Squidoo Web Companions

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Tempests in Teacups: Pinterest

Pinterist has generated a huge amount of controversy among Squidoo lensmasters based upon narrow readings of TOS at Pinterest, at Squidoo, at Amazon and other affiliate sites.

I see this as a ‘Tempest in a Teapot’ for the average lensmaster.

Lensmasters are taking this PERSONALLY, which usually always is a bad idea.

The real players in this affair are the large sites, like Amazon, Google, Pinterest and even Squidoo just have something to say.

The focus is NOT on what the individuals using the site are doing. The general public LOVES Pinterest. The very best sites are the ones who access human nature and allow us to express it, and Pinterest does exactly that.

The general public sees something they like and they pin it. They aren’t searching the origins of a pin and looking at copyright and TOS issues at each conceivable link back. There is NO REASON they should have to.

If they DID have to search out pins in that way, they would never use the service.

Yet it is so popular that you can be sure that Amazon, Facebook and Squidoo are getting huge amounts of traffic from it, and SALES from it, and that will only grow.

Therefore all affected sites have a gigantic interest in making Pinterist work, not in taking Pinterist down because of TOS or ‘copyright’ issues. They are interested in how they can make the most of such a good idea. They will WORK IT OUT.

The average lensmaster gets a great deal of benefit from using Pinterist. I’ve already seen traffic from it and even a couple of sales. The better my pins, the better the traffic, and it is a smart lensmaster that looks for good traffic sources and keeps them alive.

Lensmasters, for purposes of the true players in the debate, are considered along with the public, as general use participants, NOT as people with a LEGAL STAKE IN THE GAME.

It is ABSOLUTELY in your best interest to REMAIN in the general public sector of the debate, and not proclaim that you have a legal stake. You are far more protected legally by remaining in the general use pool of stake-holders than doing anything else.

Imagine Facebook if they had gotten caught up in whether links and postings were to be thoroughly examined for copyright issues and permissions! There would be NO SUCH THING as Facebook now, but it is, in fact, a major player.

The reason is something VERY SIGNIFICANT that is completely minimized in these arguments.

It is the ‘Fair Use Clause’ of copyright law.

The ENTIRE WEB runs on that one clause alone, and without it there would be no web, no Facebook, and no Squidoo.

You can devote your time and effort on copyright issues with Pinterest, Amazon, Facebook and Google, and even bother your fellow Squidoo general public lensmasters with it, but it serves a regular Squidooer no healthy purpose at all.

You will do better to continue pinning as the general public and using that and other pinning sites to increase your own traffic and sales, and let the EXPERTS work out their TOS that will accommodate such a terrific service.

Update: Pinterest has updated their TOS

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20 comments on “Tempests in Teacups: Pinterest

  1. Patricia Sanders
    March 24, 2012

    Great article and my thoughts on this issue too!

  2. Virginia Allain
    March 24, 2012

    Hear, Hear! I’ve been unwilling to give up my pinboards which have been great fun compiling. Pinterest has linked me to lots of crafts, genealogy and other topics where I’ve enjoyed exploring blogs and sites new to me.

    I figure if there is something wrong with pinning, eventually they would dump us all off. But in the meantime, I merrily filled my boards and enjoy my time exploring. It’s a great idea site which has inspired me to make a number of new lenses.

    The traffic from Pinterest is super. Although many people just pin the pretty pictures and never go to the original site, enough do visit to make it quite worthwhile for a lensmaster.

  3. savingwithsusan
    March 24, 2012

    Yes, yes, yes! You’ve said it perfectly. I’m loving the ease of arranging my bookmarks as ‘pins’, and I find that people are more likely to re-pin than they are to ‘re-tweet’ or ‘FB share’ my work, so I get more visits. 🙂

  4. Lesley Stevens
    March 24, 2012

    You put this perfectly. I love your style of writing. It’s very hard to argue with logic isn’t it? Watch them try. Great job.

  5. B.G. Hart (@Gale427)
    March 24, 2012

    I agree. I haven’t taken my boards down, but I will be careful to avoid pinning the work of people who have said they are against it.

  6. squidoospook
    March 25, 2012

    Personally I agree with you. Fair use is exactly that and more people should realise this. I’ll bet those moaning the loudest are only doing so to assuage their own guilt feelings. It’s often the case of those moaning the loudest have got the most to hide? I have seen this most of my life anyway.

  7. squidoospook
    March 25, 2012

    Personally I agree with you. Fair use is exactly that and I wish more people would realise this. I’ll bet that those moaning the loudest have got the most to hide? Well that is what I have seen through most of my life which actually is quite a long one.

  8. GADEL
    March 26, 2012

    I think I agree with you.

  9. Margaret Brown
    March 28, 2012

    Love this article, Margaret. Pinterest has been good to me and my lenses for sure!

  10. Kim
    March 28, 2012

    Pinterest is NOT fair use. Fair use is a four part balancing test, and one of the sections is the amount of a work that you are using. Another is the type of use (for example, criticism or commentary). Pinterest is taking entire photographs, not just thumbnails. There is no commentary, no criticism, no parody. You are just taking someone else’s work and posting it online.

    If you took the photographs, then you do have a legal stake in what happens to them. You own the copyright. That is your property and you have the right to choose what people do with it, just like with physical property. I don’t let strangers wander into my house and use what they would like. I don’t let people take entire articles that I have written and post them on their own website. Why would I let someone take my photographs.

    I use Pinterest. I like the site. But I only post three things: images that I own and am willing to allow to be pinned, public domain images, and images where I am 100% sure that the copyright holder is willing to have it pinned (typically, situations where the copyright holder has an obvious link to their own Pinterest account and has pinned the images already).

    I treat people’s property with respect, as I expect them to treat mine. Just because something is on the internet does not mean anyone can use it. Stealing is wrong, no matter what the form.

    • Margaret
      March 28, 2012

      If you have something you think is so valuable, Kim, then don’t put it on the web, anywhere, at any time. That is finally your only true protection and Google and anyone with expertise will tell you exactly that.

    • Margaret
      March 28, 2012

      Furthermore, Kim, when did you accuse Google of ‘stealing’ your images? Yahoo? When did they ask your permission to post your images in Google search? Its a ridiculous argument all the way around, that your property isn’t respected. No, indeed it isn’t if you don’t do the same things professionals do- find out the true value of your pictures, and copyright them, and claim them as professional assets on your business accounting.

      • Kim
        March 30, 2012

        I don’t have to DO anything to copyright my work. Copyright is inherent when the work is created.

        Also, who said I don’t claim them as professional assets or sell them elsewhere? You have no knowledge of my business or photography, so why are you being so rude? I do not understand why people take it so personally when people don’t like Pinterest. People hate Twitter too, but I’ve never seen someone take it personally.

        People only get this angry when their conscience is bothering them. If you weren’t doing anything wrong, you wouldn’t feel the need to attack others.

      • Margaret
        March 30, 2012

        Well here you are again Kim. Delightful to see you as always.

        Perhaps you haven’t followed developments in copyright law, and if not I can’t blame you.

        However I really doubt that humanity will take down the whole web just because you and others like you are worried about someone violating your ‘copyright.’ Even copyrighted information can be used under certain circumstances according to the Fair Use Clause, and if your ‘protected’ stuff is on the internet, then it is fair game for such fair use.

  11. Thomas Carlson
    March 28, 2012

    Pin away is what I say! Very well written article.

  12. karencookiejar
    March 30, 2012

    I love Pinterest and I agree with your viewpoint!

  13. Sue
    March 30, 2012

    I really enjoy pinterest, I am unsure what all the fuss is about. If someone pins your photos do you not get a link to your site. Is this not good to get more traffic to your site, I thought that was what the web was all about.
    I have found so many great craft, recipe and gardening sites just through pinterest, I do not think I would have found them if not for the site.

  14. Lisa Howard
    April 13, 2012

    I agree. Pinterest may have its growing pains, but I think it will eventually work out the copyright issues and it will continue to be popular and trafficked, just like YouTube or Facebook or all the other sites that have fair use content.

  15. interstellaryeller
    April 26, 2012

    My first point is, if pinterest wants to play nice with others it needs to keep the original pin and link UNMODIFIED. Pinners need not do anything to artwork just pin and repin thats the big stink. Second point is most lensmaters receieve visits from attribute photo tags from searches on all the search engines. Duplicated content does not work well with seo. So in a nutshell if pinterest leaves artwork and links in original form alot more lensmasters would be sympathic to the cause. Because we lose money sales and visitors when are links are modified.

    • Margaret
      April 26, 2012

      It isn’t exactly true that duplicated content is bad for seo. It depends very heavily on WHAT is ‘duplicate content’ which you would have noticed if you had read the post. There are untold millions of examples where duplicate content is not only perfectly fine, it is REQUIRED, most especially in regard to products, promotional copy and manufacturer’s specs. Ignore Fair Use Clause all you want, but without it there wouldn’t even be an internet, an entertainment industry, a news industry, a magazine industry, and so forth. The importance of that clause cannot be overstated, but focusing on unimportant minutiae really distorts the reality of the world and how the internet operates.

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