Why I’m taking the pinterest button off my website.

I’ve told my children time and again about reading terms and conditions when they sign up to websites. And yet, obviously when I signed up for pinterest.com I didn’t read the t & c at all.

I didn’t know that they keep local copies of images. Not little local copies like thumbnails which would be understandable, but 600px images that are usable. And I didn’t know that you are only supposed to pin images you own, as you are giving them a whole set of rights that you probably don’t have to give.

Which means when I pinned crochet patterns hoping I was helping designers out by publicising their work, I was actually assisting in the possibility they could be ripped off, their photographs sold or re-used. And I didn’t know I was offering pinterest the rights to sell pictures of my children.

I think pinterest is a great idea. But as it stands atm, I’m going to have to delete any pins that are from other sites, and I’m certainly deleting any pics of my kids. And I absolutely do not give permission for anyone to pin my images, so I guess I’ll have to find the code that protects my site, rather than the one that assists ppl in pinning from it.


ETA – I find the Pinterest etiquette suggestions somewhat disingenuous, and possibly in direct conflict with their own t & c.


Avoid Self Promotion

Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.

Um, if it isn’t yours, the odds are you don’t actually have rights to pin it, as you can’t give away the rights that they are claiming as you pin…

Second edit, this is code to protect your site:

<meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin”/>

When a user tries to pin from your site, they will see this message:

“This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”

Third edit! You may be thinking you don’t use pinterest, so you’re OK. You may have put the code above on your site so no one else can get at your images. But someone could still copy them off (right click and save image as) and upload them, you might want to consider watermarking your images with your blog url if you really want to keep them safe. (And no, I’ve not done that, I’ve never thought my images good enough for anyone to want to rip off!)

About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for 14 years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

Oh, and if you'd like to support my artistic endeavours, shop my photographs and art at redbubble


  1. How interesting. I heard some of this yesterday and it does concern me, but it looks as if we really can only post our own pictures legally to keep us safe.

  2. The etiquette thing is what annoys me, as they are encourage people to break their own terms & conditions.

    I know I tweeted the code the other day, so I can try and find it for you later tonight. (I don’t tweet enough that it should be hard to find.)

    I’m not too worried about the rights they are claiming to sell your pictures, as Facebook and Twitter once had that clause too. It seems to be a standard clause for start ups even though it’s wrong.

    I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but as I’m not trying to make money off my images I’m not concerned yet.
    Another Goldfish recently posted…Step Down Sunday – Car PoolMy Profile

  3. There’s a difference between uploading your own content (implying you own copyright) and pinning something off the web, clearly linked to the original copyright-owner. Surely Pinterest isn’t claiming copyright to items pinned from elsewhere?

    • according to the T&C on Pinterest there is no difference between up loading your own content and uploading (pinning) from the web.

      “you may (i) upload images from your computer by selecting the “Add a Pin” section of the Site, (ii) use the Application to take and upload images, or (iii) install and use our “Pin It” browser toolbar to upload images”

      I don’t really think that all users are about to be sued, or that my pictures will be sold on. But I have no desire to be the test case in court over a picture I pin that a company or individual did not want shared. And while I realise any picture I post can be stolen, it would most likely be stolen by an individual not a large company, the idea that a company may buy it legitimatly and use it – for example in a Tena Lady advertisement on a billboard – is not something I’m keen on either. šŸ˜‰

      I have temporarily deleted all my boards on Pinterest and have added the code to my blog to make it a nopin zone until the T&C are clarified and/or amended.

      Just search on Google for “pinterest legal” for 1000s of very learned blogs and articles on why it may not be.
      Tattooed_Mummy recently posted…A response to an innocent question by @pippaD – Baby NamesMy Profile

  4. Blimey!

    Well, excuse me for being dumb Pinterest, but what exactly is the point of you? I thought you were a virtual noticeboard. I don’t need to pin my own pictures as I already know where they are, also you tell me not to self-promote…

    Hmmm. Thanks Jax for bringing this to our attention x
    Liz Burton recently posted…Mums with Tums – Put your Hands up for Justin!My Profile

  5. I’ve only just joined Pinterest, to be honest I didn’t read the T&Cs and this is the first I have heard of self interest etc. I think I will just be unjoining to be on the safe side as I’ve pinned a few bits form other sites (I thought that was the idea, how dumb am I?). Thanks for the heads up.
    Linda recently posted…Love Actually xMy Profile

  6. When you pin something, it’s linked to the original (unless it’s a tumblr, in which case THAT poster is responsible for not citing source). I won’t pin anything from tumblr for that precise reason.

    What Pinterest is claiming is rights to your original uploaded material (boo. hiss. I totally agree this is not right and should change. Facebook makes a similar claim.)

    However, what they’re saying in their suggestions is not to upload something you don’t have the rights to, not to avoid pinning something you don’t have the rights to. That’s the whole point of Pinterest, is you’re just sort of bookmarking something actually held elsewhere. As long as it’s the original source, you’re fine.

  7. This post really makes me laugh, as you have a pin button at the bottom of it. This debate has been rumbling on in creativen circles for week. It is not about you pinning or bookmarking others sites, but the images and pins you upload from your own sites.

    • Wrote post, ran out of house to swim club. Can’t edit site from smartphone. First I’ve seen of it today, so I blogged it. At the very least the t&c need clarifying.

      • Pin button now removed. Pin protect code added. šŸ™‚ Now to cook tea.

        And yes, I know the follow me on pinterest thing is still there. But it’s time to cook tea! šŸ˜‰

  8. I wasn’t aware of the uploading thing. I assume that the person that origionally pins something is responsible for it and that re-pins of that image are fine (as by pinning something you give permission for that to be re-pinned).

    It’s all rather mind boggling – I have deleted all the bloggers images I have pinned on LAB, daftly I did so to try and get them some extra traffic from click throughs as I have heard some bloggers are getting up to 1000 hits a day via Pinterest.

    What a flipping nightmare – and a reminder to read the small print!

  9. Okay let’s take this a slice at a time:

    Firstly Pinterest does not claim to own any of the content you post

    Cold Brew Labs does not claim any ownership rights in any such Member Content

    Secondly, it doesn’t matter what site you use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ & many others – you should only post images you have the rights to or permission from the rights owner. Pinterest is no different in this respect.

    And last of all, most of the content you are likely to post will favour the rights owner anyway with visitation and awareness, at the very least a valuable backlink.

    In all I think there is heightened awareness due to the fact that this is an image focussed web site based around social sharing. In the eyes of the law the rights owner will still remain the rights owner, normal copyright applies. Pinterest has a full copyright violation section for those concerned that their content may have been added without their permission and if Pinterest were to try and sell it, it would be Pinterest that would be liable.
    Sean Clark (@SeanClark) recently posted…The Paris Region Channel Web TV Initiative (PREDA)My Profile

    • Hi Sean, thanks for commenting.

      However, I have to disagree with some of your points. That valuable backlink may have been obscured by Pinterest using skimlink to rewrite it into an affiliate link.

      And yes, ownership wasn’t a good word to use. But

      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.

      implies to me that pinning an image you don’t have rights to could land you in a whole heap of trouble.

      I think that pinterest needs to work on their terms and conditions.

  10. Pinterest no longer uses Skimlinks – “It was as test”!

    But in any case you are right their terms need working on, I don’t think any business can expect to survive too long by claiming the rights to content they list so comprehensively.
    Sean Clark (@SeanClark) recently posted…The Paris Region Channel Web TV Initiative (PREDA)My Profile

    • that’s interesting – I saw the post about using skimlinks, but no follow up on it. Thanks for the link.

      I just wonder how long it’s going to take them to revise the terms and conditions.

  11. Re “this is the code” – it doesn’t show in the html – could do with some escaping ;p Should be:

    <meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin”/>

  12. I’ll RT this for you. I read about other bloggers using Pinterest and I’m sure they’d like to read this.
    Sarah recently posted…*What goes down, must come up*My Profile

  13. Hiya ~ just for your peace of mind’s sake ~ a 600px picture is only really useful for about a 6×4 print, or a small web picture. It’s not a resolution of image that anyone really wanting to ‘steal’ an image would want to use, as it’s not really possible to enlarge it without it looking awful. Also, anyone with any know-how about images (and therefore producing the kind that someone MAY want to steal) should be embedding copyright IN the images themselves (which is done in the metadata). That way they are fully traceable back to the original owner. A watermark is only really a visual deterrent, and not a fool-safe way of guarding against image theft.

    The T&C’s are a bit of a mishmash of confusion though ~ maybe they’ll look into it if you draw their attention to the fact šŸ˜‰

    Caroline recently posted…Epic Post Needed…My Profile

  14. Flickr seems to agree with you – they have added <meta name="pinterest" content="nopin"> to © pics too. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57385046-93/flickr-adds-pinterest-opt-out-code-to-copyrighted-photos/

  15. New things always take a little time to iron out all their little bits and pieces, although it could be argued that the points that have been raised all over the blogosphere aren’t small. We had hiccups and tweaks with twitter and probably with FB.

    There’s a lot of rumour and misleading information. ( Not suggesting you just in general) Things are also changing all the time.
    I do wish that Pinterest would be quicker at explaining all the gripes and clarify the positions quicker. Thanks for sharing your reasons.

  16. Reminds me of the whole debacle over FB owning then retracting the rights on pictures. It’s hard to retain control in the murky waters of social media. Not sure I have the time for any more social tools. Thanks for sharing this.

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