A client of ours emailed us this week about copyrights and using Pinterest. An avid and successful Pinner, she was quite concerned after reading an article describing a truly unfortunate situation.
In the article, a blogger describes how she made the unwitting mistake of using an image she found randomly on Google on her website. The photographer who took the picture came across her site and the end result was a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Needless to say, our client was a little spooked and wanted to make sure she was doing everything above board.
This was certainly a hard way to learn a very valuable lesson and this blogger is providing immense value to the internet community by sharing her story. We can all learn from this mistake.
Fortunately, there’s also no reason to panic.
Don’t Just Google It
The first thing to note, based on her own account, is that this blogger found the image on Google and used it on her site without permission. She then shared her blog across multiple social media channels, which populated the “stolen” image. I can completely understand why she thought this was OK. It seems like “everyone is doing it” and if anyone did say anything she could just take it down. We have had to advise many clients about appropriate image use. Googling a random image and using it for your own on-line channels is never OK.
Avoiding Copyright Infringements
1. When you share or pin content from a website that is not your own, let the post/pin (along with the image that populates) track back to the original website.
Play It Extra Safe
It’s also important to review the policies of the sites you’re using for sharing. Pinterest sums it up pretty succinctly: “Don’t infringe anyone’s intellectual property, privacy or other rights.”
Lastly, when in doubt, don’t use the image or consult with a legal expert.
So, again, don’t panic or close your Pinterest account yet. Just keep in mind that sharing is fantastic, but using other’s photos without permission for your own promotion is not.