51. by Sharon Kurlansky on March 4, 2012  1:08 am

    Creatives: Here's the Pinterest agenda to monetize the site: They are about to offer a service to print the content on your boards.

    Who's content is it really? You did the pinning of considerable content you do not have copyright for. That is the problem with their terms of use and potential conflicts regarding copyright infringements.

    Pinning products is likely not a problem, but pinning content that is linked to intellectual property rights certainly is. I'm out, (though I've kept a few pins on books worth reading.)

    • by Mel on March 9, 2012  4:59 am

      Sharon ~ THANK YOU! Now the reason for owning all the pinned content becomes clear. I knew there was a reason they wanted ownership of all pinned content (unlike others, I don't see Ben & the copyright lawyers in a benevolent light). Now it becomes clear...phase one of their business plan. All set up and ready to go...and wonderful for a user. But horrible for all those people whose content is getting ripped off. Seeing that it's set up and ready to go, it is as I thought...K put the brakes on by alerting the users to the troubling aspects of the site. And since there are still decent people in the world who do the right thing, Boards got deleted and Ben had to do something. I'm even more convinced of this after reading another poster who also tried to alert users, but the effect wasn't as powerful or widespread (and she wasn't a lawyer), so Ben did nothing.

      K, you're our own little Superhero. For realsies.

      And Sharon, thanks again for the link. Cheers.

  52. by Hentender on March 4, 2012  4:20 am

    A thousand thanks. 'nuff said.

  53. by Jess Peterson on March 4, 2012  5:01 am

    Great article.... I just wish someone would explain what the whole point of Pinterest is. I still don't get it. I have an account, but nothing there, so no boards to delete.

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  55. by Jill Davis on March 4, 2012  4:30 pm

    Hi Kirsten,
    Thank you so much for the time, thought & effort you have put into both of these posts. I am glad that Ben contacted you to discuss your (our) concerns, even if they are things that he & his lawyers should have thought of sooner! ;)

    I'm a photographer who just hadn't gotten around to participating in Pinterest yet, but now I'm watching the discussions to see when things change. I see two different concerns:

    1. Your posts focus on the copyright infringement risk as it applies to other users. As far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't mind if other users shared my images as something they like (assuming they provide proper credit!) It might be considered "publishing" in the old sense, but let's face it, this is a new, digital, social, sharing world. I think posting someone else's photo on your pinterest board is equivalent to fair use as you described in the first post. "purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright." - 17 U.S.C. §107
    Making the origin of an item more clear & unmistakable (as Gary said above), would be a huge improvement, though.

    Now, what I do have a big problem with is the fact that posting anything, whether it is my creation or someone else's, transfers copyright TO PINTEREST!
    From their terms of use:
    "By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, *modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services."
    Totally unacceptable! I realize that this might just be CYA lawyer talk, and they have no actual intention of selling my Member Content on the next Pinterest t-shirt line without giving me credit, asking my permission, or paying me a fair fee for the use of the image. But it really makes me uncomfortable, and I don't want to expose my own work or anyone else's to that possibility.

    So, if Ben calls you again, please ask about that, too? ;)

    • by kirsten on March 5, 2012  5:44 pm

      We did talk about that actually and I feel pretty sure changes to that language are coming soon.
      The way I read that language though is that the license granted to Pinterest is simply to allow them to use the content "on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services" -- i.e, just ON Pinterest.
      I'm anxiously awaiting to see what their lawyers think about this and what changes they make.

    • by Michelle Hernandez on March 5, 2012  7:55 pm

      Yes I second everything stated here 100%!
      I don't mind the sharing one tiny bit- it's great to see other people like my work!
      I DON"T like that Pinterest retains the right to "license, sub-license, sell and other wise exploit" my scrapbook projects- I can't even IMAGINE how threatening this must be to a professional who lives off the work they produce and deserves ALL CREDIT and ALL PROFIT from their labor.
      I don't see what lawyer in his right mind would think writing this into a User's Agreement would go unnoticed for long especially since most Pinterest members are not directly pinning their own work!
      Ben- we are watching and waiting. GET TO IT!
      Thank you Kirsten for bringing this issue to my awareness! Great comment Jill!

  56. by Jill Davis on March 4, 2012  4:32 pm

    Hey Kirsten,
    I just re-read my previous post, and would you mind putting a 2. in from of "Now, what I do have..."

    Jill (aka, grammar geek)

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  58. by Michele on March 5, 2012  5:32 pm

    I feel better now. Please Pinterest, make it work for everyone.

  59. by heather on March 5, 2012  5:37 pm

    Great blog post and how cool that Ben from Pinterest called you!! I will also be anxiously awaiting the changes :)

  60. by Michelle Hernandez on March 5, 2012  7:47 pm

    YES! This is fantastic to read. I wrote up my own tiny scrapbook hobby related blog post which had limited viewership in support of your call to action. I am more worried about my personal family images being sold in some possible future than getting sued as I am just 1 of a million users. I LOVE Pinterest as a concept but believe they an an image based Napster.
    I will follow you blog now to see if there are updates on this story. Ben should be VERY AWARE that content providers will hold him accountable to what he said to you. By the way- talk about legal butt covering!! If he decides not to make any changes he can just claim you took his words out of context!
    I would rather he say something in public with an actual DATE for change attached but hey- I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for a few weeks. But just a few weeks Ben- time is TICKING.

  61. by Sarah Tew on March 6, 2012  12:49 am

    Ben, if you're reading these comments, you can call me. I've got some feedback for you...

    1. change the terms so that you aren't reserving the right to sell or license images that have been pinned. I also think it's outlandish that you're asking people who might get sued to indemnify Pinterest and pay for it's defense. I would hire you the cheapest shittiest lawyer i could find, frankly.

    2. STOP stripping the metadata: Most photographers have embedded their name and website in the copyright field of their photos. If you simply put a field for this information under each photo pinned, many of us would feel MUCH better about having people pin our work because there would automatically be a link to our own site whether or not the image was found and pinned from tumblr or some other blog or wherever... we would get some traffic from having our images on pinterest and this would be a benefit that could outweigh some of the reservations expressed. FACEBOOK does this-- when my wedding clients post a picture from their archival disc the caption automatically populates with my copyright information and my website link. If facebook can do it so can you.

    3. make a private pinning option. and please clarify somewhere in the terms if when you "like" something it is being classified the same way in terms of liability or rights-grab. if you won't make a private pinning option then make classifiable 'like' boards/sets so people can keep their liked items organized for themselves (because liking, to my understanding, is private, no?)

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  63. by Rachel on March 6, 2012  5:30 pm

    Look what you started! A string of folks in a scurry to delete their boards and a fling with Pinterest's founder. :) I appreciate the concerns you brought up in your original post; it made me take a better look at the items I pin on my board, and as a blogger, consider the ways I can protect my images (but I personally love when they get pinned). But I appreciate even more the time Ben Silbermann took to address your concerns! He sounds like a smart and savvy businessman to me. Hope he calls you back. ;)

    Thanks, again, for prompting these concerns and bringing them to light and for this gracious follow-up post.

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  66. by Charlotte on March 6, 2012  10:20 pm

    Good for you for trying to help the situation! Here's a thought I am sure twelve thousand other people have had before me... for people like me who aren't professionals and don't mind if my personal blog pictures get pinned but might have some preferences as to what gets pinned and what doesn't, why not write a code that allows a prewritten message from the site owner to pop up upon attempted pinning stating "please don't pin pictures of my children, my husband, my dog or my great aunt's tombstone (true story!)". Just a thought.

  67. by Sam on March 7, 2012  3:53 am

    Please see the comments under the ABA article on this post. Your legal analysis of fair use needs works.

    • by kirsten on March 7, 2012  4:00 pm

      This was a blog post to alert my photog followers of my concerns. It was not intended to be a law review article. Frankly, I was shocked the ABA Journal picked it up.
      Fair Use is a far too complicated legal analysis for a post on my photography blog. If you read the post, you will see that I acknowledge that the four factors need to be weighed and that there is an abundance of case law on the issue. I don't think that any attorney can sit there today and say for sure that every use of Pinterest will constitute Fair Use. If they are giving that advice to the general public they are doing a disservice. On the same note, I am not advising anyone that it WON'T be Fair Use. What I was trying to get across is that I think it is risky.

  68. by Chef Dennis on March 7, 2012  4:01 pm

    I am so happy to hear you say all of this, because I truly enjoy Pinterest, but your last post scared the hell out of me!

    As a food blogger we still have issues with the number of charactors they allow, where some pinners are pinning our recipes with our images....we love pinterest but if everyone does that, who is going to visit our blogs?

    I'm glad you and Ben had a good talk and I look forward to seeing the changes so we can all go on having fun pinning images!


  69. by Barbara Rosenzweig on March 8, 2012  12:46 am

    Thanks so much, Kristen, for bringing up these concerns to Ben ( I feel now like I almost know him through you!). I hope that he follows through, which it seems like he might.

    Even though I am a watercolor artist, I have the same issues about posting my work. I have been advised to put watermarks on the photos of my paintings. I've avoided them so far because many people will not consider buying work if they see the watermarks (even when it notes that they will not appear on their prints!).

    Thanks Sarah Tew, too! You've laid out the basic problems that need to be addressed.

    Hope that we see some positive results soon!

  70. by Ed Downes on March 9, 2012  2:42 am

    I saw your earlier posts and checked their Terms of Use and I agreed wholeheartedly. I am not a lawyer, but I am a contract analyst. I am also a former artist and now a frustrated creative spirit reading fine print on contracts 8 hrs a day. I shared your post on Facebook and deleted all of my inspiration boards, which I was really getting into and sadly said goodbye. I was hoping to gather enough inspiration to find that creative niche I so desperately seek. I emailed Pinterest and received an immediate response (which I also shared on Facebook). Aaron assured me Pinterest was listening and seeking a solution that would satisfy their users. We I checked in with Aaron, he shared your post above. I did not delete my Pinterest account, but committed myself to not pin anything until the terms of use was more "user friendly" and provided some assurance it would not end up in Napster-esque scenario. I do not have time to search the source for every image that inspired me (I had over 1000 pins on my boards). My hats off to you and BRAVO for speaking up! The concept of Pinterest is ingenious and can truly be a great tool for creative folks, from chefs, to crafters, to seamstresses, designers, party planners, artists, illustrators, photographers...I hope they can make Pinterest the site they intended it to be.

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  73. by Emma Smith on March 10, 2012  8:27 am

    Hi Kirsten,

    I'm interested to see what kind of boards you did choose to keep on your Pinterest account out of curiosity, where can you be found? I also have a few photography inspiration boards that I'm now thinking about getting rid of, but equally worried about the other boards I have - for things like handy home and DIY ideas... :(


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  76. by Athena on March 12, 2012  8:09 am

    Thank you so much for the update and information. Most of all thanks for the great laugh I had while enjoying your post, I laughed tears! :D Hope you get another call ;)

  77. by Stephanie on March 13, 2012  1:08 am

    The guy's from Des Moines, Iowa. Iowans are humble nice people! I went to college there and I tell everyone how great Iowans are and how the Pinterest founder is from Des Moines. Whoo! :)

  78. Pingback : Could Pinterest become the next Napster? | PINTEREST MAKE MONEY

  79. by India Drummond on March 13, 2012  8:42 am

    After reading your article and a few others like it last week, I also deleted my Pinterest account. I realised that by pinning other people's photos, I was violating copyright. So many people assuming if an image is on the internet, it's free. I should have known better when I signed up in the first place, but it was a case of "everyone's doing it, so it must be okay."

    Although I'm glad Pinterest is reworking their terms, I can't see that anything Ben said addresses the core problem: the posting of images that belong to someone else.

  80. by Mark Holland on March 13, 2012  8:42 am

    The problem is that all of you are posting images you don't own. I'd be nervous too if I did that. When did people start thinking this was OK?

    • by Liz McLellan on March 22, 2012  7:23 pm

      The net is built on linking to original sources...that's the whole point. If I write a paper on baboon behavior I like to all the work I reference on baboon behavior. It's not nefarious - not even when I try to sell my book. The law is struggling to catch has been struggling for 25 years. The answers are not as straight forward as people think....

      The net has yet to figure out how to properly compensate content creators. It should be embedded in the link to be honest. Any time someone links to your creative output you should get paid automatically.

  81. by Jen Renninger on March 13, 2012  6:10 pm

    I'm wondering what you think of the ownership conflict that comes up with you posting your own images to Pinterest.

    Say you post an image and Pinterest then turns around and sells the rights to that image ( as their terms seem to say they can do). What then?

    It seems like their terms are also basically giving them the right to turn into the next Getty images if they should so desire.

    What do you think?

    • by kirsten on March 13, 2012  9:11 pm

      Hi Jen. I don't read Pinterest's terms to mean that they can turn around and sell the images and I don't think that's what they intended. The provision you are referring to says at the end "only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services" which, I guess could technically mean they could sell the image on the site for use on the site but that doesn't seem to make much sense as the images are already on the site for free use by anyone using it. Also, Ben was pretty clear when we spoke that he never intended to be able to sell other people's images that are pinned and that this specific term of use would be modified shortly to clear up the confusion surrounding this language. We shall see....

  82. by Gloria Reiss on March 13, 2012  8:04 pm

    I would love to share my work in order to get more business but as it is for sale I don't intend for it to be passed about freely on Pinterest if I can't control it. I think Pinterest could work on a right click disable so work could be shared but in order to download or print it the user would have to go back to the source and buy a copy. Copyright is MY right as an artist and so is the income I derive from my work. I doubt that anyone else who wants a free copy is willing to work for free, or to let me have the check that they earned from whatever they do. If my images are so good that everyone wants a copy then I should maintain the right to sell them on my Smugmug site, and the plus side of that is the site has a great printing co who will professionally print and send out the print in the size and format of the buyers choice. I do not have a pin me button on the site or my FB fanpage and won't until this is cleared up. And just for everyone elses information, I do not pin other photographers work for any reason since I don't want to give their work away either.

  83. by Janene on March 13, 2012  10:04 pm

    Fantastic follow up to your original post! I'm an artist who found Pinterest extremely helpful particularly with working remotely with my design partner. Our ability to co-create digital trend boards during skype sessions was genius. I am curious to know why the same rules don't apply with regards to our Facebook pages? We can post images, videos, etc. belonging to others there as well. I hope it all works out so I can get back to pinning and I'll be sure to check out your work!

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  85. by Annalea on March 14, 2012  11:59 pm

    It looks like Pinterest might survive this whole thing after all. Good move, Ben. Just don't put language in your TOS that allows Pinterest to sell the images pinned. That really chaps, ya know? Pinterest is for my own use, to remember things . . . it's not offering those images up for resale. (I have a feeling that all photographers out there would heartily agree!)

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  89. by Annalea on March 16, 2012  3:26 am

    Just a few cheeky thoughts your post sparked in my somewhat frazzled mommy brain.

    Have a great weekend!

  90. Pingback : Social Media Marketing: Pinning Copyright Issues on Pinterest, and Stories You May Have Missed | Splash Media

  91. by Alison Bennett on March 17, 2012  12:34 pm

    Way TO GO! I have seen so many articles on other people's blogs about Pinterest and the dangers and it has made me very aware of what I pin and even what I copy and post to my Facebook account. Reading your blog about your conversation with Ben Silbermann and has strengthened my faith in Pinterest and their mission to make it safe for all of it's users. I am so glad you decided to be proactive and get in contact with him. WAY TO GO!

  92. by pansy cottage girl on March 17, 2012  4:34 pm

    What a great piece, I love it. It speaks volumes that Ben would call you and so politely discuss his business with you. I think he is a man of character. Hes doing the best he can in this crazy world!

  93. by Dakuhlman on March 17, 2012  9:01 pm

    Hi- Just heard and read about this today, March 17th. Any new information. Seriously thinking of deleting my boards as well. I LOVE Pinterest and hope there will be a resolution. However, as much as I love it I am not willing to become a statistic.
    Please let me know if you have any new information before I delete my boards.

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  95. by Just a Pinterest User on March 19, 2012  2:51 pm

    One thing I thought about while reading all of this is that a lot of sites now have pin it buttons which could be seen as consent.

  96. Pingback : To Pin or Not to Pin; Pinterest’s (not so) Secret Policies « Employment Status: Homemaker

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  99. by Randy Yeager on March 20, 2012  6:24 pm

    I really appreciate this post. As a social media manager I have been recommending for quite some time that my clients just simply watermark their pictures with their logo, website, or contact info. This allows them to be happy when people are showing off their pictures. I wrote a blog a while back that talks about this and other ways for people to protect their work. I love Pinterest, and I am happy to have people pin (or nail, if you use MANteresting) anything of mine. I'd love to hear your thoughts on my post too if you are willing. Here is the link:

  100. Pingback : Could You Get In Trouble Using Pinterest? | Pixel & Ink

  101. by Anna on March 21, 2012  2:36 pm

    You are not a loser. And people who leave ridiculous negative comments are, in my opinion, the ones who should suck it. And then go learn some manners or buy themselves a clue.

    You raised some very valid concerns and brought awareness to many over Pinterest's TOU, which, let's face it, very few people bothered to read through. Like me.

    I for one am grateful for both of your posts. I was just maddly pinning away, assuming that the bloggers I pinned from would be happy about the exposure and never giving a second thought about repinning.

    Thank you for raising our awareness and starting an important conversation.

    • by Qualified Therapists on March 22, 2012  9:16 am

      I'm sorry your inspiration board was taken down. That's a shame. I'm glad you still have your Pinterest account, tho. I thought that sharing other peoples ideas with your friends on Pinterest and Facebook was one of the reasons these places are so popular. They spread the ideas like a virus, making them popular.

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  104. by Season Laurel on March 23, 2012  7:52 pm

    Thank you so much for your well thought out and charming posts. I LOVE pinterest like crazy, and have been so bummed to find out about the T&C situation, and then even more bummed about people trashing Ben all around the Internet! I knew deep down he was just covering his own behind in the beginning, not knowing how big it would become so fast, so he has to re-evaluate the T&C now that it has become this huge social network. I'm really looking forward to the changes he comes up with. I have always used pinterest for inspiration and bookmarking, no intent to sell or copy anything. I am delighted when I see people pin or like my embroidery work from flickr or my blog! But I can see how that differs from photography. I do have photos repinned on my boards, and it tears me up to think of parting with them! So I have been going through and trying to correct and links or take down something if I find an artist doesn't want there. If users and Ben work together, pinterest can be a democracy! Thank you for paving the way! And I'm glad Ben is open to communication. Thanks again, I'm following your blog now :)

  105. by Susan on March 24, 2012  8:12 pm

    I just got the new terms. Have they cleared up the issues? I'm still concerned that I might have to pay to defend Pinterest in a lawsuit. Let me know Thank you for all your comments and keeping us tuned in.

  106. by Allergic_Vegetarian on March 24, 2012  10:05 pm

    Not a Lawyer: What I've learned from research is that pinning anything owned by "Hollywood" or the "music industry" is likely to be sued off the page, but normally, they just ask for it to be removed. This is why I never post, pin, link to, etc. anything hollywood or music. Indie music labels, are less picky, as long as they are getting your business, and you're linking to their site, they normally don't mind.

    Most people don't care if you do occasional pinning, linking to their works, as long as you have a link to their original page where that work is. I wouldn't be concerned about the occasional person who is overly protective about who gives them free advertising. With that said, I wouldn't pin more than 2 or 3 select pieces of their work.

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  109. by Cathy Crawley on March 29, 2012  11:33 pm

    Wouldn't it be a great idea if website owners and blog owners could register their site with Pinterest as a 'do not pin site'. That would mean that Pinterest's own server would recognise that web address as not having permission to reproduce and would reject the incoming link. Of course that won't help those who download an image, save it and then upload it to Pinterest, but most people seem to pin via a link anyway. Here in Australia we have a 'do not call register' for telemarketers, it works a treat. This could be something that Pinterest might be interested in doing to avoid future legal issues.

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  111. by siemens pure hearing aids on March 31, 2012  12:40 pm

    good site!! You could start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned.

  112. by Kate on April 5, 2012  2:36 pm

    Am loving your posts about Pinterest, very interesting. And the idea about adding a 'pin me' watermark to your photos is a great one. I might pinch it a little!! :0)

  113. Pingback : Pinterest and Fair Use: “We’re just getting started” « marthamckaycanter

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  116. by Merle Jebbett on April 25, 2012  6:12 pm

    I intended to post you one tiny remark to be able to thank you very much again for your personal amazing advice you have provided here. It's quite wonderfully generous with you to grant openly what numerous people would've offered for sale for an ebook in making some money on their own, and in particular considering that you could possibly have done it if you ever wanted. The good tips as well acted to become great way to understand that other people online have similar passion much like mine to figure out a lot more regarding this condition. I'm certain there are several more pleasant moments up front for those who look over your blog post.

  117. by Tina on May 6, 2012  1:49 pm

    I am not a lawyer, I teach elementary and I love searching for ideas through Pinterest. I love the idea of having the visual image that leads me to a specific website where I can find more of the same ideas. My understanding of this Pinterest process and Facebook alike is that if the owner is wanting their stuff pinned or liked that means it is now public domain. Maybe, I just don't get the infringing thing. Here lies my confusion, if a person or this "original owner" does not want their stuff in public domain then why did they post it in the first place.

    • by kirsten on May 11, 2012  9:06 pm

      Hi Tina. Kudos to you for teaching our children! I was an early childhood education major myself for two years -- until I realized that job was better left to people much more patient than I am. I have the utmost respect for the profession. As to your question, just because a Creative puts her work on the internet (her website or Facebook page, etc) does not mean that that Creative is giving up her exclusive rights to use that image. She is choosing to post it so that people can see it and find her work and hopefully appreciate it enough to compensate her for it. Copyright laws are meant to protect her right to control how that work is used -- the intent being to encourage Creatives to keep creating. Just because an artist makes her work available to the public doesn't mean that its free for people to just take. Same with music. You hear a song on the radio -- it is put out there for you to enjoy and hopefully like enough so that you will purchase the CD or buy the download. That is how the musician makes her living. Whether its music, photographs, drawings, a poem, a book or any other form of creative content, copyright law protects the unlawful dissemination of that content. You wouldn't photocopy a book just because you see it in Barnes & Noble right? It's the same thing.

  118. Pingback : Legality of Pins and Posts on Pinterest « Legal Biscuit

  119. by Susanna Haynie on May 16, 2012  2:12 pm

    I am with Tina, don't get it and it might be because I am NOT a photographer (unfortunately ;-) and my photos are simply there so drive traffic, create backlinks and establish keywords ...simply SEO work. My pins are linked to the original website - don't you want the traffic?
    In my mind I am not photocopying a song or a book but an excerpt/sample (like itunes does it) and post it so that I and others can go to the source and look for the complete item. I do understand that this is a different issue with photography...I am a blog pinner pretty much. Harmless and probably a little naive too.
    I was looking for your watermarks you spoke off but couldn't find any so I didn't pin - scared to now. Have a great day!

  120. by Sony on May 18, 2012  6:19 pm

    Hi Kristen,
    Read your posts and the comments and just now, again the terms and condition s of Pinterest., 5-19
    As Iam no lawyer nor used to spell out t&c can you maybe clairify what pinterest changed in the update as per April 6th.
    thanks so much for pionting this all out in understandable language

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  123. by Elaine on June 8, 2012  12:24 pm

    I deleted my boards after reading your initial post. With this one, you lose a lot of credibility with me with all the cute "date" talk. It wasn't a date. You had a serious issue to discuss and a lot of readers who would have liked to see you take it seriously, not go all a-flutter because a successful man asked you for your opinion. Can you not have a business conversation with a man without turning it into a joke or a coy flirtation (just kidding, adorable Pinterest man! Call me again!). Seems to me that you gave up a chance to make some real progress with Pinterest's very real copyright issues.

    • by kirsten on June 8, 2012  2:00 pm

      They are real issues, Elaine but not so serious that some lighthearted fun can't be injected into what many see as a very boring discussion. I try to keep some humor in my life wherever I am able. I would have never lasted 15 years in the legal industry if I couldn't inject a little bit of humor into the otherwise very business-like dealings I have had with both men and women over the years. Thank you for your comment though. It reminds me that not everyone enjoys my humor. If you would like to read other, less humorous (at least I thought it was kind of funny) discussions on the web about this issue, I will be happy to point to the countless articles that have been written.

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  126. by Rants from an Adolescent on August 12, 2012  9:49 pm

    Kristen, I think that you are ignoring what the Internet is and focusing on what it was. In the times of Napster, "copyright" was still generally respected; but take a look at Youtube, any song, regardless of having the author's consent, is free to download. Worse, Youtube claims that a single link to buy an album is enough to fix the wrongs of this modern day Napster, and that they are actually PROMOTING sales by offering free downloads to copyrighted music.

    Now, Napster had started filtering based on song names. Youtube has rips of movies that STILL have the piracy related tags (i.e. FullRip, DivX (or other codecs)).

    Any legislation that defends copyright material on the Internet is impossible to pass in this age. Unless it is turned into something that does absolutely nothing and DOES NOT STOP people from breaking the law; people will make up excuses to fight it. (Unless I am misinformed, the application of law is decided in the courts; and as said laws did not remove the right to a court date (simply stated that as the party could not be prosecuted under foreign laws, that inaction is akin to a guilty plea.))

    Essentially, what I am trying to convey is that the Internet is MADE from "copyright violation." "Fair Use" is believed to be "anything that is on a website" and people claim "If you don't want it copied, don't put it online." There is NO RESPECT for people's right to "information," and MAJOR webpages care more about their ratings than the legality of their content. (DIGG and HD-DVD day, where DIGG decided that Freedom of Speech included the right to distribute Trade Secrets.)

    And on DIGG, many "websites" do not want their website "DUGG." It can cause an immense amount of stress on the server with only a few return users. (This is likely why Pinterest chooses to upload images rather than cause immense stress on the photographer's private server.)

    This is not even mentioning the evils that sites like perpetrates. Picking on defenseless site owners with blatant libel such that its readers HARASS the owners based off of the alleged "internet homour."

    Why should we protect the individual? If you were to go into a bookstore and "accidentally photocopy books" the store owner wouldn't say "I am sorry, the terms of use were not clear enough, here... let me take the punishment for you." Similarly, as a lawyer, you SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that "Fair Use" is not "Anything that is on the Internet" and that giving credit is not enough to justify copyright violations.

    The problem is that we have grown so accustom to ILLEGAL ACTS (and claiming it is "just social media") that we are unwilling to accept the punishment for our crimes.

    *** Small Note on Credits ***
    Crediting is a LEGAL action, not a psychological one. People psychologically associate the photos with your stream, NOT with the photographer that made them. To the individual, the "credit" is a small piece of text that is barely noticeable and often glanced over.

    In fact, even if you were to host no pictures and link only to photographers' webpages, you would eventually become associated with the photos, rather than the photographer (given a high enough quantity of "linked photographers.")

    Take compilation mods. The bastards who make these things will list hundreds of names (rarely will they list the actual mod name... and if they do, they will almost never actually give a PROPPER credit by summarizing what the mod did and how it contributed.) People associate the compilation mod --- which has only a few weeks of actual "work" --- with the combine effort of several YEARS of effort for all the original mod writers.

    "Social Media" deprives the original owners of just credit. It increases your exposure to other arts, but it dilapidates the association to the author. The people who benefit from social media sites are not the content owners... but the person who runs it.

    The simple fact is, "Social Media" tends to be a euphemism for piracy. People's arguments against piracy related legislation tend to point at already illegal acts (such as having copyrighted music in a youtube video) and then say "omg, they want to stop me from using the song that I paid $1 to download (and that they paid $200,000 to buy) in a video!" People have even insulted the copyright holders for LEGALLY pulling movies, or for pulling the "end" video but not the rest (even though they could have done so.)*

    Asking that you contact the author is hardly unreasonable. Nor is it unreasonable to prosecute you for not doing so (Re: Napster: "I was just exposing people to the artist of this illegally uploaded music.") NOR should you make the judgment that the author is going to benefit from this, nor that "any benefit is better than no benefit."

    Is accepting responsibility for your actions this difficult?

    *We can actually conclude that people intuitively know what "Copyright Violation" is due to how many examples of "violations" they managed to cite. Amazingly, it takes uneducated blog writers to push the idea of CONSEQUENCE for people to abandon the "If it is digital, it is fair use" motto... if only to combat legislation that they believed would enforce said consequences.

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