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Pinterest, Facebook, and Copyright Issues

What is DPW's view on the Copyright issues surrounding the posting of images on Pinterest and Facebook?

Many artists are understandably concerned about the copyright issues surrounding the pinning of their images on Pinterest.com and the liking of them on Facebook.

The concern arises out of the terms of use that is the same for both sites:

"...you hereby grant to [...] a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, *modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services."

While at face value, this sounds very alarming, DPW doesn't think there is any practical cause for worry.

Here is why:

1. The legal language above is not taking away any of your rights to your images, instead Pinterest and Facebook simply want to be able to use your images to promote their websites. Who would not want that!

2. You are not selling images - you are giving them away for free so you can sell paintings. You want your images of your work to be spread far and wide. This is not theft - it is online marketing.

3. The risk and benefit of having your work online are two sides of the same coin. On one side you have the risk of someone using your images without your permission, while on the other side you benefit from the exposure. If you remove the risk, you remove the exposure, and exposure is the currency of the internet and the fuel of your success as an artist selling online. In DPW's opinion, the net gain of allowing your work on Pinterest and Facebook is very positive.

4. There is no difference between Pinterest and Facebook with regard to copyright issues. Pinning an image into Pinterest or embedding an image from Pinterest into a blog is equivalent to posting to Facebook or liking a painting image on Facebook and thus embedding it in another FB page.

5. Pinterest and Facebook both have a very good thing going and have a lot to lose if they make people unhappy by abusing their uploaded content. They have the strongest incentive to behave - survival.

I do think, regarding copyright and the internet, if you post your work online, then the horse is already out of the barn, and this is good. Any violations that do occur are simply part of the cost of business and directly serve your goal to sell. Folks that "steal" your image, may or may not buy a painting later, however having your images spread far and wide, hopefully with attribution (as is done by DPW), is how an artist taps into and benefits from the enormous global online market. If you don't allow this, then you risk other artists, who are just as good and who do allow it, to sell more to the same market. Remember that for every one person who buys one of your paintings online, you need 100's to view it.

Regardless, if you would like to avoid the risk, you can go to your Account Information page and chose to not allow your work to be promoted externally from the DPW website by DPW. Please be aware that this may significantly reduce your potential exposure online.


If you do choose to disallow external promotion of your images, the Facebook Like and Pinterest buttons will be disabled for your paintings with a message of explanation so buyers will not be confused.

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