LLG Tech: Pinterest Updated. Watermarking & Copyright

by Sasha Wilkins on March 4, 2012 · 11 comments

Equipment shirt

You may have noticed that I have started watermarking my photos on LLG. I used to look at other blogs that did this, and think, whoa, self-publicists ahoy! And then, of course, I got it. It’s all because of Pinterest. If your images are being re-pinned all over the internet, often without direct attribution, that’s far, far from ideal.

Because of course if people are disseminating my content – words or pictures – then I want a credit. And think about it: photography is not my main income stream, it’s just a part of my business. Imagine if photography or a digital image library was your career, and your images started popping up, becoming part of the digital conversation with no link or recompense.

At least with watermarking, you are stamping your ownership on the image, ensuring both that it is not published elsewhere without attribution, even if the original ink back has been lost, and ensuring that the image cannot be used commercially.

This issue of copyright on Pinterest is a hot potato now. Both in terms of users violating copyright by the very act of pinning & re-pinning, and in terms of photographers protecting their visual assets. I’ve had several intelligent comments on my previous Pinterest post from readers about this exact issue, so it was interesting to read the following from Venturebeat.com:

“To protect itself from copyright lawsuits, and appease disgruntled photographers and publishers, the young social media company (Pinterest) introduced a snippet of code Monday that website owners can now add to their sites to prevent unwanted pinning. If a person on Pinterest attempts to share something from a site with that code in place, she will see a message that reads: “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”

This is definitely a step in the right direction, so I would encourage any photographers to get & add this code to their sites tout suite if dissemination of their images is becoming an issue.  Of course, really dedicated pinners can just right click, but they’ve always been able to do that. So, I would also strongly suggest watermarking all images in the public space so, even if the right clickers continue, at least your photos will a) have your name on them and b) people won’t be able to use them for commercial use, thus violating your copyright.

Oh, and because I am sure someone will ask re: watermarking: I host my images externally on Flickr so, for the time being, I’m using Flickr’s access to Picnik to add watermarks individually. But I’ve just ordered Photoshop Elements 10 which will allow me to batch add watermarks to all my images. (I don’t currently Photoshop or edit any images that you see on LLG bar cropping.)

(There are lots of watermarking software sites & shareware on-line, but I had a look around, signed up some free sites, and decided they were more trouble that  they were worth. It became clear to me that the £60 investment in Photoshop Elements made a whole lot more sense than forking out £25 for just a watermarker software download. Oh and it’s £30 cheaper on Amazon than on the Apple store)

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