Oh, don't worry. I'm not asking you to delete your accounts or your collections of cute kitty pictures or uber important hot body workout motivations. But let me tell you why I've opted out...
That doesn't feel right to me. I don't feel good giving other people's image rights away. That's just not for me to decide. And it doesn't feel like something I want to be a part of - now that I better understand how it works.
Didn't I read the terms of agreement before I signed up? Obviously not well enough.
Didn't I think about the consequences before pinning other people's stuff? Obviously not and for that I feel terrible.
If 11 million people are doing it - then there's no issue, right? Not for me.
But OMG what about the EXPOSURE????
True. Eleven million people and counting are checking in with Pinterest. I believe in the goodness of people and I also believe in the dangers of wildfires. If my images are pinned - not only will I lose control of my image - it will also be available (and encouraged by Pinterest) to be embedded and shared without my knowledge or consent and all that jazz (with a link back to Pinterest... not even to me). And since there's a full size image on their server - no one really needs to click all the way through to my site anyways - so thank you very much Ms.Barteski - we love brush script. Even more disgusting are the sites popping up about 'what to pin': which bascially says don't bother using your own brains - just pin from their site. Which doesn't link back to the original artist anyways - IT LINKS TO PINTEREST - and in turn links to the 'what to pin site'. Terrific! In the world where clicks are currency - here starts the cycle of sickness building content from talented folks who make stuff - like the individuals that made the fabulous photos/art/words that are inspiring people to be on Pinterest in the first place. (And PS now there is a knock-off called Pinspire. And many more to come.) How does that feel?
But seriously OMG what about the EXPOSURE????
It's a double edged sword, I guess. I've had two people write me to say "but I actually went to the site and BOUGHT the image/purse/photo/etc". That's really, really good. I did that, too once or twice. I've also had more people write me with horror stories. Which I have plenty of my OWN. People printing and selling my images (in 9 countries now) without my consent that they got from Pinterest (and Tumblr)... making MORE money than I ever will off the same images. And then there were the times my graphic was used in porn...
I don't make art for the exposure. I make art because art is the language I speak.
I won't trade clicks for ethics. (Which I'm sure just made a lot of people really angry.) The truth is that hits (or clicks) are the currency of the internet. The more clicks you get the more your site is worth. The more advertisers will pay. The more money you will potentially make.
So why have I changed my mind now?
Valid question. The PInterest project inspired a lot of conversation. WHICH WAS TOTALLY THE GOAL. So I say YAY us. And within the conversation it was nicely and not-so-nicely pointed out that there were worse things going on on Pinterest than not linking properly. The copyright infringement. The secret aggragate links. The devaluing of artists/photograpers. SUCH GOOD INFO and SO GREAT TO LEARN. When you know better you do better, just like Maya Angelou said. And like I mentioned before - I got hate mail. Most of it was from folks REALLY PISSED that I thought Pinterest was the culprit of all intellectual property theft (and PS Ms. Barteski - it's really tumblr and PPS it started before Jesus and PPPS don't dis the best-thing-since-sliced-bread or the masses are gonna come at you in droves). I got called names. I got questioned about my motives (because "true artists don't do it for the credit"). And I don't care. I read the comments. The good ones AND especially the bad ones. Sometimes the bad ones make me feel like I will vomit at my desk, but they also make me question myself and reevaluate + reaffirm my beliefs. And to everyone who sent the nice emails about me licking my wounds after taking a comment-beating. I'm not hiding. I'm not devastated. I'm not concerned with the haters. I'm concerned for art.
So SERIOUSLY why have I changed my mind now?
Because I've stoped to think about art. And about artists/photographers/writers/etc. About individuals. About how that feels. And about what happens when the individual who made the piece can't control how it's used, but a corporation and 11 million users can. There's something very unsettling about that. It makes me feel as though my art has value (eventhough it's distributed for free), but I do not. It makes me feel like there is diluted sense of awesome when the image is everywhere. It makes me feel sad when politcal parties and magazines and businesses are promoting themselves on Pinterest, too.
But, what about LINKwithlove?
Right. I love LINKwithlove.org and I'm proud of the word we have spread and the conversations we have started. It's good. And arguably it's totally not enough. You need to LINKwithlove, but LEGALLY you also really need to get permission first. (Not eveyone wants to be shared.) LINKwithlove is alive and well. There are several volunteers now helping prepare the needed materials to help keep making a difference and we are not going anywhere.
I should NOTE: I honestly think that 90% of people are really good + really kind. And if they KNEW the implications of pinning other people's work - they would probably rethink it. I also think that there is a 9% demographic that doesn't really give a shit. And maybe 1% of people who are evil-doers (those are the ones that figure if something is on the internet it's asking to be stolen. Or that copyrights don't apply to the internet. Or that artists/photographers need to 'embrace' this type of sharing and get over having control over their work and be thankful people want to look at it in the first place.)
So what now?
I'm going to make more art. Because that's what I do. I'm going to continue blogging because I have come to love documenting my life that way. I'm share more carefully and I am definitely going to prioritize art over internet. No matter the exposure. No matter the clicks. Or the currency. My currency is art. If I miss potential buyers or potential clicks. SO. BE. IT.
I'm going to paint when I would have been surfing. I'm going to draw when I might have been checking Pinterest. I'm going to love every minute of doing what I do best when I might have been worrying about the internet. I'm going to prepare for my awesome new live-art show in April. I'm going to busy myself with making original art. And loving it because my life is primed for loving. The internet helps me connect with amazing people and for that I am incredibly grateful. But, I'm pretty sure I don't owe rights to my work to anyone because of it.
Don't worry. I know that not everyone agrees with this stance. I know there are folks who think free-for-all is the way to go and that blog traffic reigns supreme. Do what's right for you. This is what's right for me. I know that this post is not going to make me popular. But, I don't care about that.
I care about art + the people who make it.
Other interesting articles.
- Pinterest.com and Copyright by Sean Locke
- PInterest's Quiet Copyright Coup by Ben Cook
- Why I Tearfully Deleted My Pinterest Boards by Kirsten Kowalski
- Better Than Free by Technium
- If Emily Posted: Don't Copy, Right?
- Why I've Opted Out of Pinterest on My Blogs by Leave N Bloom Studio
- Post No Bills by Alexandra Wrote
There are plenty more. And YES. It's not JUST Pinterest. But, you have to start somewhere.