To Pin or Not to Pin: The Pinterest Copyright Controversy

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Pinterest Logo - courtesy of (This is how we "pin" to WordPress)

After responding for a third time this week on Facebook regarding the Pinterest Copyright Controversy, it was decided an official Above Promotions Company blog post must be created.   You’ve read other hot topics on this blog, why not this one?

To Pin or Not to Pin, that is the question. 

(At least that is how we believe William Shakespeare would put it.)

It is important to note and yet it is not said as a pitch for us to obtain your business (although we wouldn’t turn it away), but matters of marketing your business should be left to the industry professionals who can be sure your plan of action is one with little to no risk.  With that said, here is our professional view on this topic.   Hopefully you can make a decision you as a business owner or casual user can feel comfortable with based on our feedback.
When the complaints first geared up a few months ago about the small startup company, Pinterest, they were surrounded by the fact people were saving photos from the originator’s site and THEN uploading to their board without giving credit to the source.   Now we see photographers and companies worried about the use of their image speaking up against this sharing site. 
Now to clarify, it is not being said a company should not be concerned about a potential loss in revenue.  It is also not being said a business should not be concerned about their image being used negatively either.  What is being conveyed in this blog is continuously and properly updating your business plan and working your brand in a positive light finds new avenues of income and can drown out the occasional rant or misuse.
Pinterest has proven to be a simple reminder of how in a technology savvy world those who are already struggling to get paid for their images or audio files will continue to be left behind.   To many, this is one more way they are being forced into fighting for or releasing their outdated business model. 
While indeed the businesses who own the images should have a right to where they want them to appear, this is an issue that didn’t just begin with “pinning”.  Google still struggles with the issue of copyrights.  It’s just for right now this start-up company, Pinterest, is getting the attention.  Give it time and the media will again turn back to Google.  
Image of William Shakespeare.  Courtesy of MIT.
Image of William Shakespeare. Courtesy of MIT.
So, to Pin or Not to Pin?

In working with our clients, we utilize the “pin it” button to get an image to a board on Pinterest.  Using the pin it feature allows the “do follow” links of origin to appear.   This saves time and keeps all parties involved from having to quote where image originated.  (You may be scratching your head now as to why we would be concerned about someone being linked to an image we pin.  Quick tip: don’t only pin your products.  People don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to on this site.)

So for the business owner who blogs about products not pertaining to their organization, it is recommended to utilize the originator’s URL for the image, as well as caption under the image quoting the source.  Now, when you’re ready to pin an image from your blog, the “do follow” link will take them back to your page and essentially back to the origin of the photo online.  In general, as long as your blog isn’t attempting to inappropriately sell a product you don’t have rights to or are not generating negative feedback to the readers, many businesses will welcome you sharing their product for free.  Essentially that’s the purpose of the internet and why businesses spend so much money on search engine optimization.

If you are someone who wants to attempt to control all of your images and content that are online, you may be on the don’t pin it and boycott it side.  That’s ok too.  Feel free to utilize the no pinning code on Pinterest and place it on your website.  While you’re at it, be sure to grab one from Tumblr and add the codes to Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask as well. 

Here is one more important note for users of social media sites.  Those Terms and Conditions that you skipped over to start talking to your friends contain valuable information on sharing and possibly selling information and images uploaded to their server.  Think of it as compensation for you using their equipment for free.  Well if this bothers you as well, then you may want to review the policies of the sites you are using and then make a decision not only on Pinterest, but other sites as well. 

Finally, it is to be said that although we enjoy using our account, we are not pro-Pinterest.  We are however, pro-keeping-up-with-the-times and utilizing avenues to reach key demographics.  Our goal is always on ensuring the brands we work with have the best possible outcome of surviving in these times.

So with all of this information, what will you do?  Pin or Not Pin?  We want to hear from you.

(Please note this information on how to share photos on Pinterest is in general.  Results of your use is not guaranteed and is at your own risk.  Contact us for direct marketing advice concerning your business by visiting  


3 thoughts on “To Pin or Not to Pin: The Pinterest Copyright Controversy

  1. I’ve been online since 1994 and thankfully, aren’t as scared off as easily as I once was. I’m going to stay and see what happens. But while I’m hanging out at Pinterest, I’ll be responsible enough to make certain I used photos credited to their original owner. Seems a fair exchange for the joy of viewing so many beautiful things.

    Thanks for clarifying things. It helps to understand the problems.

  2. That is a good plan Joylene!

    Thanks for reading the post! We’ll be monitoring this topic in the coming weeks and months. Feel free to stop back by at any time to learn about any new developments.

    Have a great weekend!

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