Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pinterest: Marketing Tool?

Ever surfing the wave of novelty, I finally had some time to "hang ten" with Pinterest this week.  Pinterest, in case you don't know, is yet another, newly-evolved form of social media.  It allows users to "pin" images and share them.  When I first heard of it, my initial reaction was, "So?"

But now I'm seeing that it has possibilities as yet another place for the working artist to promote himself.  I discovered, for example, that I can also pin video.  I was able to pin my two promotional videos for my Paint Sedona and Paint Campobello workshops.

Additionally, I've set up a board where I can feature links to instructional books, magazines and videos for the aspiring painter; another with links to recommended art products; another where I can store publicity shots of me and my workshops; and, of course, a board with images of my own paintings.  Visitors can go to my Pinterest page and then follow links to all kinds of useful things.

If you'd like to take a look, here's the link to my Pinterest page.

At one point, I even set up a couple of boards where I could share images from both living and deceased painters.  I really liked this idea, because there are so many excellent painters I want people to know about.  But there was a problem with this, and I decided to delete these two boards.  Why?  Because I didn't own the copyright to these images, and posting such is against the Pinterest terms of agreement.  (In fact, it's against the terms of agreement for most social media sites, including Google+, Blogger and Facebook.)  Despite this, most Pinterest boards are made up of nothing but stolen images.  Is posting images you don't have copyright to morally wrong, especially if you make no money off of them?

I'm a professional content creator.  That is, I don't paint and write just because I enjoy it; I do it because it's how I make a living.  But rather than get into a long essay here, let me just note that there's much that can be said on the issues of copyright and copyright enforcement, some of which I addressed in a previous post.

(UPDATE. I did a test and found that, even if you aren't intentionally copying images, Pinterest will do that for you.  When you "pin" an item from a site using the pin marklet, Pinterest actually copies the image to its server.  So who's violating copyright here?  I'd say Pinterest is.  If you're pinning images, you're just the mechanism that shows Pinterest where the good images are. So maybe I'll put back up those two boards I deleted.)


Sarah Peroutka said...

What's the difference between looking at a work of art in a museum or on an
artist's website or looking at it in on Pinterest? Nothing! All that's
involved is looking! God bless the artists who create the art and the
viewers who love to look at art! "Lookers" look to: revel in the mystery of the image; educate themselves about art and artists; buy art; learn new
techniques; build networks with other artists; help promote other artists;
many other positive reasons.... The "stealing" (or "bad") part comes when
somebody uses somebody else's image to create a product for profit. Realistically, how often does this happen? I simply do not understand why anyone objects to the mass dissemination of art through the internet when the intention is to say "wow! look at this fantastic image!" Please help me understand how this can be "wrong".

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Good point, Ed! The image actually hasn't been copied and pinned up, in that second case. I wouldn't call that copyright violation. Maybe I'll put back up my board of artists to share. Sarah, you make a good point, too. In my next post, I'll talk about stealing and profitting.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

I just did a test, Ed, and found that even when you use the second and probably more common method of "pinning" - that is, go to a website and use the pin marklet to pin an image - Pinterest actually copies the image to their site. For example, here's the image they copied from my test: http://media-cdn2.pinterest.com/upload/284500901430318730_fP48kCMa_f.jpg. So, even though the user isn't intentionally copying the image, Pinterest does the copy for them.

Ed Terpening said...

Yes, understand. I was just saying that Pinterest can be used to legitimately drive traffic to an artist's website when/if the user clicks on the image. There is a lot of talk about Pinterest and legal issues, though. My guess is the mass media companies will be the first to sue and test boundaries, although like any website that houses user-submitted content, Pinterest must provide a means for copyright owners to submit claims and have their works removed (DMCA).