My Top 50 Responses to Your Questions — Alpharetta photographer responds to issues regarding Pinterest blogs

I really figured that the attention over my blog post regarding Pinterest would have died down by now but it appears that people are still talking about it, sharing the link and writing their own blog posts analyzing the issues raised in my post.   And analyzing me!


With approximately 500 comments on my blog posts and thousands of tweets and shares on Facebook, of course some things have been said and other things taken out of context and a lot of questions have arisen that warrant some clarification/response.  And, because I’m originally a “Hunt”, I feel the need to provide some response (yes, Dad, when it all boils down, you and mom are really the ones to blame!).


Since nobody wants to read yet another essay on this subject, I’m bullet-pointing my top 50 responses to some of the more interesting/troubling/problematic comments:


  1. Yes, I am a practicing attorney.
  2. I graduated from law school in 1996, not 2003 – although I’m not sure what this means other than that I’m old as dirt.
  3. Yes, I am a professional photographer.
  4. No, I do not belong to a knitting group although that sure would save me some money on hats and props for the baby photography.
  5. I am General Counsel for a Georgia company. I run a photography studio in Alpharetta.  I have two kids, a husband, a horse, a dog and a cat.  In the last two months I have hiked a Hawaiian rain forest, skied Utah mountains and have been swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.  So, no, it doesn’t appear I have much of a life.
  6. My blog post was written from the perspective of a photographer more than that of a lawyer.  It was not legal advice but intended to outline my concerns, as a photographer, over my use of Pinterest.
  7. I am not concerned about Pinterest being sued.  I am concerned about users (i.e, you and me) being sued, AS THE INFRINGER, and then being liable for indemnification and defense costs and ALL damages. 
  8. No, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act will not provide the USER a safe harbor.
  9. “Fair Use” is a complicated legal analysis and I purposely did not re-live law school by writing a law review article explaining it all.   My article does acknowledge that it is not clear how a court would rule in a “Fair Use” analysis.
  10. Unfortunately, I have litigated ridiculous cases where my clients were clearly not liable and the claims were outlandish.
  11.  My clients spent thousands of dollars just getting to a motion to dismiss.
  12. Most people don’t have thousands of dollars to get a motion to dismiss.
  13. Most people don’t have tens of thousands of dollars getting to summary judgment.
  14. I don’t believe a claim for copyright infringement arising from pinning would be “outlandish.”
  15. I don’t believe that a court would dispose of an infringement case for pinning without permission on a motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgment.  Depends on facts.
  16. I do not want to be the defendant in the first test case.
  17. I do not want to be the lawyer litigating the first test case.
  18. I do not want to be your lawyer.
  19. I DO want to be your photographer. 
  20. I did not delete my Pinterest account.
  21. I did delete my inspiration boards that contained work I did not own and did not have a license to use.  I’m following Pinterest’s own rules.
  22. No, taking a magazine into the bathroom with you is not the same as pinning someone else’s images.  Nor is it as sanitary.
  23. I know you may think “if it’s on the internet it’s free for everyone to use.”  Thank you for your opinion but that simply is not the law.
  24. My decision to delete my inspiration boards had as much to do with my respect for other photographers  as with my concerns over liability.
  25. If you don’t think your unauthorized use of photographers’ work negatively affects the market for such work, I will put you in touch with all of the fine art and stock photographers who have contacted me expressing their outrage with Pinterest and those using it.
  26. I am not willing to bet that these folks won’t take action.  Their livelihood is at stake.
  27. Yes, using someone else’s work without permission on Facebook or your own blog or website or other social media is bad.
  28. Not every pin contains a link to the original artist.
  29. I’m not so sure commenting with “love this” falls within the “for comment” exception to copyright protection.
  30. No, just because you aren’t using the photos for commercial use does NOT automatically mean you aren’t liable.  It is merely a factor the court will consider.  Think about when you have your family photos taken by a pro.  You cannot order a 4×6 and take that print to a lab and have it scanned and reprinted to distribute to other family members. 
  31. Yes, people do #30 all of the time.  It is illegal.
  32. Yes, I realize “everyone’s doing it” (pinning, that is).
  33. One of the first lessons I learned in life was “If everyone is jumping off the bridge does that mean you should do it too?”
  34. Copyright statutes allow for fines and damages. 
  35. I do not have an extra $150,000 lying around to pay said fine.
  36. I am not out to destroy Pinterest.
  37. I told Ben I would love to help him brainstorm and find ways to make the site better for everyone.
  38. Yes, I realize Ben is way smarter than I am and that he doesn’t need me.
  39. No, he hasn’t been back in touch.
  40. Yes, I believe it’s not me, it’s him.  And he’s just not that into me.
  41. Yes, that is a joke.
  42. Yes, you may pin my photos.
  43. Yes, I would argue that if someone puts a “pin it” button on their site or a “pin it” logo right on their image, that person is giving you permission to pin it.  I will be doing this in the future.
  44. Yes, you may share a LINK to my blog posts.
  45. If I am asked to Skype with a news channel again, I will do my hair first.
  46. No Mom, I am not going to be on the Today Show.
  47. Yes, Mom, I realize that Natalie Morales reminds you of me.  And yes, I am flattered by that. 
  48. No, I do not think posting pics of a little baby’s bottom is child porn.
  49. Nicole, I will ALWAYS kiss my babies – even when they push me away and scream “GROSS MOM!”
  50. And, yes, I know what P.S.S means.  For serious and for realsies.



Okay, that’s all I have time for this morning.

My life needs tending to.  And I need to find myself that knitting group.




  1. by David Hunt on March 7, 2012  4:58 pm


  2. by Mel on March 9, 2012  2:36 am

    Excellent and Hilarious.

    1) You sound like a wonderful person who lives a fun and full life and has no time for knitting.
    2) You go on awesome vacations.
    3) Us "old as dirt" people know the www is still the wild west and the laws are evolving; and, therefore, one better be careful, or they can end up a "test" case. Innocent or not, there are court costs.
    4) IMO, common sense went out the window with the McDonalds case. Everyone laughed about a person who would sue b/c she spilled hot coffee on herself. Then she won and a stunned nation was flabbergasted. If a person can win lots of money for spilling hot coffee on themselves, you can bet you can be sued for "pinning" intellectual property. Especially b/c the laws are not yet clear, and one way they develop is by having court cases brought.
    5) I thank you for bringing this to the forefront. I'm not a lawyer and slogging through the TOU was confusing...which is convenient for the company...but not for the users.
    6) I'm pretty ticked off at Pinterest for putting their users at risk, while making sure their butts were covered.
    7) If you hadn't spoken up, users would still be thinking Pinterest had done due diligence on the legality, and we were acting within the law; and, there'd be absolutely no incentive for them to make any changes. It'd be business as usual for them, while the users were sitting targets. Yea, I'm pretty peeved about that.
    8) I'll be hitting pause on pinning until I find assurance I'm pinning safely. So I hope Ben & Co. figure it out. If enough users stop pinning (which funds Ben's success), then maybe they will.
    9) My pin to this blog post is my last one until Pinterest gets it together and provides safety to its users (who it stands to make a LOT of money off of, as the business journals are predicting). IMO, the only way they'll look into the liability they've left users open to will be if it affects their bottom line.
    10)Thanks again for stepping up and enduring the haters. Whether they realize it or not, you just helped protect them.

    The world needs more people like you. For realsies.

    • by kirsten on April 18, 2012  10:51 pm

      hahaha! Thanks Mel! We should hang out.

    • by Misery Xchord on May 12, 2012  5:54 am

      Mel, I hate seeing people bring up the McDonald's suit as as "flabbergasting". The woman had 3rd degree deep tissue burns on 6% of her body, lesser burns over 16-18% more, and had to undergo extensive hospitalization and skin grafts over 2 years (the photographs from her case were horrifying) McD's were keeping their coffee hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns in as little as 2 seconds of contact, and had already had to address over 700 complaints of scalding injuries with settlements reaching half a $million before this case caught the public's interest and was treated like tabloid fodder.

      You're right, tho... if someone can sue over hot coffee, they can sue over having their work being illicitly published without their consent... or more likely, invoice you for licensing fees plus fines, send a DMCA takedown notice to Pinterest to have the images removed, and complain that they should delete your account or else risk losing their safe harbor protections (which is how it usually works on Tumblr, Facebook et al). :)

  3. by Valerie on March 9, 2012  2:46 am

    I love your 50 responses almost as much as the pinterest post :) #40 is my fav. Ben you heartbreaker!

  4. by Traci Bunkers on March 9, 2012  6:11 pm

    I have enjoyed your posts on Pinterest and wanted to thank you for taking the time to write them. Also, I found out, through a comment in another article, that there is a site that will print people's Pinterest's boards. I don't know if Pinterest is affiliated with it or not. You apparently also need an invite to be part if it. Here's the link:


    • by Victoria M on March 16, 2012  9:45 pm

      yikes indeed! print books out of the boards? guess they haven't read these articles....

  5. by Dannah on March 12, 2012  3:27 pm

    Let me know if you need any hats - I am in a knitting group!

  6. by Tim on March 14, 2012  1:51 pm

    Hi Kirsten, just wondering if you'd read this:

    • by kirsten on March 14, 2012  3:49 pm

      Hey Tim. Yes, someone else posted that and I addressed it below. I don't give much weight to articles that attack people personally or are written to incite anger but I was interested to read the post by the law librarian he cites. While I question whether she has had any practical experience representing clients in litigation matters, her legal analysis is correct and she agrees that using Pinterest could result in copyright violations in certain situations. Which is all I was saying as well. So I'm glad to know that other attorneys agree use of the site can be risky if not used correctly.

      • by kirsten on March 14, 2012  3:50 pm

        Sorry Tim. I responded to that article on the comments on the original post.

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  8. by Victoria M on March 16, 2012  9:43 pm

    You're just hilarious.

  9. by Jennifer on March 20, 2012  4:03 am

    Knitters. Ahem. cough coughhackcough

    Thank you for your posts and concerns. I have an idea about how much time, thought and effort went into them, and I appreciate you sharing.

    Knitters/crocheters/spinners/weavers defend our work just like photographers. And as for copyright, well we have patterns-objects-photos-inspiration-alteration, the copywrong possibilities are frankly astounding. Your posts have not only given me a crash course in other aspects of copyright law/infringement but thoughts about intellectual property as well.

    You rock.

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  11. by Christy on April 18, 2012  10:35 pm

    Ok so you know how Pinterest is really good about sending you an email any time any thing is done to any pin or re-pin of yours (So-and-so liked your comment, so-and-so re-pinned your pin that you re-pinned from so-and-so, and so on and so on)? ;) How come they can't do this: When a pin is originally uploaded to the site (meaning someone uses the "Pin It' button on their computer), the user gets a 'pending' message. What the user would be waiting for is the owner of the material to reply to Pinterest's email asking if the user has permission to pin it! Yes, I realize it may be frustrating to have to wait, that some people may never get back to Pinterest and that pin you wanted SO bad will forever be 'pending', but at least we won't all be breaking the law, right?! Therefore, every pin on the site will have already been approved by the owners of the material and people can re-pin anything without worry of retaliation. I realize that Pinterest has to cover their tushie, but allowing users to blatantly break the law because they 'should have read the fine print before they hit accept' just sucks. Period. I consider myself an educated person yet I couldn't wait to get my Pinterest account started, no matter what the fine print was! I'm regretting that decision now, now that I'm completely hooked. If I don't know what to make for dinner tonight, where's the first place I go? Pinterest! If I need ideas for a last minute gift, where's the first place I go? Pinterest! If I'm redecorating and need some inspiration, where's the first place I go? Pinterest! It's absolutely AMAZING! That's exactly what friends and family told me before I started my account, and the exact reason why even though something inside was saying no, I hit that accept button anyway. Please change your terms Pinterest! I give permission for Kirsten or Ben to use the ideas I have presented and thoroughly hope they do!!

    • by kirsten on April 18, 2012  10:50 pm

      Christy, this is exactly what I suggested to Ben! He poo poo'd it :( But me thinks you are one smart cookie!!

  12. by ndubelu on May 10, 2012  4:46 am

    I think you should add writer to your list of skills. You are totally awesome! I think I liked this post better than the original one! So in between the photographing, mothering and lawyering you should think about writing (lol). Cause what's one more Thing?

  13. by Desaraev on May 16, 2012  2:15 am

    If you want a pin it button on your site, I'll happily help you set it up.

    --random web designer who likes your blog.

  14. by Kelly on June 3, 2012  12:55 pm

    Just wanted to say a hearty *thank you* for a Sunday morning education with laughter. Thanks for retaining your sense of humor while sharing your personal perspective on this subject...great series of blog posts to enjoy over a cup of coffee after searching "how to find my work on pinterest" on google. All the best from Charlottesville to Atlanta...

  15. by DwightB on August 23, 2012  3:26 am

    Wouldn't you have been safe to just create those "inspiration boards" for yourself as a photographer in your own computer, rather than to have it on a public board for all to see? Then you could review and refer to other photographer's work as often as desired for "inspiration" for your next photo project on your own computer.

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