Is this stealing or just sharing a blog post photo on Pinterest? You decide.
Today I read an interesting thread in one of my Facebook groups about a photo on Pinterest.
The photo was included in a round up post with a link back to the original article.
The author of the roundup post then pinned the photo (which links back to the round up post) to one of her boards on Pinterest.
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It seems that the author of the original article feels that the round up author should not have pinned that particular image. I believe the issue is that the image links to the round up post – not the original post.
Should the original post author request that the round up author take remove the photo from Pinterest?
Is this stealing or sharing? What do you think?
A Few Additional Facts
- The author of the round up did not ask permission of the original author to use the photo or include her article in the round up.
- However, the blog that the round up post is on appears to rank well in Google, has a favorable Alexa ranking, and a big following.
- The original post is on a much smaller blog with a less favorable Alexa ranking.
Facts to Consider
First, you need to have a basic understanding of how Pinterest works before you can truly weigh in on this case.
The Original Author
In this case the original author may feel like her photo has been stolen.
She created the original post and the image AND she did not give permission to the round up author to use her article in the roundup.
By using her image on Pinterest to link to the round up post, she may feel that the Pinterest traffic from that Pin is now going to the round up post instead of her own website.
She may feel that this is stealing not sharing.
The Round Up Author
The round up author creates many of these types of posts on her website.
She probably feels that she is helping a fellow blogger out by featuring their project and linking back. This gives the creator
- exposure to a larger audience and
- SEO (search engine optimization) benefits from a link that is followed.
She may feel that she is sharing not stealing.
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My Two Cents
You know I have to weigh in on whether I feel this is stealing or sharing.
I understand the original author's feelings. But I think that benefits that the original author gets from being included in this round up far outweigh any “loss” of traffic from the Pin (I put loss in quotes because I don't believe that it is actually a loss and I will tell you why).
First and foremost is SEO. (This SEO guide for beginners explains it well.)
A followed link from a more authoritative site to a lesser one is very valuable for search engine optimization.
It is not immediately apparent, but those links tell the search engines that – hey, this is a good website with good information.
As a result, the search engines will start to rank the pages of the smaller site a little higher in search results. So, instead of being on page 4o for a search term, the smaller site might now move to page 2 or even 1.
What does that mean? More search engine traffic to the smaller site.
Was She Really Losing Pinterest Traffic?
Consider the Size of the Audience
On the other hand, the original poster may feel like she is losing out on Pinterest traffic. The image was pinned by the round up author and links to the round up post not to the original site.
But in this particular case the round up author has a Pinterest audience of over 300,000 people. The original poster has a Pinterest audience of about 2,ooo people.
So, that is potentially 300,000 sets of eyeballs on an image that leads to a round up post that, in turn, links back to the original post.
It may not translate to a lot of direct Pinterest traffic to the original post but it could lead to other people linking to the round up post from their blogs. This could lead to more traffic and link juice to the original post.
Pinterest is It's Own Animal
I know that their is tons of controversy over copyright issues and Pinterest.
If you put something out there on the web, chances are it is going to be pinned by some reader somewhere – hopefully in a manner that gives proper credit to the creator.
This is an issue that I am not qualified to deal with here.
But as a blogger, I know that I create images because I want them to be shared with a link back to my site. Preferably these links are from high ranking websites with lots of authority.
Pinterest Traffic is Flaky
I love Pinterest. The platform does drive a lot of traffic to my blog. But this traffic tends to be transient and it does push up my bounce rate.
People from Pinterest are sifting through tons of pins looking for whatever it is they are looking for.
They click through to your site, scan your stuff, and move on to the next one.
Stealing or Sharing? My Conclusion
In this case, I feel that the benefits of being included in the roundup outweigh the cons of the Pinterest image.
Yes – the round up post author should have asked for permission from the original poster, absolutely always ask for permission unless expressly provided. The original poster does have specific copyright instructions listed in her sidebar. Part of that verbiage is contacting her for permission to use her work in round up posts.
However, in this particular case (each one is different) – the original author is getting a lot of benefit from the round up.
If she asks the round up author to remove her image from Pinterest, she should also be prepared to be removed from the round up post altogether.
What Do You Think?
This kind of feels like an Encyclopedia Brown story, don't you think? The case of the Shared Pinterest Image.
Weigh in with your opinion on whether this is stealing or sharing in the comments below.
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I don't know the author of either post and am only expressing my opinion here. I'm not a lawyer and have no idea about any legal implications.
As a blogger, I know the value of a good link and increased exposure. That is the perspective that I am coming from.
Pin this article to your favorite board on Pinterest to refer to later.