It’s with a heavy heart that I’ve deleted all of my Pinterest boards. For some of the reasons why have a look at this post by photographer and lawer Kirsten Kowalski. Until all the copyright issues bubbling away in the USA settle down fully I’d rather not put myself at risk. Anyone I’ve invited to Pinterest should read the article and Pinterest T&C and make up their own mind to keep their boards or not.

In the long term Pinterest and sites like them could do a number of things to improve the situation:

  • Encourage the web industry to have a robots.txt style file license.txt, but with advanced wildcards to detail attribution information and image use, possibly using the Creative Commons model. If no file/metadata can be found assume no copying/pinning is allowed.
  • Allow the license.txt file to be read from both an image directory and root directory. e.g. http://markemeryphotography.com/license.txt and http://markemeryphotography.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/blog-images-ii/license.txt.
  • Have a formal (Creative Commons?) Metadata tag format for individual images.
  • Metadata overwrites image directory license.txt values overwrites root license.txt values.
  • Have a method to cache the files and check for changes. If changes are found review images pinned and remove if the original file no longer permits their use.
  • Ensure that the source of the image and attribution stays intact no matter how much it’s pinned and repinned.
  • Index the images using image search techniques and strip duplicates from the database that can’t be attributed properly.

It should not be a case of people opting-out of having their images pinned by Pinterest users by adding code to their site to block it. It must be an opt-in solution where image makers grant levels of use, or opt-out by taking no action at all.