Monday, May 19, 2014

Pinterest & Image Copyright Issues

Photo courtesy of Edie Melson
By Laurie Epps

Let's hit the bricks together. What images can you use on the Internet? Which ones can't you use? How to know the difference is covered in our text, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers by Edie Melson. If you need to purchase a copy, just follow my link.

For example, if you'd like to use one of Edie's photos on her blog, she's got expressed written consent directly on her blog, just as I've done.

Pinterest doesn't change those rules, and anything you've posted wrongfully, you're liable for personally.

Pinterest is a great resource for writers. But, be aware of what you're posting. Here's a few things to look for:

  • Just because it's on the Internet, doesn't mean that it's within public domain. Just like our words as writers, it won't necessarily going to bear a (c) copyright symbol to be protected.
  • Also, just because you googled "Free Images" on the Internet doesn't mean they're copyright free images. Note: Make sure you check the website's guidelines before you borrow an image. Some people will simply want photo credit, or attribution--others won't let you use it short of getting paid.
  • Linking back to a site, doesn't make it ok to use. A lot of people think that it sort of gives you free reign, but it simply isn't true. Example: On my Thursday column, I've been writing about dead poets, and in part it's because dead folk don't have that protection. Once a person has been dead for 75 years, it re-opens the floodgates for their work.
  • It's important to know that if you pin something that's in direct violation of copyright law, you & you alone are liable for its usage. You agreed to this when you signed up for Pinterest. To learn more, go to:  http://pinterest/about/terms/

Additional Thoughts:

  • Edie's had friends who researched an images origin, and found a cropped section with inappropriate content embedded in the image. This just reinforces that you should take a few minutes researching its origin.


  • By posting an image on Facebook, you're giving away permission for public use. While it's still a good idea to ask the owner, they're agreeing to public use of their images on Facebook.

Bottom Line:

  • It only takes a few moments to send an email asking for permission to use an image. It demonstrates both professionalism and courtesy.

Connect Activity:

  • Take a few minutes to clean up your Pinterest boards. Move forward with a clean slate.

Come back next week to learn a little about Google Plus.

Can't get enough information about social media? Check out Edie's Social Media Mondays column at:

Laurie Epps is a recent graduate of Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Thoughtful Thursday column dedicated to the fine art of poetry.

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