The other day I saw a Facebook post from a photographer who was totally bummed out that she had put a gorgeous original photo up on Pinterest – and someone repinned one of her images on Pinterest in a way that upset her. It made her wonder…was this person legally allowed to do that?
Every day, people post images and quotes on Pinterest that they love. And every day they get repinned by others…which is a huge part of Pinterest. Getting inspiration, liking other’s pins, and repinning others’ images. It happens thousands of times a day – and it’s tons of fun!
Have you ever wondered if repinning an image on Pinterest infringes on someone else’s copyright rights?
I mean, if you haven’t really gotten permission from the photographer to pin or repin an image, is it really okay to use it?
Are you legally ALLOWED to repin without permission?
The whole point of Pinterest is to pin and repin! Everybody does it!
But when it comes to copyright rights, social media can be vague in their policies about what users can and can’t do.
After all, their whole platform is based around sharing images and photos, so it is tricky for them to balance both sides of copyright protections.
It is REALLY important for YOU to understand where the lines are drawn.
You don’t want to infringe on someone else’s copyright rights. (Not only is it completely uncool, but it is also illegal. Eeeeks!)
I decided to dive into Pinterest’s policies to see what they allow their users to do – and not do. (Yes, the geeky lawyer part of me LOVES reading policies to find out exactly how things are worded. #totaldork)
Here is the bottom line:
Pinterest expects you to respect others’ copyright rights.
Pinterest’s Copyright Policy says that it “respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects its users to do the same.”
What does that mean exactly?
Pinterest isn’t super-duper clear. Pinterest doesn’t come out and tell you outright what you can and can’t do with others’ images. In fact, they don’t say squat.
That doesn’t give you much to go on, does it?
What that means for you is that you can’t assume that just because someone pinned up an image that they are okay with you repinning it without giving them credit or getting permission.
Legally, it’s true. From a practical standpoint, most people don’t care because they WANT you to repin their stuff. But some people don’t – they just want to share THEIR gorgeous work on Pinterest to promote their business or brand.
Which brings up two different issues that come up when it comes to copyright rights:
- Giving credit.
- Getting permission.
These two are not the same things, in case you are wondering. They are totally different.
Some people just want credit. They are okay with others’ repinning their image so long as they are given credit by name. Other people want someone to get their permission or consent BEFORE they repin or share their image.
You may be wondering, “If someone pins on Pinterest, can’t you just assume that they want people to repin their image?”
Um, technically, no.
It is pretty obvious that most people know that when they put an image on Pinterest that it could be repinned over and over again. Again, that’s the part of the whole point of Pinterest.
But, if you are someone who wants to pin your own image but you DON’T want someone to repin your image/quote without your permission or without giving you credit, you need to know what to do to protect your stuff.
(BTW, as you read the tips below, this would be a good time to get clear about how YOU feel about people using/pinning your stuff. Are you okay with repinning? Do you want credit for your quotes or images? Do people need to get your permission to repin? It’s good to get very clear on your own Pinterest boundaries.)
How to protect your images and quotes on Pinterest:
If you WANT CREDIT:
- Put a watermark on your photo or image with your name and/or website.
- If you are creating a quote on Canva or Picmonkey, add your name or website somewhere in the image.
When your image or quote gets repinned, your name and/or website are already a part of the image. Problem solved!
Like this example:
If you want people to ASK YOUR PERMISSION:
- You may want to consider only posting those images that you are totally okay with other people repinning without asking you first. This will avoid a lot of confusion.
- BUT, if you really want to post your images but not allow repinning, you need to be CRYSTAL clear in the comments section when you pin your image.
The presumption is that you consent to repinning when you post an image so if you DON’T want that to happen, it is your responsibility to let others know.
Like this example:
It’s a crazy –but wonderful! – social media world out there.
Just to recap:
- Don’t presume you can repin others’ images, especially if they are of their own beautiful photos. Like a photographer’s images.
- Be respectful of others’ copyright rights.
- Have fun pinning and repinning but just know that some people take repinning more seriously than others.
- If in doubt, always treat others’ images the way you would like YOUR images to be treated…with lots of respect, care and legal love!
- Trust your gut and err on the side of caution if you are unsure.
Remember, be sure to legally love up your OWN creative, original photos, images, and quotes and put your deets on them so you can get credit for your work before you pin and post away.
What other questions do you have about posting or pinning on social media when it comes to copyrights? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know! Ask your Q’s in the comments below and I will get you some A’s.
I am sooooo glad that you read this post to empower yourself to know where the lines are drawn so you can feel relaxed and at ease when you are pinning – and repinning – on Pinterest!
Here’s to respecting others’ copyrights, and repinning with love!