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« Like lambs to the slaughter... | Main | Happy birthday, Jordana! »

18 December 2011


Tara Bradford

Thanks, David. I have resisted using watermarks on my images, as it ruins the look and I don't know any professional photographers who favour this measure. However, there is something to be said for embedding the copyright info within the metadata; normally I do this only for my professional work. But I will look into doing it on all my images. The pink typewriter photo I referred to did not ever appear on Lara Rossignol's blog; that's the point. I took the photo and it appeared only on my blog, until it was "pinned" onto Pinterest and wrongly attributed to Lara. Thanks for your input; much appreciated.



The image you use in the post above has no embedded information. If you did "mark" your image by using IPTC or XMP metadata ( then be aware that Pinterest does not preserve this info when it creates the derivative image used within their site.

However, upon inspecting the original image on your original blog post using a free online metadata viewer ( it appears that you are not using this method to inform others of your image ownership.

Since Pinterest and many other social media and photo sharing sites (as well as blogging software) do not preserve embedded photo metadata, I would recommend using a watermark on all of your images in addition to adding your ownership information. See for more details and preliminary survey results on about 50+ services where you can discover which do preserve your metadata.

You might also be interested in a new initiative called the "Embedded Metadata Manifesto" ( which attempts to encourage users and developers about the importance of persisting this embedded information in images and other digital media.

Be aware also that the "attribution" that Pinterest notes on a page ("from XX") seems to only refer to the domain from which the most recent image was "pinned." So if someone "pinned" an image of yours which appeared on Rossignol's blog then it would be noted as being "from" her.

Far better would be a system that would actually reference the "copyright notice" information embedded in the file's IPTC, XMP, or Exif information as the primary reference and only note the last domain referenced as a fall back. However, doing so would require that more creators use embedded information and services/sites not indiscriminately remove that information when making copies of images.

Hope that helps. Thanks for bringing this issue to the attention of many other photographers.


Jeni Simpson

Thanks Tara, having just joined Pinterest, it is great to know, before doing much pinning, that extra care must be taken.

Lynne Rutter

This is much like the rash of image-lifting that was going on when blogs were fairly new. Too many people do image searches and lift the images without having any idea where they came from- they can take the image or its url without seeing the site itself where credit might be noted. Pinterest isn't assigning authorship, they are just labeling the original url of the image, or at least the url where the user found it. It's not Pinterest's fault that people are too lazy to check a site before pinning an image. Now I am seeing "via Pinterest" as a photo credit on blogs rather than the author of the blog making any effort to track the correct credit. It can be infuriating.
I realized years ago I have to watermark my images if I want to have any idea what's happening to them. I mark all of my images with either my copyright (if it's a photo of my artwork) or with the url of my blog, because stuff I publish there is under a creative commons license and I put it there TO share it. If I publish something on my blog that is NOT my own photo then I generally watermark it as to whose it is so it is right there on the image. you simply cannot rely on Blogger or Pinterest or any kind of image search to do that for you.


This is a really great post! I'm so glad that people are speaking up about things like this.

As someone who is on Pinterest, I just thought I'd point out a few things...

*If someone "re-pins" a pin from someone else's board, the source the first person cited automatically gets copied along with it. So if someone lists Google (and 9 times out of 10 that's automatically applied from the page it's bookmarked from) every re-pin will list Google, too, unless someone changes the link.

*There are a lot of people running around giving credit to things, for what it's worth. Often when I see a pin with a bad source (a common problem is that it links back to an entire blog rather than a specific entry) I try to track down a better URL and post it as a comment. I know for a fact that I'm not the only one that does this, so even if some pins are slipping by with bad sources, there's still a chance someone will fix it.

*You might want to keep an eye out on Tumblr, too, because that's where a LOT of unattributed pins come from. There are tons of Tumblr pages that are nothing but images with no text and Pinterest users seem to love them.

*Also, for what it's worth, there are a lot of artists on Pinterest. I'm a writer and I take copyright protection very seriously. I think it's the same with many crafters and photographers on the site. Of course, all it takes is a few bad apples...


I have recently decided to close two of my blogs because my own photos and text have been removed by Blogger/Google from some of my postings.


Good reminder! I never pin photos from Google or Tumblr - I only pin from websites where a clear source and photo credit is visible.

Mary H.

The internet is the new frontier, the wild west so to speak. Please keep this topic in the forefront, Tara. It is important. Especially for the authors, photographers and artists who contribute to our world.


I joined Pinterest-to look at photos from others. Haven't the faintest idea how to post photos there. However if I did, would definitely give credit to the photo owner and expect others to do the same re: my original photos.

Jane Rosemont

Tara, you're the best.




Thanks Tara,
I have noticed how freely people pin pictures from blogs and it has made me uncomfortable. I know in one case I emailed the owner of a picture and asked if I could pin it. But it does seem to be rampant now with pinterest.

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