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Pinterest And Copyright


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#1 Mikl

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:12 AM

I've started to notice several of my photos turning up on Pinterest without my permission. These are photos which I took myself, and which I have published on my own sites (with appropriate copyright notices).

 

I've read in this forum, and elsewhere, that getting postings on Pinterest is highly desirable for SEO purposes, and is something that webmasters should encourage.

 

So should I be grateful that someone has taken the trouble to post these photos, or should I try to get them removed?

 

On the one hand, posting these pictures is an infringement of my copyright. As soon as one person posts it, others "re-pin" it (that is, they copy it) - again without my permission. Furthermore, there's seems to be a general idea that photos on Pinterest are in the public domain, which in turn encourages even more people to copy them.

 

On the other hand, the photos on Pinterest have a link back to the original page on my site. Is that of any value? The links are nofollow, and - looking at my stats for the last few months - I have never received a single visit as a result of them (which isn't surprising; after all, if you were looking for a particular photo and found it on Pinterest, what incentive would you have for visiting the page that the photo was lifted from?)

 

Then again, I'm obviously not  the only photographer in the world who is in this situation, and we don't hear of huge numbers of images being removed from Pinterest in response to take-down notices. So I must be missing something.

 

Any comments or advice would be appreciated.

 

Mike



#2 Jill

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:20 AM

So should I be grateful that someone has taken the trouble to post these photos, or should I try to get them removed?

 

 

 

 

Be grateful.

 


On the other hand, the photos on Pinterest have a link back to the original page on my site. Is that of any value?

 

 

 

 

 

It can be a signal to Google that there's valuable content on your site.

 

IMO it's a good thing. They're promoting you without you having to lift a finger.



#3 chrishirst

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:20 AM

On the other hand, the photos on Pinterest have a link back to the original page on my site. Is that of any value? The links are nofollow, and - looking at my stats for the last few months - I have never received a single visit as a result of them

I would say that you asked and answered your own question in one paragraph there.

 

and we don't hear of huge numbers of images being removed from Pinterest in response to take-down notices. So I must be missing something

Well, it's up to you, nobody else is going to file a complaint to Pinterest on your behalf

 

http://about.pinterest.com/copyright/



#4 Mikl

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:34 AM

Thanks for those quick answers.

 

Jill, you say the posting is "a signal to Google that there's valuable content on your site". But surely the only way that Gogle knows there is any relationship between the photo and my site is the link attached to the photo. But that link is a nofollow link. Are you saying that Google does attach value to nofollow links after all (which goes against everything I've read on the subject)? Or is it something special about Pinterest that causes Google to give is some kind of special treatment?

 

Mike



#5 chrishirst

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:45 AM

Google uses 'nofollow' links for URL discovery and whether they are nofollow or not, they can be "self-placed" at Pinterest which is going to mean that 'value' is more likely to be zero or at best minimal.

 

So the only 'value' that YOU could be sure of gaining from those links is the traffic, which as you have said is none.



#6 BobetteKyle

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:09 AM

Apart from SEO, those are real people with real eyeballs pinning and repinning. As long as there is a link to your site, you are suffering no harm and there may be some good. IMO it's your decision.

 

1) If you decide you are not comfortable with it, you can put the no pin code in your header, which will block people from pinning:

<meta name="pinterest" content="nopin" /> 

2) If you want to get more from the eyeballs, you could put your URL semi-transparent on the photos. When I started doing that with pics on my site, I noticed an increase in organic searches for my URL. 

 

hth 

~Bobette (who has been "gone missing" for years, but thought I'd pop in for this one. lol)



#7 Mikl

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 12:13 PM

Chris, thanks for that comment, which confirms what I assumed.

 

Bobette, thank also. We haven't met before, but I'm pleased to meet you.

 

However, I don't agree that I am suffering no harm. The photos are my copyright, and it is not in my interest to let anyone copy them at will. In one particular case, I sold a licence to re-print one of the pics to a commercial (printed) magazine. It was only after that fact that I discovered the photo on Pinterest. To say the least, it caused me some embarrassment.

 

(I should add that I am not a professional photographer. It just happens that I had a photo that the mag was interested in.)

 

I'll certainly consider your idea of a semi-transparent URL. As for the nopin attribute, I feel that is not the solution, for two reasons:

 

1. It should not be the photographer's responsibility to tell people not to rip off his photos. The default is that no photos should be "pinned" unless permission for that is explicitly given - not the other way round.

 

2. I run several sites which between them have thousands of photos. It would be hard work to retrospectively tag every page with a nopin attribute.

 

I would be happy to leave things as they are, if I thought I was getting some benefit. I'm not yet convinced that I am, but I will keep an open mind for now.

 

Mike



#8 BobetteKyle

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 02:13 PM

Nice to meet you, too Mike. Yeah, it could be an issue if you sell pics in the future as never been circulated. Some who use a website to display sellable images only use low resolution online (and sell the hi res or prints) and/or put a watermark across it dark enough to make the online image unusable.

 

It's an unfortunate truth that a huge number of the general population is clueless about copyright and think if they can find it on the Internet they can use it. As wrong as it may be to have to defend your inherent right, the problem won't be going away soon. As far as putting that code on your site, if you use Wordpress or some kind of other template/"includes", I think you should be able to put the tag in once per site, in the header.  

 

On the plus side, Pinterest does take the copyright form seriously and will remove all pins and repins of each image you report, as well as send a notice to the original pinner that a "ding" has been placed on their account. But without taking other, preventative, action you'll most likely keep running up against the same problem with different pics. 

 

I've been in the wedding industry the last few years and it's definitely a hot topic with the photographers...some have embraced Pinterest with full-blown accounts and post low resolution images there themselves, with small watermarks or URLs, to help attract clients. Others, not. If you wanted to do more research, that area would probably be a good source of more info.



#9 Jill

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:04 PM

Gogle knows there is any relationship between the photo and my site is the link attached to the photo. But that link is a nofollow link. Are you saying that Google does attach value to nofollow links after all (which goes against everything I've read on the subject)?

 

 

 

 

Google doesn't use nofollowed links to pass PageRank, but that doesn't mean they don't look at them or use them for other purposes such as social signals. Look in your GWMT account. Specifically the "links to your site" section. You'll see the list includes those that have nofollow on them.



#10 Mikl

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 07:14 AM

Bobette, you  made some good points. But, reading back over this thread, I realise I've focused too much on the issues of copyright and enforcement. My main concern is not how to prevent my images being pinned, or how to get the existing pins removed. What I really wanted to know was whether I was getting any benefit from the pins.

 

Jill, you've partly answered that question. If I've understood it right, you're saying that links from Pinterest don't pass page rank (because they are nofollow), but they do have a "social signal". I just wish I could get my head round was a "social signal" is. And why does Pinterest have the ability to pass social signals, whereas other site presumably don't?

 

I'm sorry if I'm being obtuse, but if someone could help me out with this, I'd be grateful.

 

Mike



#11 Jill

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 09:16 AM

 If I've understood it right, you're saying that links from Pinterest don't pass page rank (because they are nofollow), but they do have a "social signal".

 

 

Well, that's just my assumption. 

 


 And why does Pinterest have the ability to pass social signals, whereas other site presumably don't?

 

 

 

 

 

No it's not just Pinterest. Any social sharing site would provide signals to Google, IMO.



#12 Alan Perkins

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 09:30 AM

IMO - and this really is just my opinion, not scientific or anything - nofollow is to be ignored.

 

It's just a smokescreen, exactly as Pagerank was in the old days (and still is, to a lesser extent) - a misdirection for SEOs to obsess about when the real action is going on elsewhere.

 

Sure, if you run a site that contains UGC (user generated content), then by all means put nofollow on some or all UGC links as a means of protecting yourself.

 

But other than that, if as an SEO you find yourself worrying about nofollow - then you're probably doing the wrong kind of SEO.


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#13 Mikl

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 10:41 AM

OK, Jill. I get what you're saying now. Thanks for the clarification.

 

Alan, thanks for your comments as well. You said:

 

 

if as an SEO you find yourself worrying about nofollow - then you're probably doing the wrong kind of SEO.

 

 

 

I'm sure that's right, but it's not the issue as far as I'm concerned. I'm not doing SEO here. I'm just trying to decide if it would do more harm than good to get these photos removed.

 

The saving grace is that the site in question does not depend on Google for most of its traffic. So, even if I make the wrong decision, it's not going to kill my business.

 

Mike






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