Pinterest: expecting us to opt-out when we should be asked to opt-in

February 22nd, 2012 § 2 comments

We made a decision yesterday to stop people pinning Blipfoto content on Pinterest. You can read the official blog post here, but the crux of our concerns were every time a Blipfoto entry was pinned, Pinterest took a full-size, unaltered copy of the photo and stored it on their own servers. That means:

  1. Our users’ content is being duplicated and stored elsewhere without their permission
  2. There’s little or no inbound benefit for Blipfoto or its contrbutors because, unlike a link posted to Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest users don’t need to click through to Blipfoto to see the full image – it’s already there on Pinterest

Something we didn’t touch on in the blog post, is the method by which we’ve put that block in place. We’ve used a small piece of code provided by Pinterest that anyone who doesn’t want their content to be pinned can add to their website.

For some websites or businesses, Pinterest can be an amazing way of spreading interest in a product, and building sales. But for the rest of us, who aren’t trying to sell the things we picture on our websites, this approach is completely and utterly back-to-front.

Copyright exists to protect the rights of those who create content without them having to do anything. If I take a photograph, it’s my intellectual property. Full stop. I don’t need to do anything to establish ownership. If anyone else wants to do something with it, they need my permission. Simple.

So the solution to Pinterest’s apparently growing problem shouldn’t be to give people a way to opt-out their stuff being taken or dealing with stuff that’s been taken after the fact, they should stop taking people’s stuff unless they expressly opt-in.

But of course, that’s a much harder way to build a business.

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  • About

    Joe Tree is the founder and CEO of Blipfoto, the BAFTA Award-winning global community of daily photojournalists.

    You can see his own daily photos over there, and a more considered collection of his photography over here. He sometimes tweets too.

    He was 40 years old the last time he checked, and lives and works in Edinburgh, Scotland.