Wednesday 3 April 2013

Copyright, Pinterest, posting to facebook and so on

Today I've been thinking about copyright issues again and about how users interpret things differently and about how much these things are really worth the average blogger getting upset about.

Basically, contrary to popular opinion, things posted on the Web, although in the public domain are still the intellectual property of the poster and they still, as in the rest of the media world, hold full rights over how their work is distributed and published.  Many people think that, just because it's technically very easy indeed to re-post someone else's work, that it's OK and legal to do so.  It isn't.  A re-poster doesn't have to claim it as one's own work in order for one using the material (say a photo) without permission to be a violation of copyright.  The arguments that someone 'should be flattered', is getting 'free advertising' (quite irrelevant for most non-commercial purposes anyway) and 'shouldn't post their stuff if they don't want others to use it' are really just poor justifications and the last one makes about as much moral sense as saying that one shouldn't buy a picture and hang it in their own living room if they don't want their visitors to steal it!

However, I realise that, no matter how hard anyone tries, they're just not going to stop people using their material and one can tie oneself up in all sorts of knots and waste so much trying to assert copyright that it brought me to the point of thinking, 'If I grant general permission under, basically, non-commercial circumstances, then there will be nothing to get annoyed about.  No-one will have ignored my wishes as I will have allowed them to do what they have done.'  There are just so very many more important things to spend one's time and energy on.  So, I've re-written my copyright page allowing folk to use my images on social networks, book-marking sites and discussion forums, as long as they provide credits and links.  Yes, you can now 'pin' from here.  People were managing to do so, regardless of the former 'nopin' tag anyway...  As long as it's just a hobby-interest setting and you're not planning on making money, directly or indirectly, from the use of one of my photos, you can use it.  Please don't re-publish tutorials, articles or anything like that though.  Links are all that are needed to these things, as they are already in the public domain.

If there's any doubt about what you're interested in using my blog material for, check out the Copyright page and get in touch with me.  I'm almost always going to say 'yes', although with commercial ventures, I may ask for something in return.

I'm just a medium skill embroideress with a moderately popular blog and getting all twisted up about who uses stuff without my permish is both a complete waste of time (as nine times out of ten you make no impact on them anyway when you protest) and just too unimportant an issue to dwell on.  So, use away (within reason - I don't want to find, say, a blog post with a dozen or more of my photos featured!), but just remember to put my blog link and name on.  I'll be interested to see how quickly images proliferate elsewhere now....=)  I've set up my own boards now with only things from my own blog and from which people may repin.

Thanks and enjoy!=)

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2013


  1. Just letting you know I think you do an incredible job with your work. I used your Beetle tutorial to make one for a blog hop & I did post a link to your blog .... I always give credit & I agree with your view ...

    Here is the link if you want to see my Bug - lol

    Thank you for your tutorial ;)

  2. I've kept your wonderful blog to myself, a bit of guilty pleasure. Just a couple of thoughts: You may want to consider watermarking your photos. It only takes a moment and doesn't have be real obvious. Also, there is a way to make your pics unpinnable, totally. I wish I could remember where i saw this info and tutorial but I am sure a google search would bring it up. It is used a lot by photographers and gallery owners.

  3. Anonymous3:48 am

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I've followed your blog via email..and I totally love your work. Maybe putting your blog site or your logo on your photo will help with the IP issues.
    I agree with your thought and I will try to give credits to the designer. cheers.

  4. 最近確實看到網路上很多人討論這個問題。這篇文章將妳的立場表明的更清楚了。我想你是對的,只要將作品放上網就很難控制別人不使用,但我相信連結回原始創作者是一種基本的道德與禮貌!也謝謝妳的提醒喔!judy

  5. It seems like you came to the same point I did. It doesn't matter if I don't allow pins. People put the pictures on another site that does. I have no control over that. I don't know where they have all ended up.
    And people have used them to promote things with no relation to me.

    I just realized the futility of it. I will size down my photos and mark all my photos and open my website to pins, as I just lose when they are pinned from other sites.

    Really, if you don't your work to end up everywhere, don't put it out there at all. That's all we have now.

  6. I am indeed considering marking my photos, although I don't want to spoil them and I know that the vast majority of people are not trying to plagiarise my stuff. If and when the business starts, well that's a different matter.

    Regarding the 'nopin' tag business, yes, I used to use that. The trouble is, it has only limited success. When I searched Pinterest yesterday for things originating on my blog, a page full came up and, given that I have gone through two big take-down procedures with them and these pins were all posted *after* the 'nopin' tag went on my blog (and Pinterest said it was working OK - they even tested it for me), it became obvious that, despite my wishes being made known by the 'Sorry, pinning has been disabled from this blog' notification that comes up, pinners were brazenly (and successfully!) seeking a way to circumvent this and pinned anyway! The bottom line is that I can either a) continue to get mad about it and lose time submitting regular DCMA forms, or b) just allow it and preserve my peace of mind.

    It's not just Pinterest anyway. There are increasing numbers of others posting my stuff elsewhere and even doing whole blog postings etc (which I still won't have, although I daresay I can do nothing about that either). It's like everything in this modern world - the odds are on the side of those who are doing wrong....=( It's just not a big enough deal to lose sleep over, I decided!

  7. Hi Elizabeth. I agree with you, after all that upset when I found out that someone has copied my whole blog (which opened my eyes to the whole business), I decided that life is just too short and it will happen whatever I do. Now I just mark the pictures I really care about and don't want anyone else to claim as their work, but the rest .. as I say, life is too short :-) Lets just enjoy what we do and share it on our blogs.

  8. I agree, I agonised over Pinterest and other similar sites for yonks having been pinned and posted but finally succumbed to 'if you can't beat them...'. I even have a 'follow' badge en blog, and occasionally do now pin myself - but am careful to ensure it's content from those who are happy to share!

    Thanks for your letter, and the scissor info - much appreciated! I shall be in touch soon:)

  9. my opinion about his is that I am happy if people can find ideas in my blog, but I would be not pleased if they just copy my work to sell it.

  10. I know what you mean... it's not at all obvious that it's *possible* to stop copyright infringement online. I hope that the genuine sites will "win" in the end, but there seem tto be a lot of people out there with no ethics.


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