Pinterest encourages, indeed actively promotes illegal behavior. In pursuing their personal interests they are riding roughshod over the intellectual property rights of the little man and woman. They are an example of the wild west nature of the internet. They hurt independent website owners. There is nothing to stop them. Pinterest knows that. They are using the unregulated nature of the internet while they can.
It’s all about copyright. This is something the internet almost ignores and which internet users know little and care less about. Yet copyright is an intellectual property right of value, sometimes of great value.
Every picture created was at one time protected by copyright. The creator, usually a photographer owned or owns the copyright. 90% of the images have no commercial value and the creator allows his work to be used by others. He may do this by saying people can use his images or he acquiesces when people take the image and use it. These images enter the public domain.
However many people create serious works of value that are protected. These works are “stolen” from websites that depend on the works being on their website to encourage people to visit.
Pinterest actively encourages people to take these images because the company exists on the basis that these images, protected or not, will find their way onto their site. People usually do this by using a Pin It button on someone’s site. But where this button does not exist people can still do it by either downloading the images from a site and uploading to Pinterest or by capturing a screenshot and cutting out the image and pasting it on Pinterest.
When for 2 days (now deleted) I included a Pin It button on PoC I had no idea that next to every pinned image on Pinterest there would be code that allows people to put that image on their site. This is totally incorrect and improper because many are copyrighted. It is a blatant encouragement to abuse copyrighted images. Many pictures have been illegally taken from PoC. Visitors don’t realise that. These images find their way onto other sites. Google finds these sites a well as the images in Google image search, which damages PoC. Who cares? Well I care because the pictures of Helmi Flick are here because she has granted permission. They need to be protected because she is a professional photographer. She makes a living from these photographs.
Also of course the “stolen” image that is protected by copyright is presented on Pinterest. That too is a breach of copyright.
The point is this. People should not pin copyrighted material on Pinterest. And all the images on PoC that are protected by copyright have a notice on them or under them. Yet people with Pinterest accounts ignore these notices and pin the image on the Pinterest website because they are encouraged to do so by Pinterest. The Pinterest Pin It button should at least be able to read a copyright notice below the image placing a barrier to the picture being pinned on the Pinterest site.
This is why Pinterest is bad for many people. They don’t educate people enough about the niceties of intellectual property rights. They can’t because they know people are not interested. For this reason Pinterest is behaving in a very irresponsible way.
For some people Pinterest is good because it promotes their work. But Pinterest doesn’t exist to help these people. That is just a happy by-product. They exist to help themselves at the expense of people who don’t want their work stolen. People who like things done properly.
Pinterest is an example of big business crushing small business. It is an example of what people are sick of; little man being used by big man. Pinterest helps the internet to be run by only the big sites. It is like the high street shops. The big supermarkets are killing-off the independent shop.
The trouble is people who use Pinterest have no idea about this legal stuff. This is partly because copyright law is complicated and there is a habit and convention on the internet to ignore intellectual property rights.
Even Google promotes illegal behavior by finding illegally copied material and presenting it in a search above the original version. Yes, a person can complain to Pinterest if someone steals a photo. They must have hundreds of thousands if not millions of complaints. But this puts the burden on the copyright holder and it is a substantial burden if hundreds of pictures are stolen. This is very unfair and morally wrong. They don’t care about that. They conveniently brushed that knotty point to one side when they discussed creating Pinterest.
It is time to stop this unfair behavior and inject at least a modicum of regulation and decency into the internet with respect to intellectual property rights.
I feel that Pinterest will fade eventually because it is too abusive of people’s rights. People’s rights need to be respected more. It is a worsening situation that will result in a backlash. It is almost as if the internet is trying to destroy the legal concept of copyright for its own benefit.