– Another Assault On Rights

Posted on 3/13/2012 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

A little over a month ago we wrote about the new Internet craze call Pinterest which claims to have over 10 million users. In our story we linked to a blog post by Sean Locke where he explored the copyright infringement issues.

Recently Kirsten Kowalski, an Atlanta based portrait photographer and a lawyer who is also General Counsel for a Georgia company examined the Pinterest terms-of-service from the perspective of a photographer. (Ms Kowalski does not specialize in copyright law.)

In her blog post she concluded that as a user she was at risk of “being sued, AS THE INFRINGER, and then being liable for indemnification and defense costs and ALL damages.” Much as she likes the Pinterest concept she has deleted her pinterest inspiration boards.

For those who want a better understanding of this new threat to copyright.her analysis and follow up article after an interview with Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest, are worth reading.
Allen Murabayashi, CEO of Photoshelter, takes a slightly different position on his blog. He examines Pinterest from the point of view of “whether [it}can act as a business tool to drive revenue.” He concludes that it is probably not something photographers should be overly concerned about, but in general it is not a place where photographers should spend their time trying to market their work.

He did point out in a separate post that Dallas-based wedding photographer Jessica D’Onofrio uses Pinterest successfully to “collect inspiration for brides after they’ve hired her.”  If she is showing her own pictures for this purpose that’s not a problem. If she is pinning the pictures of other wedding photographers to give her brides ideas that is probably technically an infringement.

It seems that the primary issue for photographers is how they earn their revenue. If they earn money from licensing multiple uses of their images Pinterest may cut into their market. If their revenue comes entirely from the people who hire them to take pictures then the existence of Pinterest may not cut into their revenue, but it may be a time waster as far as marketing is concerned.

Copyright © 2012 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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