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« Swans swimming | Main | The new reality, thanks to Pinterest »

11 April 2013


Tara Bradford

Carol, thank you. I appreciate the apology and I do understand that most people who "pin" such photos do so with the best of intentions.


I am sorry. I apparently pinned one of your photos when I was searching for examples of Hebron pottery. I hope I haven't pinned any other photos of yours, and if I have, I would be happy to delete the pins.

Rick Peerboom

Dear Tara,
Good for You! I look at the pix and associated articles on Pin occasionally but never read the fine print! The idea that you want your pictures NOT used should be respected. I feel a little like a copy cat when I download a pic for my crafts ideas file. Pinterest needs to point out the copyright issue more plainly or moderate more closely. Perhaps even prohibit downloads of pix as some sites do. Just a few lines of support and also an overdue "Thanks" for all the delightful reading of your blog for several years! Don't stop, please!

Sincerely a Fan,
Rick Peerboom

Tara Bradford

Jeanie, thank you! I appreciate your efforts. So many Pinterest users seem clueless about copyright. Perhaps if they bothered to read and follow Pinterest's Terms of Service, much of these issues could be avoided.

Tara Bradford

Marilyn, thanks so much for your efforts to educate people about copyright and fair use. It's astonishing that so many people claim that anything appearing on the internet is theirs for the taking. This cavalier attitude of entitlement and avoiding responsibility doesn't bode well for society.

Tara Bradford

Hello "Maldonine" (if that is your real name, since you provided no identifying information with your comment) - I have better things to do with my time than send literally hundreds of emails to all those "pinners" who were too thoughtless or too naive not to know better than to "pin" someone else's original work w/o permission. If people are using a service such as Pinterest, they should take the time to learn how it works. A simple glance at Pinterest's Terms of Service should be sufficient to realise you can't just grab anything you see. Further, as I am not a member of Pinterest, I have no way of knowing how to contact the offenders, as their email addresses do not appear with their "pins."

Under copyright law, the legal process to combat copyright infringement requires issuing the web host (Pinterest) with formal take-down notices - providing a separate link for every single photo! How Pinterest chooses to address the violations with its users is company policy and has nothing to do with me.

As for your comment that one of my complaints was that Pinterest doesn't drive traffic to my site, you are wrong. I have zero interest in receiving traffic from Pinterest. I do not want even a single photo appearing on Pinterest. This is why I've long had the "do not pin" code on my websites, as well as copyright notices on my blog and blog posts. The fact that people choose to ignore this information means there may be consequences for using my work without permission. Photography and writing are my jobs, not a hobby, as Pinterest seems to be for many people.

You also seem to be suggesting that I am the only one who doesn't want her work on Pinterest. On the contrary, there are hundreds of thousands of creators who don't want their work on Pinterest. The misconception that anything on the internet is free appears to be widespread among Pinterest users. And Pinterest is not without blame by actively encouraging users to "pin" others' work. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, this does not constitute fair use. Thus far Pinterest has gotten around such legalities by shifting the blame onto the users.

P.S. No surprise! Just sent a copy of this comment via email to the email address you provided and it bounced back, saying "no such email" exists. If you have something to say, at least have the courtesy to use your real name.


For all the time it took you to report all the pins to the Pinterest police (on people I suspect were 95% unaware of your no-pin policy) you could have contacted them instead.
But now several people have had their days and accounts tarnished, and a wave of bad feeling has spread out, all because of naively ignoring how the internet works: that people find things they like and immediately want to share them.

When people are looking at pretty images they don't stop to read the small print on another part of the page or website; and that's if the image was even found on that site at all, rather than via Google image search or Tumblr - Tumblr being the mother-load for uncredited images, and unstoppable by any code - even Flickr's.
From there it gets namelessly seeded to Pinterest and We Heart it and the thousand clone sites of each.

Being realistic about it Betty's right: if you don't want it shared, don't put it online. It's that simple.

A person absolutely has the right to desire where their work is or seen or not; but ultimately they don't get to choose, because this is the internet.

Putting a watermark across the face of your images won't stop them being pinned, but if you at least have a more legible website address on them you may get more traffic back to your site (which was one of your complaints) when your work inevitably turns up on another website.
You don't even need to deface your work by watermarking it on the image, you could have a small text strip at the bottom with your web address and the words 'do not pin or re-post/upload' or something similar. Then the majority of Pinterest /Tumblr, etc. users (who are actually decent people) would SEE IT, and respect it, and obey your wishes. Those few who might just crop that off and upload it anyway are assholes who won't be stopped however you watermark it.

The misconception here seems to be that you believe everyone was aware of your wishes on the subject, and redistributed your work in defiance of those wishes; whereas I believe that like me, most people just didn't know. If I had known I'd never have pinned it, because -no offence- I didn't like the image enough to make all this hassle worth it.


Thanks, Tara! I appreciate that you have brought this more readily to all of our attentions. Because of your posts I rarely go on pinterest anymore, as I am so afraid of infringing on someones rights. I did get in a bit of an argument with someone recently about this. They felt like if we were taking pictures of public places they should be able to pin them. Hopefully I set her straight about infringement, though not as well as you would have been able to do.


@Betty - I was overwhelmed when I first discovered over 100 of my photos pinned and repinned on many Pinterest boards.

Removing all the infringements did take some work, but it was a one time effort which I outlined in my other post (No Pin Code, watermark in middle of all photos).

Tilting at windmills? Not at all in my case, I've stopped pinterest users and their pinning capers dead in their tracks.


Tara Bradford

Wow, Betty (if that is your real name)! I don't know you, but it appears you jump to conclusions and/or have a lot of pre-conceived notions. First of all, I have moderated all comments since 2008, so it's nothing to do with you. I have received one comment from you today and here it is, published! So I'm not sure what you're complaining about...

Second, I don't know what you do for a living, but you clearly have little respect for artists or photographers and their original content. "Keep tilting at windmills, lady?" Ha ha, aren't you funny?! Too bad your sense of decorum doesn't match your humour. It's curious that you aren't polite enough to apologise for using my photos without permission - and are in fact, defiant about your multiple instances of copyright infringement - which hardly qualifies you to give advice about anything.

As for your opinion about me blogging, I'm really not interested. If you dislike my work so much, why do you keep appropriating it for your Pinterest boards??!!


I find it a bit suspect that all the comments that made it beyond moderation are supportive or you and your cause. I doubt my words will get published on your page, but I need to say my peace...

I did pin images from your site. It was not inadvertent and I am certainly not going to apologize. It was almost three years ago and most likely before you had ever heard of Pinterest. I don't read your blog regularly so I was unaware of your ongoing (and fruitless) fight against pinning. Obviously, if that had been the case when I originally pinned the images I would not have done it. I respect your feelings about the subject even though I don't agree. Even if I think your logic is flawed and your cause is pointless, I do recognize that you are in the right, legally.

Now that I have received two notifications of complaints from your blog via Pinterest, I will scour my boards and remove any other pins from you. I would just let pinterest go through and delete the pins, but apparently the removals are strikes against my account.

Personally, I think you are wasting your time but it's not for me to decide how you spend your time. Keep tilting at windmills, lady...

Oh, and to answer your question... Yes, after seven years you need to stop blogging. If you do not want your photos reproduced or shared you need to stop posting them on your blog. I know that's not the answer you want to hear, but that's the truth.


Once again, let me add my voice to those thanking you for bringing this to light. I'm trying to get some upcoming posts together and would like to link back to this page, as it is worth sharing.

you know, until all this started with you, I never thought about Pinterest much. And didn't know how to check to see what might be out there. It's a lot. I don't go to Pinterest often to pin, but you have made me very attentive to asking if I can pin on the rare occasions I do -- thanks.

Tara Bradford

Ally, thanks for your continued support! Certainly you are right about copyright protection being an ongoing cost of business these days - particularly as Pinterest (by its very nature as a content aggregator) encourages people to use other people's work. Maybe if Pinterest started charging its users a fee for each instance of copyright violation, they'd start to show more respect for copyright. Meanwhile, all artists and content creators must remain ever vigilant, it seems.

Tara Bradford

Carina, I hope you set that author straight about stealing your work! There is no excuse whatsoever for such deception. You are right about the tired argument(s) too many people use..."too busy to check source; didn't realise copyright," etc. If they're using the internet, they should know enough to respect other people's work. Too many people stubbornly cling to the lazy, naive notion that "everything is free" on the web - despite evidence to the contrary. Although of course if it were their original work being appropriated, it is expected they wouldn't be quite so relaxed about observing copyright law.

Tara Bradford

Barbara, I, too am flabbergasted over someone pinning my family photos! Really no excuse... Thanks for your support!

Tara Bradford

Nicola, thank you! I appreciate the apology and explanation, as well as the kind words about my blog.

Tara Bradford

Hi Glen - Thanks for your comments about your own experiences battling copyright infringement on Pinterest. I have had the "do not pin" code on my website for ages, but it doesn't seem very effective. Like you, I'm beginning to think the only solution is to insert a large watermark across the photos - even though I think this looks very unprofessional and in general spoils the look of the photos. Like you, I've had people pin photos with watermarks in the lower right or lower left corners; this doesn't seem to deter "pinners" in the slightest. (See Carina's comment). As for that "if you don't want something copied, don't put it on the internet" lazy excuse people give, that's just their way of trying to shift blame for their thoughtless actions on to the creator. In 2013 - as much as the internet has evolved - that tired story just doesn't stand. If people are clever enough to use Pinterest or any other web platform or social media, they're smart enough to know about and respect copyright.

Tara Bradford

Hi P Cruikshank-Scott - the "pin" you refer to was my photograph of a large poster taken in Utrecht Centraal Station, Utrecht, the Netherlands. The "pin" of the photograph was taken either directly from my blog or from Google, as it never appeared anywhere else (until Pinterest)... I appreciate the apology and kind words.


Hi Tara, sorry for your pinterest infringers.

I've had to submit hundreds of DMCA takedowns as well to pinterest for infringement of my photos.

I have managed to stop the unwanted pinning from my website to 1 every 2 months:

1) I implemented the pinterest No Pin Code on every web page on my site.

2) Added a big watermark in the middle of each of my photos.

Number 1) stops pinning from my site directly, and number 2) has stopped pinning from google images (I think).

I have noticed photos on pinterest by other photographers with watermarks on their bottom edge. After seeing that those watermarked photos were pinned, and, reading over and over on forums "if you don't want your photo copied, then don't put it on the internet, people will just naturally copy it", I elected for an in-your-face watermark.


P. Cruickshank-Schott


I also, am a person who inadvertently pinned an image of yours... I got an email this afternoon, with a link to a pin I do not recognize... that doesn't mean I didn't pin it, I have a lot of pins... It's a lovely painting ( though, not a photograph. I've also never been to your website, so if I pinned it I got it somewhere else, which probably means you didn't get credit for it. That is terribe. Because it's been removed, I can't trace that.

I'm writing to say I'm really sorry and to let you know that Pinterest seems to take this kind of thing really seriously and I got a strike on my record for it. I've never had that happen in almost 15,000 pins, so I hope you'll understand that I respect artist's work and am so sorry if I pinned an artwork of yours improperly.

I certainly hope you will continue your blog and I'm really sad to hear you had to spend so much of your valuable time tracking down so many wrongly pinned items.

most sincerely,

P. Cruickshank-Schott

Nicola Coulter

As the one of the people who inadvertently re-pinned one of your photos after it had originally been pinned by somebody else, I apologise a hundred times. I had no idea the original pin had been had been taken with out your permission. I do not pin directly any images other than my own. Instead of just re-pinning in future I will fully check where the photo has come from. Please do not stop blogging as I would love to be able follow you via your blog.


Photos featuring your daughter? Your daughter's wedding? Seriously?!!!!


I'm infuriated for you. I haven't looked lately as I can't give it the time or energy right now to get into asking for images to be removed.

Recently a published author (yes, someone who knows better) cropped my watermark, posted the image on Facebook and directed the traffic to her Pinterest account. Livid!

The argument that people just don't realise is old now. It is wrong to steal from a shop, it is wrong to lift words from another writter, and it is wrong to use a photo without permission.

As for Tumblr......there's a whole other Pandora's Box!

Ally Bean

I'm listening, but you knew that already. I've taken maybe 3 stunning photos in my life, so your talent amazes me. I know how much skill and effort it takes to do what you do. Sadly, I don't think that most people understand all that you go through to protect your work/name/integrity. Nor do they care.

I admire you for bringing this issue to light, but wonder if the people who need to understand the implications of what they're doing wrong will ever acknowledge that there is a problem. Laws be damned, you know? And until they admit that there is a problem, you're going to be fighting this battle every day. Which is lousy for you.

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