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Pinterest Forum

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Pinterest Images: Fair Use or Copyright Infringement?
Pros and Cons of Images on Pinterest and SEO Issues

 6:56 pm on Apr 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

System: The following 5 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/pinterest/4529012.htm [webmasterworld.com] by incredibill - 10:14 am on Apr 5, 2013 (PST -8)

It's a weird thing to me that people would be upset that their pictures were stolen when they are putting it on a website to be downloaded by their users in the first place.

Plus, as a webmaster, I'd think you would be happy about people sharing your pictures with a link back to your site.

Anyway, I get tons of traffic from Pinterest and I'm pretty happy about it. Yea, people steal my images, but I'm making more money with the Pinterest traffic than selling the image itself, so...



 8:44 pm on Apr 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Which tells us that very probably..
1) you don't normally make your living ( or any significant part of it ) from selling images which you personally have created..those of us who make quality images do..
2) your normal traffic figures (without pinterest ) are crap..
3) you don't mind the idea of being outranked all over search engines by pinterest for your own images..( which is what happens when you make quality images )..and they get pinned ..and repinned..and repinned..and repinned..


 12:44 pm on Apr 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

1) You are wrong, I do make money from creating images, be it photos of clients' products or web design, and my work gets ripped constantly (probably because they are high quality :P ). I just also understand the times we live in and that my images will be taken and re-used without permission whether I like it or not. I make money from creating the image in the first place, not from selling it over and over. It's a better business model and the credit I get for my work shows from recurring clients and my reputation for quality work, so I don't go crying over people "stealing" it online since I'm creating the images for online use in the first place, heh.

2) Wrong again. I run a large network of websites (in the hundreds) with lots of different traffic sources. Pinterest happens to be a main source of traffic on one particular group of my sites because I pursued it after all the hoopla last year. As for my other sites, no the traffic is definitely not "crap", and my bank account can attest to that. (And for the record, web traffic is something I do for a living.)

3) I don't take getting outranked personally, no. And I don't get upset when I get outranked in general, since I don't base my business model off of SEO. I don't own Google or Bing and I can only sort of control my rankings. I've learned over the years that building an entire business model around SEO is, and has always been, a very poor decision. Anyway, so what, so someone searching for an image gets my image but on someone else's site because that is how it got indexed in the search engine, and there is no credit to me. If it really bothers me that much then I can send out DMCA notices which most websites oblige right away. But all that time is much better spent in other ways, in my experience.

Ya know, it's weird to me that you would make so many assumptions about me without getting to know me first. Hopefully you have a better idea now. I really don't mean to say that people don't have a right to be upset that their work was used without permission, just that our world has changed to a generation of file sharing and you pretty much give up that right as soon as you make a digital version of your image and post it for people to download from your own website. I mean, bottom line, don't do that if you care that much.


 4:30 pm on Apr 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wrong again. I run a large network of websites (in the hundreds)

Hundreds of websites? You must have an enormous staff to create all the content, build the websites, keep them updated ...! How do you manage all that work and the follow up?

I have only 2 very successful websites and it is a full time job to keep them running with new fresh content.

I blocked Pinterest months ago after realizing that more than 5000 of my photos got pinned, some outranked the original and Pinterest was only good for 0.1% of my traffic. Bounce rates for visitors from Pinterest were high too.


 4:35 pm on Apr 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm talking about actual creation of images,( what artists, illustrators, fine art, documentary or travel photographers do ) not photographing client's products..

pinterest users do not simply download images to their browsers..they repost them elsewhere, as if the images were theirs..

pinterest is no different to a cyber locker such as rapidshare, filepost, fileserve etc..it exists solely because it has 99% stolen content..and our world has not changed to a "generation of file sharing"..but it has become generation of those who call IP theft "sharing"..

I have been making images for a large part of my living since before most here were born..I'm not going to smile and accept IP theft..nor those who endorse it..

Placing ones images on a website is like putting them in a public gallery..people are welcome to walk in and look around..they are not allowed to take photos and then hang them on a wall in another mega gallery of 99% photographs of originals taken from elsewhere saying "look what I happened across"..and for that mega gallery of stolen images, to be able to continue to keep it's doors open..and to be at the top on page one of the guide to galleries..

There is a reason that warehouses full of stolen goods are not listed at the top of the yellow pages guide to retail warehouses and businesses..

The rest of your arguments are entirely specious..and that you refer to "theft" as "sharing" and say "so what", fits perfectly with your posts re copyright etc since you joined two days ago..we come from entirely different ethical viewpoints..

The original title of this thread
Is Pinterest still a good source of traffic?
is entirely inaccurate for those of us who produce original images..Pinterest has never been a good source of traffic..except for those who either take product pictures..or simply steal the images of others..

 6:29 pm on Apr 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I was LOSING traffic to Pinterest, because pretty much people had pinned all my images there, 10 years of original, artistic work. I RECOVERED said traffic after spending a summer removing said pins.

I understand that RECIPE websites do rather well with Pinterest though, they may be an exception.


 9:52 pm on Apr 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

they are putting it on a website to be downloaded by their users in the first place

Uhm, no, we're not. We're putting images on a website to be SEEN by users IN THE CONTEXT OF the page as a totality.

I'm making more money with the Pinterest traffic than selling the image itself

In other words, you are not an artist making a living off his pictures. Which is where we came in.

Taking a picture of a product, no matter how tastefully displayed and lit, is in no way the same as creating a work of original art.

I understand that RECIPE websites do rather well with Pinterest though, they may be an exception.

Makes sense. You can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of dishes you can make on your own based purely on a photograph of what the end result looks like. Here's a picture of a souffle'. Make me one just like it.


 10:28 pm on Apr 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Several people would open a "spinning widget" folder on Pinterest pages and literally pin every single one of my "spinning widget plans" in them - thus creating multiple competing copies of my own content, and creeping up in the SERPs to boot.


 12:57 am on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

From what I'm reading the problem is only partially Pinterest as Google should know better as Pinterest, being primarily a mashup, primarily isn't original content.

We've been on this merry-go-round before with other mashups that outranked original content such as RSS feed sites that had so much traction they always outranked the original source of the information.

Has anyone been using the new AUTHORSHIP stuff and if so has it had any impact?


 8:50 am on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google should know better as Pinterest, being primarily a mashup, primarily isn't original content.

This is really the core of the problem! Google should never rank Pinterest boards! Google says (See the webmaster guidelines) that we should create original content to get our sites ranked, but at the same time Google ranks Pinterest content.

After panda and Penguin it might be time for an Antipining algo update.


 6:45 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

All I'll say was until we made a very loud and very public spectacle on stage at SES San Jose '06 the search engines weren't willing to address 302 hijacking either and myself and a few others kind of railroaded them into a solution in front of a few hundred people and the problem has since went away, like polio, as long as you properly vaccinate your site.

I've pushed the topic of mashup sites outranking the original content privately more than once to a lukewarm reception but I never thought to trot out their own guidelines, didn't occur to me at the time, would make an excellent stand alone slide in the presentation :)

Problem is when you're talking about a company that makes billions from scraping and copying entire sites in cache and screen shots, plus ripping all your images to use out of context that also runs YouTube and Blogger, which historically have been far worse than Pinterest, it's kind of like asking the pot to call the kettle black.

Reality check is we're asking one company to penalize another company for doing the same kinds of things they do which is hypocritical of them if they did it which may be the reason all this nonsense exists in the first place. Once they make that distinction and draw that line it may open themselves up for litigation and perhaps the legal beagles have told them in no uncertain way not to interfere with mashup sites and let nature take it's course to see what the courts would do using those sites as a test case giving the SE's a chance to fix their issues in the wake of a potential bad outcome for a site like Pinterest. Don't forget YouTube took a pounding and it's still standing and many of the problems still exist so there is precedence that the will of the public can overrule actual law which can even happen in jury verdicts creating public policy, fascinating reading if you ever have the time.

It's a big chicken and egg problem plus even copyright allows changing a percentage of the original work to make it a new work, such as a collage which is kind of what Pinterst does in the context of the collection of images pinned together as a group. Plus there's fair use, satire (just draw a mustache on it), etc. and the whole thing gets all fuzzy.

If you really want to see something done you need someone like Getty and Picscout behind doing something about it, aka RIAA and Napster, which would bring it to a boil in short order. Make a honeypot (fashion or food site) exclusively full of Getty images aimed at the Pinheads without overtly asking them to PinIt to avoid being culpable and just sit back and wait for the fireworks.

I honestly think we're watching another evolution of copyright at the moment and I think the rules of image usage are probably about to change and not for the better of the image owner. The last time something of this magnitude happened it resulted in $0.99 MP3 sales, iTunes, Amazon Music, Rhapsody, etc. and the end of the album. As a photographer myself I'm not thrilled with this site and have no clue where it's going to lead us but I do feel a social or technological change afoot to address the problem.

Worse case is if photographers, other than those being commissioned for commercial projects, can't continue to earn money for creating content they'll simply find something new to do and many forms of media will be scrambling to get images from alternate sources to fill the void. Perhaps images will be crowd sourced even more in the future, which they already are thanks to sites like Flickr with the commons licensing for most of it.

Open Source images is probably the way it's going to be with a payment only for the first exclusive use and BLAM! it's out there everywhere. Some agreed upon technology embedded in the image files themselves to state what type of license it is, enforced at the browser level and the image upload sites, would certainly go a long way to thwart the average person from using them improperly. Having a DRM built into the image and the browser would sure help avoid the need to block PinIT as the browser would say "This image is rights restricted and may not be copied." and that would be that. FTP and other file copy programs would also need DRM code included and obviously it wouldn't stop any of use old-timers but we're not the 99.9999% of the problem

No clue, just thinking out loud here.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 7:24 pm (utc) on Apr 6, 2013]


 7:21 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

such as a collage which is kind of what Pinterst does in the context of the collection of images pinned together as a group.

What pinterest does, is not, what a "collage" is..not by any stretch of anyone's imagination..( trust me..it has said "artist-sculptor" as profession, on my passports for the last 40 years )..and I've taught fine art drawing, painting, graphics, life drawing and history of art, sculpture etc at more than one university..

I've also made a lot of collages ( sold quite a few too ;)..and taught the various techniques of collage and what constitutes one, and the history of collage ..

Pinterest is a collection of copies of other peoples images..arranged in a grid via html markup..it is IP theft..

And it is a business model which would never have been able to get a start outside of the USA..where IP theft is OK..if you have big VC backers and lawyers on retainer to stonewall via the courts..

G does nothing about it ..because those who are behind and associated with G..are also friends, associates of , and / or attending the same dinner parties and playing rounds of golf with the same VCs who are behind pinterest..same goes for ehow..

Long term if pinterest puts adsense on it's pages ( like ehow has done ) G will be able to steal and monetise our image content by crowd sourced proxy..

What G does with adsense on ehow is montise our text content via proxy using human re-spinners..


 7:47 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Pinterest is a collection of copies of other peoples images..arranged in a grid via html markup..it is IP theft..

The flaw in your logic is just like software, many images are now licensed as creative commons or whatever the heck they call it and it's open source.

Which is why I suggested a simple DRM solution in the previous post where you tag them all the and browsers refuse to copy them as long as they contain the DRM code which, like locks on doors, will keep honest people honest and thieves will find a way to bypass the system as usual. Solves the big picture issue easily and then sites like Pinterest can freely use what they are allowed to use and webmasters everywhere, using one program could globally tag all images in their site in one sweep.

Even simpler, something we could do right now with about 5 minutes of work would be to put a global header on the server that says "X-IMAGES-PROTECTED" which the browser and other sites and software could easily honor across the board.

Complaining and debating what is and isn't IP theft is a useless endeavor but finding an agreeable solution that everyone can quickly adopt and is so simple any webmaster of any skill level can deploy is what we should be trying to do.

It's been done before with 302 hijacking, it can be done again, and WebmasterWorld has some people with some real clout that could get behind such a standard and make it a reality.

I'm not one to just sit around and complain because unless finding a solution to the problem is part of the discussion then it's just annoying repetitive noise that gets old i a hurry and really doesn't belong in this forum.

I'd like so see a server header, maybe an entry in robots.txt that stops all legit bots instead of blocking each image path which is annoying, and some DRM information embedded right in the image which I'm sure already exists but the browsers ignore.

Perhaps if some standards are already in place we just need to make sure they get enforced instead of piling new noise on top like Pinterests NOPIN meta which other Pinterest clones could ignore as it's not their meta. We webmasters need something universal that says "MINE! GO AWAY!" that everyone that isn't deliberately stealing should honor and obey, just like good bots that honor robots.txt.

That way we know who's who real fast and then you can correctly point fingers at those that scoff and ignore standards. So far, Pinterest has given webmasters the tools they need but it's insufficient as blocking Pinterest from your site doesn't block Pinterest users from grabbing the same images from Google/Bing/Yahoo/Yandex/etc. Image Search which is why I suggested an embedded DRM that's universal and enforced at the browser level so you could opt-in to image search and still not lose control of the image to those wanting it in your browser even when it's off site.


 8:03 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

many images are now licensed as creative commons or whatever the heck they call it and it's open source.

That is a ridiculous argument Bill..

Because some things are creative commons ..those who have their non creative commons stuff stolen should negotiate with the thieves ?

How does that work for software..MS negotiates with thieves because linux exists and is free ?..

re DRM type protections etc..you seriously think that pinterest et all would honor that kind of thing ..they'd lose 99% of their site over night if they did..and they know it..

Apart from the don't steal ..and don't encourage others to steal for you..which is what pinterest does..

The standards already exist..they are called "if you didn't create it, it isn't yours to use, copy, repost, or encourage others to steal"..There are even laws about it..which are ignored by big US corps..

The only people debating what is IP theft..are those who make their money by IP theft..The laws are clear..

The solution ? ..We just need for the USA to enforce the laws ..on their own corps for a change..if the FBI can go after kim dotcom for IP theft and holding and disseminating copyright material..
Then the FBI can go after pinterest..oh wait..


 8:21 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

That is a ridiculous argument Bill..

Because some things are creative commons ..those who have their non creative commons stuff stolen should negotiate with the thieves ?

It's not ridiculous, it's a fact, and a point that you should be taking from this instead of nitpicking the details is the users, visitors, etc. have no way to tell the difference and the browsers have no blocking technology that allows us to stop them.

I'm pretty sure I made a cogent argument for simple technology that would inform the person that the image isn't for taking vs. all the images that are freely available.

You and I aren't the ones to decide how an image is used. Many a business owner slaps their domain name in the images they pay to have created and use it for free advertising already as it's embedded in the image and give them attribution.

The argument you can remove that from the image is because there IS NO DRM IN PLACE to stop it as the image editing tools should also block people that don't own the image from making edits as well as copying it.

I'm looking for a solution to the problem to stop it and not really interesting in the nuances of the issues surrounding it.

Let's put an end to it, at least and end for honest people doing it as scrapers will edit the binary but granny sure won't, so the discussion stops once and for all.

If the browsers, sites, and image tools adopt a common license DRM standard suddenly all the normal software updates happen and POOF! the problem goes away almost overnight.

J see it as a doable thing that's way better than my post on how to block Pinterest as it's just the tip of a very big copyright iceberg.

Plus a DRM solution in the browsers could also be implemented in such a way to permanently prevent hotlinking of images not licensed for the site linking the image.

I see a big picture solution here to a bunch of image abuse problems that can all be stopped with some very simple technology.


 8:24 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

I see a big picture solution here to a bunch of image abuse problems that can all be stopped with some very simple technology.
And how would browser DRM stop someone hitting the screen capture button Bill ?

And then uploading it to their "pin page" on pinterest..

You want to remove DRM from an image..a 1 pixel all round crop will do that just fine..how long do you think the "pinners" would take to tell each other about how to get around any DRM..? if pinterest didn't just make a "how to" page or a "how to" site to help them in short words..

You and I have been all over this subject publicly and privately Bill ..and kudos to ya :)..you put out a way to defeat the current pinner's pin bar..

But defeating print screen in all operating systems and in all commonly used browsers..been there ..tried that..so have you..can't be done..because it involves hacking the browsers own protections..and then the browsers and the search engines flag the sites that use those "protections" as malware..in serps and when the visitor arrives at the site..

I wrote a basic anti print screen solution in 2001..( it wasn't hard, many others found the same or a similar way ) and then the browsers manufacturers began flagging my sites and others which used it as "malware"..

And we can't all serve our sites only via special browsers..which is the only way that "print screen" button can be defeated..


 8:51 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

And how would browser DRM stop someone hitting the screen capture button Bill ?

Always problems, never solutions.

Windows and XWindows are messaging systems and the print screen mechanism can send a broadcase message to all open applications and if any of them respond "NO" then the operation displays "APPLICATION X CONTAINS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND IS UNABLE TO HAVE A SCREEN SHOT CREATED AT THIS TIME"

As a matter of fact the browser application can, if I remember my Windows programming assuming things haven't changed, hook the messaging queue and stop a screen shot request itself without having to alter the screen shot tool. There are other screen shot tools out there which would also be defeated when they attempt to gain focus of your window, assuming they won't follow some simple DRM rules of asking the Windows if they can be copied before executing the screen shot.

You got problems, I have simple solutions.

Obviously there are ways to get around it like use old tools and don't update or write your own but the fact is the average Pinterest user isn't going to jump through hoops to pin an image which is why it's so popular. The image pinning is easy and when it requires a lot of work, which screen shots and image clipping require, then you only have the real hardcore users left as you've already severed the rest of the herd from using it unless they go to sites like Flickr or websites that claim to be PINTEREST FRIENDLY which will happen as some want their branded images out there as it's free marketing.

Plus, if the Pinterest people go around telling people how to defeat DRM then they may become liable themselves depending on how far they go as that fine line between first amendment (in the US) free speech and inciting people to do wrong has already been tested more than once. Sites showing how to defeat DRM have been taken down before depending on which country it's in and based on some new US laws on seizing IP theft (knock off products) site domains there's already a scary way to get rid of them anywhere in the world but I'm not sure I'd like to condone such actions. Ick.

Argue all the points you want but some embrace Pinterest when it's used properly and others despise it for all the wrong reasons because it simply makes a pervasive issue, image theft, more pervasive because we've never actively pushed the makers of browsers, editors and screen shot tools to solve the problem.

If a comprehensive plan were put before them and those software vendors flat out said no then you know they don't care that they're part of the problem and need some legislative encouragement to do what image makers want them to do because without images those websites in browsers would look pretty boring.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 8:56 pm (utc) on Apr 6, 2013]


 8:52 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

If the browsers, sites, and image tools adopt a common license DRM standard suddenly all the normal software updates happen and POOF! the problem goes away almost overnight.

You might want to put down the bong..aint no way that the browser makers and the software makers are ever going to do that..and what about the next person who cooks up a little thing in C in their evenings that gets around it and lets it out into the wild..like the DECSS that means anyone can rip dvds and bluerays..and there are even comapnies ( in the USA) who sell software to do just that ..get around DRM..and they use paypal and mastercard and visa..

the FBI leaves them well alone ..

J see it as a doable thing that's way better than my post on how to block Pinterest as it's just the tip of a very big copyright iceberg.

Plus a DRM solution in the browsers could also be implemented in such a way to permanently prevent hotlinking of images not licensed for the site linking the image.

I see a big picture solution here to a bunch of image abuse problems that can all be stopped with some very simple technology.

I'll wait for the flying unicorns to deliver me the notice engraved with fairies tears, that says that all the browser makers and software makers signed up to this ..


 8:54 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

legislative encouragement

legislation exists already..but the FBI don't want to go after pinterest..

Flickr or websites that claim to be PINTEREST FRIENDLY which will happen as some want their branded images out there as it's free marketing.

Lot of people on flickr are very very very unhappy and vocally so about pinterest..

Free marketing!?..
I've said it before. that is like telling someone who was raped, that they should be grateful, because other people are gonna come around because of how pretty the rapist said they were..oh..and they shouldn't complain..they should reach an "accommodation" with their rapist(s)..and take the assault as a compliment..
or just not go out in public ( because that "is just asking for it"..) or "wear a burka"..which is what the fools who say "well don't put your images out there, because that is asking for them to be stolen" are really saying..


 9:09 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

I really don't see your point as you're saying don't put locks on doors and windows to keep honest people honest and if it's simple enough to implement I'm sure the software makers, which I used to be and we did these things, will be willing to implement it, especially if you just hand them the library of code to validate the DRM so they don't have to be bothered writing it.

Sorry, just because DRM can be broken is no argument not to do it as long as it doesn't change the way the online world works for the average Joe nobody will care except the people that get dinged when the click it.

You forgot I offered a multi-prong approach so if they can copy it they can't upload it and if they upload it, it won't display on the other site so even if someone drops in a line of C code to defeat the anti-copy they still have to mess with the image and that's more than most will do as they now realize they're physically altering things, they're IP will be tracked, they could be fined, pay $100K in statutory damages, yada yada because they've deliberately done something that can get them sued opposed to clicking PINIT.

Like I said, simple technology, supply the libraries, make it robust and show the comprehensive nature of the solution.

BTW, technology like PicScout and Tin-Eye can be used to identify the images even in screen shots as they crawl the web so worse case you can find it being used, even in a collage situation, as I've used those tools and they are amazing.

It's like bot blocking, no matter how hard you try you can't stop everything but you stop so much garbage that what's left is really hardcore scrapers, just like DRM busters, and you have crawling technology to find out where your content goes if they really want to bypass all the blockades set up that stop people who don't kick down your door when locks are installed.

This will stop normal people from behaving badly, educate those that don't know any better, and highlight the scum who will go to any length to get what they want without any consideration to the copyright holder.

Why wouldn't you want to stop the bulk of the image abuse just because others can go ahead and defeat it? Makes no sense not to stop what's easily stoppable because that makes the rest of the problem at least manageable which is the best you can hope for in scraping situations.


 9:20 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Why not deal with the problem even more simply..why don't "you and all the WebmasterWorld people with some real clout" ask the FBI..publicly ..why they shut down megaupload for IP abuse ( and when they did so the ripples went straight out and oron and fileserve and filesonic and a host of others went dark or cleaned up their acts )..but won't go after pinterest..

If the FBI went after pinterest ..any clones would be so afraid of the same happening to them ..that the problem would be dealt with..

Prosecute the image rapists using the laws which already exist and have been used against non USA corps and individuals...don't ask their victims to work out some kind of deal with them..or tell them to wear burkas..or to shut up..

Who is the problem..the rapists..or their victims..or the FBI..who won't go after US corps that abuse IP..but will go after individuals ..or corps in other countries..


 10:23 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

There again I'll restate that some image usage is legit while other isn't so you can't fry them all for the sins of a few and some simple technology will stop the masses from doing things they shouldn't.

I'd prefer to keep the government involvement out when simple technology will cause most to behave normally, just like doors and windows with locks keep honest people honest.

The problem is we don't have those locks yet and it seems you would rather not install the locks which would make life much easier for many webmasters and the average people that don't know any better would finally know better.

Photographers often put javascript locks and other tricks on their websites to stop it which is met with a good amount of success, especially putting things in Flash which defeats right mouse altogether.

Pinterest isn't the problem, people tilt at it incorrectly, but it's a symptom of a bigger problem in that the public in general doesn't know squat about image rights and licensing issues until they get contacted by a Getty lawyer. If I explain these things to most people they simply say they don't know but they will also say they can't tell which is which and don't feel it's their obligation to sort it all out. I always say it's like anything else in life, if it's not yours, don't touch it, but there's no locks to stop them.

Real simple locks would stop 99% of this and people are already stepping up to provide sites with images for pinning so the solutions are already there except the locks to stop images not for pinning assuming you don't use NOPIN or the user is using a site that doesn't support it.

Doing nothing just because people can pick locks, break windows and kick doors down is just silly.

Do something and people will figure out they aren't supposed to do those things and we'll see which way the moral compass swings at that point.

If copyright is going to change and social media is going to make it happen there will be no change until hard lines are drawn and we sit back and wait for it to evolve just like MP3 did with single track sales.

I can easily see a DRM model where micro-payments are invoked just like you pay on Google Play for games and such. It could be a free image, it could be a micro-payment image, it could be a full blown licensed image but each time it's copied the copyright owner could be notified of it's usage by the browser or the website and, if it's not free, Google Play's payment gateway, iTunes, Amazon, or any other service that deals with small payments could be involved and I'll bet a lot of people that really want to use an image might click "OK" to get a $0.99 pinning license.

Never know until you try but if all the players thought they could get a slice of that pie from the browser maker, payment processor, image site and image maker then I'll bet you would see it implemented in short order :)

That's the real problem, the model for image sales doesn't exist in the same form as music sales and it's not easy for people that don't know how to find them where to get them or pay a license fee for what's right in front of their face and setting up such technology isn't complicated, it's been done! There needs to be an image store built right into the browser just like the app store is built into your phone or tablet. Right mousing or pinning every licensed image should simply give them an option to "PAY $1.99 FOR IMAGE LICENSE? OK or CANCEL" right there in the browser. Everyone would get on that payola bandwagon as dropping images in Word documents, PowerPoints, email, anywhere you would need a license to use it would pop up and ask you if the DRM licensing requirements weren't already met for that image as you would be tracked just like the app stores track you now.

Make it easy to use, keep usage inexpensive, and people will pay as it's easier to do than jump through hoops to steal it just like we all buy Apps, MP3s and Movies today.

Photographs are pretty much the last remaining orphans in the digital economy yet to be addressed in such a way and perhaps this is the time to "git 'er done" even if it takes creating a new image format just to make it happen or use a .drm extension like "coolphoto.jpg.drm" or "rainbow.png.drm" so anything with a ".drm" on the end isn't copiable off the website. Kinda silly but simple as an example.


 10:59 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Solution: courts need to come up with a strict definition of a thumbnail.

Ta-da! Problem solved.

Solution: allow pinning and re-pinning if user paypals you say $12.00 for the privilege.

Ta-da! Problem solved. I bet some of these obsessed ladies would cough up the money, too.


 11:08 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

helleborine..you don't owe me a new keyboard ( I would not be so presumptuous as to suggest such a thing ;) ..But a reasonable red wine did just exit via my nostrils as I read your post..;)

Now I'll finish my very very very late dinner ..and maybe join in again later..


 11:21 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

helleborine is right about courts making definitive rulings on thumbs, and fair use would be nice too, but $12 is too much for pinning, has to be cheaper and you'll make it up on volume as I suggested about.

I'm thinking it would pop up and offer you options for a PINNING LICENSE, SINGLE WEB USE LICENSE, UNLIMITED WEB USE LICENSE, and a big list of other stuff for documents, spreadsheets, powerpoints, etc.

If I had the resources I'd go build it now as I see it as the next mega-million dollar licensing opportunity but nobody has had the foresight to build it, only bitch about it.


 11:34 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

$12 is cheap given that pinterest encourages hotlinking all over the web with its EMBED code, and that attribution is routinely lost. It's really really cheap because once your image is on pinterest you de facto lose all control over it.


 11:51 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

You might not lose defacto control with a DRM where you could block it's usage on certain sites and even revoke it altogether and refund it.

Gotta think out the big picture (pun intended maybe) and how we'd use such a DRM to make sure we aren't left holding the bag yet again.

I agree that $12 is cheap for some uses but little old ladies sharing things on a fixed income might not agree and that's why the sweet spot of single music tracks and apps are priced the way they are priced. Perhaps the image has a limited number of views per day or some other nonsense at the cheaper price but there's got to be a way to rake in the cash without giving away the farm and keep the little guy happy and the power users as well.

Not to mention the simple fact that various grades and quality of images would most likely be available, like they currently are, and you pay more to get better stuff and more licensing options.

The only difference would be unlike the current situation we would actually have some control over making sure images are being used as they are actually licensed, at least in the online world.


 3:08 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I stand by my claim that we live in a new generation of file sharing and that you need to get on board or go down with the ship of the old gen.

The people here crying about their images being stolen just don't get it: whether you like it or not, whether it is legal or not, the sharing happens and will continue to happen as new and more advanced ways of sharing come out. Getting around copyright law is not the users' goal, sharing files is.

The first issue is that you are sharing your image on your own website and (it seems some here don't understand this) when a user visits your webpage they are downloading your image to their computer in order to view it. That means you are essentially distributing your material to others already. And while it may seem like a "solution" to install some javascript plugin or other browser plugin to stop people from right-clicking and saving the images, there is still the fact that the image is in the browser's temp folder and it would be a privacy violation for a website to somehow access that temp folder. What's more is that the younger generation of computer users are very well trained in how to access their file system since computer usage has become standard in public education systems, so when you combine that with wanting to share files with their friends, yea...It's a whole new ballgame.

The second issue is that (due to the first issue of you distributing your images in the first place by placing them on your site for others to download) web crawlers exist. A web crawler is essentially a user: it visits your site and downloads the data from it, reads it in whatever way it wants and then does with it whatever it wants. That is how Google works, that is how most mashups work, etc.

Is it legal?

It's a gray area, as an extensive conversation with a copyright lawyer taught me a few months ago when I brought up mashups, Google and social network sites to him (and for the record, this is not the only copyright lawyer I've spoken to). The bottom line, he told me, was that as long as you are not ripping a website in its entirety (or even a substantial amount of content) and sticking to small blurbs and thumbnails, honoring *valid* DMCA requests, and producing a unique experience to the user that gives credit to the original source in a way that everyone can clearly see, you are essentially doing the same thing that thousands of web giants are doing which few judges will want to go down the route of questioning.

But, will the legality of it all stop it from happening?

ABSOLUTELY NOT. As I said above, most internet users don't care about laws, only their experience on the internet. The internet is still the wild west and, regardless of any laws that come about, people will continue to share share share. The simplest analogy I can make for anyone who still doesn't get it (and this is the analogy any lawyer will tell you) is to ask yourself how many times you've driven over the speed limit, parked in a spot you weren't supposed to, made a mixtape or CD for a friend, smoked a joint or had oral sex in a state that doesn't allow it, and never gotten caught? Laws don't stop the majority of people from committing crimes, they scare people into keeping their crimes at a minimum.

So I say again.. Once a user hits your site with your images on it, those images have been distributed by you. If you don't want your material distributed, you shouldn't put it on your site.

Until you learn that, you will forever be disgruntled, bogged down with sending DMCA notices and complaining about it on forums like this, and eventually you'll go out of business due to both consuming yourself with a war you will never win, but more importantly a lack of evolving with the rest of the internet.

[edited by: zork at 3:22 pm (utc) on Apr 8, 2013]


 3:15 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Leosghost, I'd also like to say that comparing a website to a real gallery is the most absurd thing you could do in this context. A website is digital and your images are already being reproduced by you to allow users to view it through their browser by downloading -- YOU are distributing it.

If you want to use that analogy, you are basically saying that you are mass producing your photos and handing them out to people who stop by your gallery. Do you see how absurd that is?

A physical gallery is the only way you should be showing your artwork if you are worried about people stealing it.


 5:09 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I really can't be bothered arguing the ludicrous points that you think you have made, with someone who use the word sharing for what is stealing..

The copyright lawyer you claim to have spoken too is a fool..follow his advice and you will lose a great deal of money when you pay damages to the real owners of images that you think you can use..

Now ..I've got images to create..( and that takes time that I don't intend to waste more of arguing with you ) ..I don't just take them from others..and call it sharing..

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