Monday 13 February 2012

Pinterest gets right what Tumblr got wrong

Follow Me on Pinterest

I've started making boards on 
Pinterest, a fascinating new site that I think is going to be a big thing for artists. 

Attributing artwork is something I believe to of huge importance, not just the letter of the copyright laws, but also attributing art to artists who've dead for hundreds of years. I've written about it *ahem* a few times. (Thisthisthisthis...)

Here on Blogger, if I want to re-share some artwork, I need to save it to my drive, and re-upload it. There's a bit of work involved. So attributing the art is just a tiny step, and one I think is more likely for bloggers to do since they're crafting a whole post. 

While there are ways to effectively use Tumblr and be respectful of creators, as I've written before, it's easy to lose track of a creator of an image and have it shared and re-shared thousands of time without attribution. The reblog button makes the initial person's mistake too easy to replicate.  In part, I created the Trilobite Boy Tumblr to get a handle on how Tumblr works. You can attach an url that would follow the artwork, but it's not mandatory. So tons of people just blog away, and creators lose all credit for their images all too often. 

Enter the new site Pinterest. 

Pinterest was first on my radar when my wife mentioned it looked interesting for sharing artwork. Then, via Twitter, I read ZDNet's "Why small business can't afford to overlook Pinterest". I maintain a Twitter feed for a national retailer, and thought this was right on the mark. But I like to test things with my own accounts before bringing it to clients. Then, my friend and fantastic artist Eric Orchard started in on it in a big way. He has a good eye for effective media for artists.

Pinterest takes the responsibility of attribution away from the user: I'm using it in Chrome, and I placed a little button on my Bookmarks bar. If I'm on a site, and wish to pin an inspiring piece of artwork onto one of my themed bulletin Boards (say, "science art that inspires me") then I click on the Pin It button, and Pinterest creates a screen that has all the images from that webpage on it. I pick the one I want, click, write a description if I wish, and post on the board. There's the option to tweet or Facebook-stream it too.

But the best part? Anyone else following that bulletin board of mine who decides to pin it on their board, will still have the original link to the original website functional if someone clicks on the art itself. The more artwork is shared on Pinterest, the more potential hits the blog, gallery or website will have.

Pinterest got respect for creators right. And they made it so easy.

You can find my Pinterest at

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!


Unknown said...

Great post! I am really hoping Pinterest continues to take off. It really does solve the issue of attribution so well and it's very effective at driving traffic. And it's not as much work as other social networks.

Thanks for the shout out! said...

Yeah, I'm liking Pinterest too... great way to share things you love on the web. Maybe I should take a stand and move An Eye over to Pinterest?!

Glendon Mellow said...

Kapi, for some reason one of your comments has appeared in my inbox, but not here on the blog.

You were raising concern over this statement in Pinterest's Terms of Service:

By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.
(emphasis mine).

I've sent them a tweet asking about it.

It does seem at odds with the statement that follows, a little further down:
"you are solely responsible for all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services. "

I think I will email them for clarification.

Glendon Mellow said...

I wonder if when they say "sell" and "exploit" they mean sell information and images of what's on the boards to marketers for use as targeted marketing data, as opposed to say, selling t-shirts.

Glendon Mellow said...

It seems they make money off of things like links to say, Amazon, found in the uploaded content. That's no big deal. Not sure if it's what they meant by "sell" though.

Tygenco said...

It looks neat... But the whole "sell" and "exploit" thing is a bit of a turnoff without having complete clarification.

Because we don't need any more art-theft going around, and some folks make their livelihoods off of their art.

Something for me to ponder, at the very least.

Glendon Mellow said...

It's stickier than I realized, Tygenco.

I sent an email to Pinterest today, and we'll see what they say. If I make a separate post about it, I'll be sure to comment here so that anyone subscribed to this conversation will know.

Leilah said...

I'm thrilled to see you over there - the site has so much more potential than the idiotic sayings it tends to get used for. I've been enjoying what you've put up so far (saw your boards yesterday) and I think it's fantastic to get artists on there directly.

My sister uses it to get various artists out there, and support etsy shops she likes. I particularly like it for science links and to help drive people to photographers whose work I like. I've been experimenting with adding some new boards for things like costume research and old/bad movie fandom as well.

I really dislike Tumblr's lack of attribution as well, but I do think it will continue to be useful for a lot of the things that Pinterest won't allow (there's an "obscenity" statement in there somewhere, though I haven't heard of anyone getting nabbed by that one yet).

Unknown said...

I did find some clarification on the site: The rights apply "only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services" So, I take that to mean no T Shirt sales by Pinterest. Also, this" Cold Brew Labs does not claim any ownership rights in any such Member Content and nothing in these Terms will be deemed to restrict any rights that you may have to use and exploit any such Member Content"

Glendon Mellow said...

I agree Eric: I think what all of this amounts to is likely the usual sall our data to marketers. I'm just curious if they plan in making a media deal like Twitpic did.

That wouldn't stop me from using the site from my own work, but it does change what I would pin. They say in their terms you must have permission to pin, so I delete things I didn't have permission for; I 'm only going to pin my work and things already on Pinterest.

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Leilah! I agree it has a lot of potential.

Another nice feature is that I'd you delete a pin, any subsequent pins of that image by other people will disappear from their boards. So if there is a copyright infringement, so long as you delete the initial one, subsequent ones are fixed also.

I wish I could create a nice big science-art board for Symbiartic, but for sure I'd need permissions.

Grace | labor posters said...

I'm happy your enjoying your stay on Pinterest. I find the website very useful for art sharing purposes.

starfleetbrat said...

hi, found this post via pintrest. Just wanted to comment that the original attribution link can be a problem sometimes. A lot of people seem to pin stuff straight from google images or from tumblr. So instead of that original link to the artist, the pin is a link to tumblr and you are still faced with the same never ending trail to find the original artist. (And while some people DO search out the original artist/links, hundreds don't.)

So while it is a great idea in theory, it doesn't always work in the execution.

Glendon Mellow said...

You are absolutely right, starfleetbrat 0- I've changed my tune considerably about Pinterest.
I have a post up on Symbiartic at Scientific American.

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