Thursday, 16 February 2012

In Defence of Pinterest Users

What is the difference between sharing a photo on Facebook and sharing one on Pinterest? Other than that the Pinterest one will usually be linked back to the owner of the work, thus driving traffic to their site (not to mention that re-sharing is generally very good free PR).

I don't understand how some photographers and artists can complain that people are Pinning their work, and then go and share the work of others on their Facebook timeline, without crediting the owners! Is this not hypocrisy?

FTR, I don't agree with copyright theft/infringement but I do accept that once something is on the internet, rightly or wrongly, it's going to be fair game. At least with Pinterest, there's a good chance you'll get something back - even if it's only recognition.

I actually really like it when people Re-Pin my photography - it means that someone thinks my work is not only good but is worthy of sharing with others. Some of my photos have ended up on Pinterest boards entitled (for example) Amazing Pictures, and Beautiful Things. I think that's pretty cool! And when people put my work in the same class as photographers whose work I admire, it gives me a great big happy! Pinners aren't trying to steal other people's work; they're not Pinning in order to make money; they are showing appreciation, and doing people's publicity!

Here are some photos which people appear to like (please click to enlarge)!

If you want real copyright infringement however...

About 20 years ago, a friend of mine came to see me on her return from Glastonbury; with her she had a set of  greetings cards she'd bought from an AIDS charity stall...the images on them were all mine!

On the back were details of the charity, so I rang them and asked why they thought it was appropriate to use my artwork without my permission. The person I spoke to said they didn't think I'd mind because it was for a good cause! Really? He seemed genuinely shocked that I objected! I explained that had they asked, I would have readily given them permission, and might have even done some exclusives for them.

It turned out that someone from the charity had bought some posters of my work which were on sale at Camden Market, and used them for the cards. Since the stall had business cards for all the artists for whom they sold work, there was no excuse to not contact me. Anyway, they agreed to put stickers on the back of the cards, which credited me and gave my contact details. I did actually get a few commissions out of it, which was good, although obviously no money from the charity itself!

At least with the internet, artists have a much better chance of their work being credited to them, as well as a much better chance of discovering who is genuinely stealing their work in order to make money, which obviously means a better chance of being compensated. The trade-off is that you have to accept that once you put something on the internet, someone is going to use it. I think it all balances out.

I will say this though - I am delighted if people want to share to my work but if they make any money from it, they had better give me some of it....or they'll be for it in ways they cannot even begin to imagine (mostly because I haven't invented them yet....but I will my friends, I will)!

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