(Original photography taken on behalf of our client, Euro-Line Appliances Inc.)
This may be old news, but some clients are just now asking about it and what we think about Pinterest.
As our business is advertising & PR we understand that photos are copyrighted and just because they are found on the Internet does not make them free. Over the years we’ve had to explain to clients countless times that, no, we cannot “lift that picture” or “copy that from that site”. That, in our minds, was equivalent to theft. In fact, it is theft.
Over the past several months, there has been a lot of commotion around all things Pinterest, mainly the pinning and re-pinning of photos and materials to which you do not have rights. So you can see why our “uh oh…that ain’t right” radar was on alert as soon as we heard that sources were not being credited and businesses or individuals may have been profiting from unpaid work.
We purchase a large amount of stock photos to be able to use and publish. And where budget permits, we do original photography for our clients. Pinterest is making it very convenient to reproduce and copy an original, copyrighted photo without permission or payment. Not only is it so easy to do on Pinterest, but also the onus falls on the pinner, who can be sued by the photographer with no fall back to Pinterest.
With our agency focus on home design, we know that Pinterest is a slick tool that brings together amazing collections of images that express a certain design message. But the principles are the same: Don’t take other people’s stuff and use it as your own. Just don’t. We’ve said that to clients for years and years.
BUT, as an agency that represents manufacturers that target the design community…do we want to see our images of our client product pinned on design inspiration boards? Heck ya. Great promo. But who is going to say…look…I designed this professional range or this amazing ventilation hood on my Pinterest board. No one. The by-product is exposure.
So we get it. Our clients can benefit from it, but we understand why designers would be furious seeing their own work—without any credit given— on someone else’s board.
Let this slick tool continue, but remember, just like lifting images off other sites or figuring out how to take the watermark off stock photography…. Don’t take other people’s stuff and use it as your own. Just don’t.
For more information on the legalities...visit the links below for the latest on what is happening with Pinterest.