In 2009, I took the above photograph in my Paris apartment, using my Sony A900. I posted the photograph on my blog Paris Parfait. But the image you see on today's post didn't come from my photo files; instead I downloaded it from Pinterest.
How did it get there? Someone "pinned" it, giving another photographer credit. That photographer is Lara Rossignol, who happens to be a brilliant photographer and author of the lovely blog Piewacket. Lara owns a pink Royal typewriter exactly like this one. But she didn't take the photo; I did (and Lara has no direct role in this comedy of errors). Yet on Pinterest, the photo source is listed as "From Google.com" and the credit given to "Lara Rossignol."
This is just one example of erroneous photo credit on Pinterest.com. In a Pinterest search I found hundreds of my photos displayed under Paris Parfait and Tara Bradford. I don't have time to check every photograph; a quick run-through suggests most images have proper photo credit listed. But I noticed a few "pinners" list Google as the source and no direct attribution is provided. Obviously, Google is not a photographer and doesn't take photographs (other than for Google Maps).
Some people argue that having one's photos used on Pinterest is good publicity. Maybe, but only if proper photo accreditation is provided. I found several Pinterest examples where another photographer's work is listed under my name! For instance, photographs from the divine Fifi O'Neill's book Romantic Prairie Style - used in my blog piece, with permission - are wrongly listed on Pinterest as mine. Instead, they should be credited to Mark Lohman, who took all the photographs in Fifi's book.
To report a copyright violation, Pinterest requires filling out a separate form for every single image wrongly attributed or falsely credited. This seems like a lot of paperwork (and time) to safeguard images already protected by copyright law. It's no wonder many photographers are dismayed by having to track their images on Pinterest.
So all you lovely people who see online images that interest you, if you want to use them, make sure you give the photographer proper credit. I have a Creative Commons license, which means my photographs may be used in an attribution share-alike sense, only for non-commercial purposes. You are allowed to share the images in public forums - with attribution - but you can't put my photographs on posters or greeting cards or any other commercial ventures. If you would like to use them for a non-profit campaign flyer or in a theatre production program, etc., kindly email and ask permission.
If you want to "pin" my photographs on Pinterest, please provide proper photo credit! I would never use your work without giving you credit; please show the same respect for mine.
In two extreme cases, I applied for a Google takedown notice. After finding my photographs used without permission or without credit, I emailed the sites in question, politely asking that the photos be removed. The site owners ignored several requests, so I issued takedown notices. They were forced to delete my images.
Read more about copyright protection: