Thursday, March 01, 2012

Takedown: How Pinterest moved fast to remove my pinned images (#2)

Do you want to get your images removed from Pinterest quickly and easily?  If you do read on.

This is Part 2 of my post about remedies to the problem of images appearing on Pinterest without permission.

In yesterday's post - How Pinterest removed all my pinned images in minutes (#1) - I found how to
  • identify just how many images 
  • reviewed why it is wrong to pin without permission
  • started to comment on the images in question - but got frustrated with the notion of doing each image one by one
I decided the best way to get an instant result would be to try for a site-wide solution.  Not only that I decided to make sure that the take down notice applied to all six sites on which I've already implemented the meta tag which prevents images from being pinned.

The reason for reading on is I succeeded in being able to get images removed from all six sites. I had most images off the site in half an hour and the virtually all the rest within the hour (just one outstanding to date).

What it means is that:

  • you don't need to contact the member who pinned the image
  • you don't need to do endless takedown notices for one image at a time.
  • this is the speedy version!

First study the Pinterest Copyright page

I studied the How to Report a Copyright Infringement page on Pinterest.  This states
In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, the text of which may be found on the U.S. Copyright Office website at, Pinterest will respond expeditiously to claims of copyright infringement committed using the Pinterest website (the "Site") that are reported to Pinterest’s Designated Copyright Agent, identified in the sample notice below
This page provides a numbered process to follow.  I didn't follow all of it because I've done this several times and know pretty much what they need to know to take action.  I explain this in my annotations to my email letter below

Next draft a Takedown Notice

Let me explain a little bit about the background behind the letter I sent them before you read it.  I've been issuing takedown notices for about six years and during that time I've learned a few things.  One is that you need to be very assertive and very firm.  If you know you're right you need to explain matters clearly to the host - and then tell them how long they have to take action - and what you'll do if they don't.

To be honest it just saves time.

the image referenced in the email
The view of the Winter Garden from the Orangery at Dunham Massey

11" x 16", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Folio Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Here's the email I sent to Pinterest.  My annotations of the letter are in green.  I always keep in mind that somebody on their website is doing wrong and I am TELLING them to follow the law.

Bottom line - this is NOT  a request - it's a factual statement of the wrongdoing and an instruction as to what they must do as a result.

[UPDATE:  The email address for all letters like this is - I was so sure I'd already included this info - but apparently not!]

This link is to an image on your site which is "all rights reserved" on my blog - see (This provides an example image and provides the evidence of where it came from)

The use of it on your site fulfils none of the "fair use" exemptions for copyright purposes. It is being used for decoration. (This addresses the "fair use" issue)

No permission has been sought for its use. I note that means the action by your member contravenes the membership agreement.  (The Pinterest membership statement says that all images pinned to the site must belong to the Pinterest member or they must have permission to use it.)

Use of copyright protected material without permission is illegal under copyright laws.

My Travels with a Sketchbook blog states (this is my statement of my copyright notice on this blog.  Do you have one on your website or blog? Have you given due warning to anybody wanting to copy your images? You don't actually need to have one if you're British as our law automatically gives u copyright over everything we produce without any need to register.)
Please do not copy without permission
Important Note
Copyright is reserved on all images and text generated by Katherine Tyrrell.
Copyright is retained by originator for all images and text generated by others and used with their permission or within the context of 'fair use'.
Contact me if you want to make a copy and use any text or images for publication elsewhere.
All spam blogs will be reported for copyright infringement.
Copying for commercial use is subject to license and a fee.
"I hereby state that I have a good faith belief that the disputed use of the copyrighted material or reference or link to such material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law (e.g., as a fair use)." "I hereby state that the information in this Notice is accurate and, under penalty of perjury, that I am the owner of the copyright or of an exclusive right under the copyright that is allegedly infringed." (This is the paragraph that Pinterest ask you to state to them.  I amended very slightly to reflect what I was complaining about)

I live in the UK. My telephone number is ex-directory and my mailing address is private. Both will remain so. You can contact me on this email address. (They asked for personal information which in my opinion they did not need.  I never give my personal information to people who are careless.)

This is merely one of several copyright infringements relating to my own images and images which I have written permission to use on my sites. (This indicates this notice is not just about one image.  I didn't count and state the number of images involved - but I could have done)

Below is a list of all the websites which your website members are banned from (the meta tag is in place on all these sites) (This is a list of all my sites - you may only need to highlight one)
Please ensure that any images obtained from any of the abovementioned websites - and pinned to your website - are removed from your site within the next seven days. (Note I've given them a reasonable amount of time to take the images down given the number of sites I've notified.  This is actually more appropriate to a one person site than one which has a team of development staff)

Please note it is also my practice to report all websites which infringe my copyright to both Google and your host IP if the offending material is not removed. (Been there, done that and got the T shirt - and more than once.  This sentence has impact.  Google can de-index their site.  Their host IP requires them to act lawfully and can boot them off their server.  This is a big deal.)

I will also start calculating the licence fee for the use of the various copyright protected images on your site as permission has at no time been sought by anybody for the use of these images from my websites and blogs (and would in any case be refused). (If you have an established track record in selling artwork and reproductions you have a basis for charging for the licence they do not have)

I have the #3 art blog in the UK and will be highlighting your response to this takedown notice and the length of time it takes if it is not immediate. (not something everybody can say - but in the context of my blogs it's worth a mention.  It's also easily verifiable by looking at my blog!  This statement has PR clout!)

Katherine Tyrrell

Artist and writer Katherine Tyrrell draws and writes about art for artists and art lovers
Making A Mark is #3 in the top 25 art blogs in the UK
1.3 million visitors and counting......
In summary

So in a nutshell, at 23.05 on 29 February 2012, I sent an email to Pinterest.  This is what it did:
  • referenced an offending image
  • identified my copyright statement for that site
  • asserted my rights over my images
  • identified all the relevant site URLs where I want a site-wide approach to be implemented
  • stated what I want to happen and by when (I am not making a request - I'm telling them what they must do in law)
  • advised them what action I will take if they take no action - specifically
    • notify Google and IP host - either of which could effectively  take them off line
    • invoice them for the cost of the use of my images on their website
    • identify how they respond to the Notice in a blog post which has rather a lot of readers
How Pinterest responded

At 23.39 (GMT) on 29 February 2012 a Pinterest member of staff responded.  That's a gap of less than 35 minutes.  Virtually all my images had already been removed from the site. (I'll explain why it wasn't all images in a minute)

This is the email letter I got back.  It addressed the problem and told me that they had resolved it.  It also told me how I could monitor my sites.  It was a very good response.

I'd now expect that all people notifying Pinterest of similar problems will get a similar response.  Please feel free to quote my experience if you feel you're getting the "runaround" - and leave a note on this post.
Hi Katherine -

You recently notified Pinterest of a belief that copyrighted material was being made available through without authorization. We confirm that we have removed such material.
We've removed the pin you cited, as well as all pins/re-pins from the domains you listed. You can monitor a whole site using the following URL convention:

Please feel free to reach out to me personally with any questions.
Aaron Franklin
Pinterest - Community Specialist
I then responded as follows
Many thanks Aaron for the extremely prompt response. It's appreciated and will be duly noted in my blog post.

I'll also be making my subscribers and other art bloggers of aware of this process re websites. It's most helpful.

Can I suggest you introduce:

  • a reminder to people of what the membership agreement states re ownership or permission BEFORE they finish the process of pinning (ie no scope for ignorance or silliness)
  • you provide a "dummies guide to copyright" on your site. I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who think it's OK to pin somebody else's work even when the website states all right reserved.  People need to be very clear and continuously reminded that the fact that you can see an image on the internet does not mean it is in the public domain.
I think the idea behind the site is interesting. I think it could become a good site so long as it diligently addresses the copyright issues.

The thing is I shouldn't have to do anything to preserve my images. The onus is wholly on you to prevent your site being in any way characterised as encouraging copyright infringement as it is at present. I believe there are some useful court cases which provide precedent which you need to be aware of

By you I of course mean the corporate "you" ie Pinterest

Katherine Tyrrell
A little while later I went through and checked every domain - and I was annoyed to find a lot of images were still present on the site So I wrote another letter
Removed from every domain? See A couple of examples - I have a major problem with images where:

Am I going to have to check every single domain every single day?

None of my sites allow ANY images to be pinned.

The next letter goes direct to Google and your IP host.

Katherine Tyrrell

which was then followed up by another email which queried the batch of images relating to

It turned out they didn't appreciate that is different to They'd tackled the first and not done anything about the second. Aaron's reply apologised for the continuing problem
Hi Katherine -

My apologies - I did a thorough sweep of the other sites, but just learned that URLs starting with www need to be truncated to search, e.g.

I've removed the remaining pins - thanks for double checking my work. The pins were pinned before you added the code to your site. Now that you have the code on the sites, you do not need to monitor activity from these sites.

I just want to add that we are aware of confusion with our terms of service, and are working on making our terms of use - and our intentions - more clear. Rest assured, we are listening and putting the necessary pieces in place as we grow. We are committed to making our passion for content discovery beneficial to everyone, including both users and the creators of the content we love so much.

Aaron Franklin Pinterest - Community Specialist
Moral of the story - check all URLs thoroughly!

 My impression is of a team of people who know they've cocked up  - note the admission of the problems being experienced in the final paragraph - and they are trying to remedy the situation.

 I understand that there are moves afoot to change the way Pinterest works so that the terms of use are a lot more transparent and there is less confusion in terms of the inherent contradictions which exist at present.

 Mishaps aside, the customer service I received was very good on the whole.  I'd expect everybody else to get the same quality of service - hence why I have detailed what happened to me.  Please feel free to reference this post by way of setting out your expectations! :)

Now if they could just sort that one final image which has not disappeared from the site I'd be a happy bunny!

 If you want to get to know more about the man behind the site read this blog post by Kirsten Kowalski My Date with Ben Silbermann — Following Up and Drying My Tears.  This followed on from Why I Tearfully Deleted My Pinterest Inspiration Boards which is a helpful explanation of what's wrong with Pinterest in its current incarnation.  So helpful it took down her site as her bandwidth was exceeded by a mile!

What's been your experience?

Do feel free to use this post to describe 
how you've got on with trying to get images removed from the site. 

If you need more help and information see below.

More information See also my two posts about protecting your images and the first half of this post
Plus I'm logging useful links to more information and advice on Copyright - Resources for Artists | Pinterest: how to identify and tackle copyright infringement


  1. Hi Katherine: Once again, you are a wonderful leader for artists online!! I personally have no problem with people posting my images AS LONG AS they provide my name as the creator of the painting AS WELL AS the url of my blog or website. I have noticed that images taken off a site other than my own personal sites, are only credited with the site they were removed from, with no indication of who did the work. Any suggestions for how to fix that one???

  2. Well the social media sites are going to have to fix it otherwise more and more 2d artists will stop posing artwork on their sites.

    I'm at one remove from you - I'm very happy posting my images on my sites. I just don't want people removing them and putting them on their sites. That's largely based on some of the things I saw people doing with them when I started out online - such as decorating them with Google adverts

    My blog is on a short feed with no images for very good reasons.

  3. Katherine! The URL for checking source pins! THANK YOU! I used it by replacing "Making a Mark" with "Brush and Baren" and my own website and found who has done what with my images! Most folks have at least credited me... which is a relief. I've bookmarked these "source" pages and you can bet I'll be keeping tabs on them from now on!

    Of course there's still the third-party source issue. (sigh) If I give permission for my images to be posted on other sites that don't lock out Pinterest...well... But it's a start.

    It does sound as though you received good customer service, which goes a long way to building good will as the next iteration of social media unfolds. Thanks for being diligent and sharing your efforts with us.

  4. My images were removed a few hours after I filled out the copyright infringement form on the Pinterest site.

  5. Dear Katherine,
    Thank you for the wonderful following post. Based on your advice, I've sent emails to Google, Ausrtalian Copyright Council, ASA. See how it goes and reading your provided info sources in the last post.
    Please keep up this very informative and helpful blog.
    Kind regards,Sadami

  6. Thank you for helping us artists with this issue. Through your help I identified one image, which is a limited edition printed, pinned & repinned along with other images of mine. My website, blog and every picture carries the copyright sign, and I have it in my sidebar of the blog too. I have now used your templete email to contact pinterest and hope for a swift response.

    Thank you so much for all your help with this copyright issue caused by pinterest and for all the guidance on how to resolve it.

  7. thanks katherine- this is wonderful post. BTW I can't get the URL check to work for my flickr site (where I expect most pinning to occur)

  8. Next, you need to tackle the people who save as images and report/pin them!!

  9. I do not have a Pinterest account, however I have found my pictures pinned under my two blog headings. No one has ever asked permission to pin pictures from my blogs, EVEN though I have it clearly stated on my blogs. I wrote an email last evening, but have not heard back from them. I just want Pinterest to take the pages down. I did add the code to my blogs so they can no longer be pinned. I am flattered that people want to pin my pictures, but THEY SHOULD ASK FIRST!! Any suggestions?? I don't know that I need to file a copyright form, but it just isn't right that people take my pictures without asking.

    1. Do what I've outlined in this post. Make sure you ask them to do a site-wide takedown. Give them the examples you found.

    2. Katherine,
      So do I just send an email (to where??) or do I have to use the Copyright infringement form??

    3. You need to send it to

      I've just realised I don't have that bit of info in the above post so am off to remedy that deficit 9and I was so sure I'd included it!)

  10. I will make a confession: I am a pinner. And I credit the site with a hashtag to the website - as well as only pinning directly from the website (so the site author gets a pingback notification and can see that I've pinned their image). But I love pinterest mainly because it's so much easier than Diigo or bookmarking. Sometimes, I don't want to follow a blog on RSS (I already work through over 1000 posts a day!) because I don't like all of their content, but I can 'cut it out' and keep it at a glance on my pinterest page for inspiration. I always click through to the original site, because I want to see the rest/read the rest - it's like the pinterest image is a teaser. I know many people don't use it this way, though. Like I've just clicked on a pin about a craft-project. I want to do the craft project. I could book mark it, or Diigo it, sure, but pinterest is a better way of bookmarking visually. My own personal work, I'm very happy to share and I like to see people's comments as they're enjoying my work. It doesn't eat into any profit I make for them to pin stuff, and it doesn't make them any money, so I'm just glad to get the feedback that people like my work. My blog visits have gone through the roof via pinterest, and if it's 100% of people who pin my work, or only 1%, it's still driving up my traffic. Not that I care about that. I started a blog to show and share, and that's what pinterest helps happen. Yes, there are idiots who don't use it properly, but if I am, then there's bound to be others who do too. The way I see it, if I take a photograph and put it on the internet, then anyone can 'save as' and even if I use a programme to stop them being able to, they can still take a screenshot and steal it that way. If people want to steal, they'll steal. The only way I could prevent that would be to not ever publish anything.

    I hope that clarifies why some people like pinning and don't mind their work being pinned!

    1. Did it occur to you that you can save all those bookmarks - with images - via Google Reader? That's what I do.

      The only way to prevent stealing is to start promoting behaviour that is about "doing the right thing" and not taking or copying without permission.

      Why is it not OK to shoplift - because you reduce the income stream for the person who created the item shoplifted and the retailer. Shoplifting is stealing.

      Why is it not OK to pin images without permission? Because.......[you try completing the sentence!]

      If the image is not yours and you do not have permission to use it then you are breaching the terms of your membership of Pinterest. A bookmark is no defence if one of those who have been pinned decides to serve Pinterest with an invoice for a fee for the unauthorised reproduction of their image. They will then pass it on to you with their bill for legal costs. It's your risk.

      The only exceptions are those who are making genuine "fair use" of their pins - but it's interesting how the site is beginning to limit the scope to do even that

    2. Bookmarks - I have thousands. How do you suggest I organise them?

    3. Actually, the more I re-read your comments, the more smug and self-satisfied I find them. I suggest you take all of your original content off and then nobody ever shares it. You take content from all over. 95% of it you source correctly and I can't understand why you think it's 'stealing' when pinterest link back to your site. It's no different in that way than a more static google image search. Luckily, most people (including me) do not feel this way about our images, or else we'd not put them on the internet where anyone can find and claim them. I post all kinds of stuff, ideas, original things, and if people take them, good luck to them. I don't care. If I did, I don't put it on the internet (like the stuff I have in my published books... now if I find THAT on the internet, that's a different matter...) but you can't have a blog with your own stuff on it and then complain people find it inspiring. It's not like they're stealing it to make money off it. I'm very glad most people don't think like you.

    4. Like you used to before you found Pinterest?

      Maybe I need to do a blog post about alternative ways to organise bookmarks?

    5. Normally I don't publish rude comments (re. "smug and self satisfied") but in this case I shall make an exception for "Lady Justine" who I note from her blog has a tendency to rant a lot. I've nothing against her personally but I am bound to correct what I see as misunderstandings on her part.

      The reason I take great exception to people pinning from my blog is because I've got a LOT of images by OTHER PEOPLE on this blog.

      A LOT of those images I have to provide written undertakings as to where and how they will appear. I have permission for my site and my site alone and hence need to deal with all those who infringe copyright.

      A LOT of those images are also only permitted within the context of the "fair use" exception to copyright eg exhibition reviews.

      There is no "right" that exists for other people to take them and publish them on sites of their choice in isolation. So, for example, I do not publish exhibition images on Facebook or Flickr at full size. The reason for that is because they would then be separated from the textual context which provides the rationale for publication

      Google you might have noticed (but obviously not) publishes images at thumbnail size. When as if you see them at full size they are clearly marked up with the site of original source. The THUMBNAIL SIZE ONLY has been established in court as OK within the context of a search engine resource.

      Pinterest publishes all images at full size and does NOT ensure that they credit the site of origin. Nor is it a search engine.

      Most people act like you because they don't know any better. There's a lot of people out there who don't understand copyright law - or why it's important to visual artists.

      If you read through the comments of people on the various posts written by those highlighting the copyright issues you'll find lots of comments written by people who have now deleted all their boards or all the images that they do not own or do not have permission to publish.

      In other words a lot of people once they do find out what the real situation is - and in particular what the implications are for other people and their livelihoods - change their mind and start acting differently.

    6. The fact is that, although the vast majority of people do this kind of thing innocently and with the very best of intentions (leaving links etc and crediting the right person), the site itself doesn't allow it! If you look a their Terms and Conditions page (which you will have clicked 'I agree' to when setting up your account - even if you didn't read it!), and scroll to 'Member Content' 2nd paragraph, then 'General Prohibitions' first section of first paragraph, you will see that Pinterest themselves veto your posting others' content without their permission.

      Whether we like it or not and whether we do it to plagiarise or not, it's the law!

    7. Further to "Lady Justine"'s comment ie I'm very glad most people don't think like you. I've just been sent a lovely comment by another blogger who's been reading my posts.

      It goes as follows

      Hi Katherine,
      I thought you might want to know that several people have read your posts and the posts of others about Pinterest and they are now deleting their boards. I honestly had not idea what I was consenting to when I joined Pinterest. When I learned that Pinterest then has the right to use the photos in any way they choose, I threw on the breaks and deleted my account and requested they remove all photos from my blog, which they said they have done.

      I can't thank you enough for all the time and energy you have put into your blog posts to educate the rest of is a real gift. THANK YOU!


      The simple message is:

      (1) If you are a member - look very carefully at what you have signed up for if you are a member - and have a long hard think about what it means.

      (2) If you have pinned your own work - think long and hard about whether you want somebody else having your permission (via your membership) to make money from it in any way they see fit.

  11. Millions of thanks, Katherine! I had no idea this site even existed, never mind that my material had been pinned and re-pinned extensively too - despite my having had copyright notices on my blog for quite some months already and never once being asked for permission or got blog traffic! I'll be using your letter format to request a complete take down too and adding a 'no pinning without permission' notice to my site!

    Thanks for a very public service!

  12. Further to my comment above:

    I've followed your model e-mail, Katherine, and my content has been removed from Pinterest.

    Actually, you can disallow pinning from your blog by adding the following code into the head code on the blog template:
    meta name="pinterest" content="nopin" / (which you need to put inside the arrow brackets < >, I just can't here...)
    It will then tell the person that pinning is not allowed and, I think, it won't actually work if they try.=)

    Hope that helps someone!

    1. Good to hear it Elizabeth!

      For those who want a bookmark - I set out the process for Blogger in my post Pinterest: How to prevent your Blogger images from being pinned

  13. Pinterest is revising its terms of service as from 6th April 2012

    View the explanation here

    View the new terms of service here

  14. Thanks so much for this post; I had no idea content from my blog was pinned, but will be sending a letter with the relevant links and information to Pinterest.
    My interest in this began when a friend pinned a photo I put on FB without asking, and then it was repinned numerous times.
    As with others who responded, my blog has copyright notices yet there seems to be issues with people understanding them.
    If they had ASKED, I would have considered the use.
    Per Lady Justine's comment "it's not like they're making money off it..."
    Really? How do we know???
    Again~~many thanks!

  15. I read this post some time ago when I was struggling with having my images, used without permission, removed from Pinterest. I followed your method and was shocked at just how many of my images were on their. Like you, I experienced quick removal of those images.

    I still notice the occasional visit to my blog via pinterest. What I have since found out is that there are more of my images on Pinterest that are not available to a search (google, pinterest site search or search with /source/...) , even though they too link back to my blog posts. I've asked from them to be removed again and again but I'm told they will only be removed if I provide a link to each and every pin, even if they are the same copyright infringements over and over.

    I have added a nopin plugin to my blog but this only stops future pins.

    I don't have time to search for all of the infringments, if that were even possible and am tired of the cut and paste unhelpful replies from Enid. I wonder if you might have some suggestions? Perhaps sharing Aaron Franklin's email address since his reply to you seemed more helpful than what I've had thus far?

  16. I think I'd be very inclined to tell them that if they don't remove all the images which are linked to your site then you will have no option but to report the site to the powers that be.

    Pinterest copyright action should work when sent to the copyright email address. If it doesn't then they risk losing their safe harbour status

  17. Hello again Katherine
    I think I posted on a similar post of yours. After much gnashing of teeth I have finally given up on Flickr and closed my account to all but friends and family. I had no idea that Pinterest was so rampant. I am not a business, or selling things but my photographs of things that I make and our home were very popular (thousands views on Flickr and a few thousand comments). I understood the reciprocity of Flickr - I'll show you mine if you show me yours - type of thing. It all seems a bit daft now and I was certainly naive. I had no idea that not one or two images but hundreds were being used on Pinterest - re-pinned a few hundred times so that, like a Russian Doll, it all becomes mind boggling. So I set up a blog - surely it would be ok there - just like -minded people would come and visit. Within hours of each of my posts the photographs would be on Pinterest. All messages to them go unanswered - I have filled in so many of those wretched Copyright forms I have gone cross eyed. A friend has fiddled with my blog (not a phrase you hear too often) and I am hoping that it will be a safe as possible within 24 hours or so (I know nothing is 100%) The arrogance of business that makes everyone change their ways to suit them.
    What a sorry state of affairs. I was wondering if you knew how to search for flickr photos on Pinterest? At present the only way I can use the copyright form is if I download all my flickr photographs onto my blog (and there are one or two there....!) and then use the URL from there!

    Sorry for the ramble but so glad that you are out there
    Kind regards

  18. Katherine...I have found so many 'copycat' sites like Pinterest. Indulgy, Photoree, Dipity are a few of the sites that 'scrape' photos from Flickr and Google Images.
    It is infuriating. They seem to be using Pinterest as the industry standard.

    I have re-posted links to this article of yours in more than a few places over the last few days. I want everyone to learn about their copyrights and to protect them with a vengence, because the rights we have as artists are being hacked to death before our eyes.
    Again, thank you, and I am going to spread links to your article EVERYWHERE! Thank you for your amazing diligence.

    1. Many thanks Leslie - artists need to understand that if sites infringe copyright you don't have to just accept it if it's done without your consent.

    2. Hi Katherine,

      Congratulations for writing this article.

      I am the creator of Photoree, and I have been sugested reading this article on the website's Facebook page, by Leslie Hawes (commenting above).

      While your copyright concerns do apply in the specific case of Pinterest, unfortunately people tend to project it to other websites regardless the situation on those websites.

      At Photoree for example, as it is a search engine (works the same way as Google Images), the images are used in a small thumbnail-version, for representation purposes in the search results, thus the images are used under the "fair use exeption".

      Before hastily saying "copyrignt infringement" people should look a little at the particular situiation on that particular website.

      Daniel Racovitan

    3. Here's a wikipedia article that can help understand the "fair use by search engines":

      Daniel Racovitan

    4. Thanks for the clarification Daniel - however I think you have some work to do to persuade people about your message about how your site works.

      IMO your site needs to work harder at persuading people that it doesn't operate like Pinterest and does not infringe copyright in any way whatsoever.

      I can't check your site out based on the information on the front page. Plus there's nothing to indicate that your site is fully compliant with all aspects of the law relating to copyright.

      By way of contrast there are lots of sites which are breaching copyright and I can fully understand why Leslie may have confused your site with others.

    5. You are right, I should do some work to explain the copyright policy. That would avoid most of the confusion.

    6. I forgot to add - I do advise artists on how to get sites taken down by the ISP and how to get a site deindexed by Google.

      If you get letters from people saying that their copyright protected images are on your site and they want them removed, I'd recommend you move very fast to get them down if you want to claim "safe harbour" status based on "fair use". It's a lot less trouble than losing a site completely.

  19. Leaving aside sites other than Photoree...
    My photos that appear on Photoree were taken directly from Flickr without my consent, and show up on Photoree in a larger than 'thumbnail' size. I think the confusion is that the operators of Photoree think that because their 'spiders' that crawl the internet looking for photos capture the images in 'thumbnail' size, that they are within their rights. When the photos then appear on the site in a larger than thumbnail size, and when the photos appear on images searches with attribution going directly to Photoree and not to me unless they go through Photoree, that is when I consider the misuse of my images copyright infringement. At no time have I been asked if my images could be used.

    All my images on Flickr are (c) all rights reserved, all the boxes to disallow 3rd party use are ticked.

    I have requested ALL of my images be removed from Photoree, as have a number of people on the Facebook page for Photoree. My requests to Photoree on Facebook have been removed.

    I think the confusion is on the part of Photoree. They do not understand that copyright holders have the right to disallow any sort of use, regardless of what Photoree considers 'fair use'. Because other sites are doing it incorrectly does not mean that by repeating their mistake it is rendered correct.

    I think a solution to all and any confusion would have been for Photoree to request permission first. Once permission was obtained, then create a site from those results.

  20. quoting Leslie Hawes: "images show up on Photoree in a larger than 'thumbnail' size"

    This is simply not true. At Photoree all copyrighted images appear in thumbnail-size only, namely no more than 240 pixels per side (Google uses even larger thumbnails).

    OTOH, fair use does not require prior permission from the copyright holder, otherwise we won't be talking about fair use exception in the first place.

    quote: "photos appear on images searches with attribution going directly to Photoree and not to me". This is not true either. ALL the photos at Photoree are shown with attribution AND link to the original page.

    As for your photos, they have all been removed and your flickr account banned permanetly, as per your request. Secondly, your access to Photoree's Facebook page has been restricted due to all those spam comments you have posted there.

    1. That's a very interesting comment on how Photoree treats people who appeared to me to have a legitimate complaint against Photoree.

      I'm still completely confused as to what on earth the "fair use" exemption is that Photoree think they are claiming.

      However on the basis of their approach to customer care - as evidenced by the above comment - I think my recommendation would be to avoid them like the plague!

      Daniel - you are now also banned from making any further comments on this blog. If you want to establish yourself as a business which acts in a business-like, professional and totally legal way you need to do that via your treatment of people whose images are on your site - and not via comments on this blog.

      I'd also recommend you check out:
      1) what the law has to say about "safe harbors" and responses to people who make legitimate complaints. Then have a long hard think about why Pinterest suddenly saw the point of changing the way it operated.
      2) what Google has had to say recently about how it will be rating websites based on the number of takedown notices they (ie Google) receive from aggrieved parties........

  21. Dear Katherine,
    thank you for this informative article that cuts straight to the heart of the issues involved. I've bookmarked it for future reference.

    Perhaps you have mentioned it on this page already--my apologies if I have missed it--but as the statement on the bottom of the page rightly points out, your text and images on this page are of course also copyright to yourself. So I thought I should ask for your permission, please, and perhaps your blessing, to use your excellent "statement of copyright notice" (minus your name, of course!)for pages on which my own image portfolio are displayed. It's the best I've seen I think and a very sensible practice to adopt. Also, if it is permitted, please, to adapt the wording of your own emails to pinterest according to infringements of my own work I have found on it.

    Given the nature of the discussion on this page, I MIGHT assume you have no problem with this, however I think it is both a courtesy, and within the spirit of the discussion to seek your permission first.

    Again, thanks for an excellent discussion of what is a very annoying problem for artists and some practical and effective solutions for how to address it. I wholeheartedly agree that artists can either give up or assert their rights. It may appear to be an insurmountable problem, but nothing ever was changed, by doing nothing.
    Brett Rogers

  22. Brett - of course you can have my permission to quote the statement or to use it as reference.

    Your query also goes to the nub of the issue - that of permission. It's not that people never want their text or images used or displayed elsewhere - rather that this should be done with permission. Alternatively - as with all commercial property - under LICENCE which may or may not attract a fee.

    I seem to recall when I was developing my copyright statement I used about half a dozen good statements as reference sources. I then tried to spell out what people needed to know in plain English with a few added extras of aspects which I thought might be helpful to emphasise. eg "All spam blogs will be reported to Google and their website host ISP for copyright infringement.". This statement was because I'd found out from experiences that this was the most effective way of getting action from recalcitrant spam blogs!

  23. Hi Katherine, Thank you so much for this post. I do not have a Pinterest account but saw that one of the referring URL's for my blog came from Pinterest. I clicked on it and found that several users had pinned copyrighted images from my blog without my permission. I am an artist and photographer and I make a living off of selling my artwork and photos so naturally I was not happy. After several more searches, I found more images had been pinned from my website and another from my flickr page where it clearly states "All rights reserved" on all of my images. I filled out several of the Copyright Infringement forms online two days ago. All of the images are still up and I still have not gotten a response from Pinterest. Not even an automated email confirmation. I'd hate to have to start threatening legal action but apparently that is the only way they will take this issue seriously. I just wanted to share this with you and your readers to let you know that not everyone is getting cooperation from Pinterest.

  24. Kim - Repeat your takedown notices to Pinterest and in them state that you are also going direct to Google and in doing so will be clearly stating that you have had neither an acknowledgement nor any action on the offending accounts by Pinterest. This would mean that they are endangering their safe harbour status - something which Google would want to know about as it affects how they treat them in their index.

    In the meantime start tweeting about the fact that Pinterest is not acting on your DMCA notices - and keep tweeting.

    Also have you taken action to stop them lifting images from Blogger or Flickr?

  25. Yes, I have embedded the no pinning code into my blog template and will do the same for Flickr. Thank you for including that information in your post. I will send an email today with another takedown notice and let you know if I get a response.

  26. You're not the only person I've heard of who's having problems with Pinterest.

    I also tweeted "s "Is #Pinterest endangering its "safe harbor" status? I'm getting reports that it's failing to acknowledge or act on #DMCA takedown notices"

  27. Katherine, thank you so much for your helpful information. Perhaps Pinterest has been following your blog and tweets. As I was composing an email to Pinterest, I finally received the following email four times (one for each of the 4 copyright infringement forms I filled out):

    "You recently notified Pinterest of a belief that copyrighted material was being made available through without authorization. We confirm that we have removed such material. While most content is removed immediately, it may take up to 24 hours to be removed from all servers.

    Very truly yours,"

    I confirmed that all the images have been removed and feel a lot less helpless now.

  28. There you go - you just have to post a comment on this thread and it must come back up the Google rankings and be there for all to see - including those at Pinterest!

    Although maybe the safe harbor comment helped as well? ;)

  29. hi katherine, thanks so much for this information. i'm a textile artist and have wasted countless hours over the last 6 months pinterest-stalking myself and getting worked up over the types of boards i've found my work pinned on.

    after following your email/advice over the weekend, i've had limited success, but they are still asking for a DMCA notice and individual links to every pin i want removed.
    before i respond, i wanted to know... if the pin is removed at source (which has usually been innocently pinned, & is how i'm keeping tabs on stuff) will every subsequent re-pin automatically be removed too? (the re-pins are where i find my work posted as 'things to make' amongst tutorials & patterns).
    even if i have to do this the slow, tedious way, at least i now have A way - thankyou!

  30. It should be removed if you find the pin which started it. The thing is I'm not sure whether they identify the offending image by file name or the image. Hopefully the latter which would mean they'd find all other images on the site even if they've been renamed.

    Just remember to mention in your Notice how much you'll be invoicing them for use of your images without your permission!

  31. i emailed again for clarification
    and threw in another offending pin for good measure, "for which i would need to charge a licensing fee" - which they took down immediately)
    their response was
    "When a pin is removed due to a copyright complaint, our system will remove all pins identified that contain an image file identical to the image you specified."
    and apparently this is made easier by using their web form and ticking the 'remove all' box.

    i'm still not keen on using the form (address/phone no.)so i'll keep pursuing the email thing...
    thanks again so much for the information you've made available - i really wouldn't have known where to start!

  32. Hi Katherine,
    I've read through your blog and all of the comments and I have a great amount of respect for you. As such I am going to be blatantly honest in the hopes of opening a discussion that would solve everyone's problems.
    I love pinterest, but I guess I'll have to stop using it because I will never take the time to ask for permission. I just won't spend my time that way. And I believe whole heartily that 99% percent of other people won't either. Life is just too fast paced and people want everything now, now, now.
    Google Reader is just no good next to the simplicity, visual beauty and how easy it is to share images on pinterest. Seriously, I tried your recommendation and no, It’s not a fix. Although I like the idea of being told when there is new images/material on a favorite website. That is something that pinterest doesn’t have. Additionally, I’m sure most bloggers out there have images on them that are not their own, so there’s not much difference.
    Also, I don't think enough people are like me and are willing to give up pinterest so I don't infringe on artist rights. I really don't want to and I’m not sure I can if I can’t find something else to fill it’s void. I love going to my boards and seeing the things I find beautiful. It really helps me get through the day sometimes.
    So here is why I'm writing you.
    People want a product like pinterest and they want to use it in the way that breaks copyright laws. I know this because that’s what everyone is doing. That is not going to change no matter how many reminders you sent out that people are only to use images that they have the rights too. You shouldn’t have to anyways. Your images should be protected automatically by programs like pinterest. I mean, it’s a program so it can be built to do what is right and take the responsibility out of the hands of people. That sounds kinda Big Brother and it’s not that these people are bad, it’s just too easy for people to repin stuff that’s not theirs. The grass is greenest right under their feet and I do believe it is impossible to take that away from people once they have it. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it like it is. So I foresee a never ending battle on your hands.
    However, If you could redesign how pinterest works, how would you do it so you're happy and don't feel like people are stealing your images and I still get to make a collection of things I find inspiring and beautiful and also share them with other people(for no other purpose than to look or buy of course).
    I think I remember you stating that you are ok with bing and google searches because they show thumbnails that when clicked go directly to the website. I would love a version of pinterest that is exactly like that if in addition I could catalogue the thumbnails/websites that I want to go back too and discard all similar thumbnails/websites that I'm not into and also be able to re-catalogue other peoples selections to my own list.
    I think it's great that you're doing so much work to make sure artist rights are upheld, but sending out copyright infringement forms time after time is a band aid solution. Is there no definitive answer? Can we not make everyone happy?
    Thank you for your time.

  33. Amber - I'd love to use Pinterest in principle IF (a big "if") it just went to thumbnails (and it could do!) - but I have too much respect for other people's rights to their images.

    Or if it allowed me to make every single board completely private - for my viewing pleasure only - which means it' cannot be shared with anybody else. But that would ruin the Pinterest' aspirations (aka 'greed') for monetisation - because let's not forget this is not just about taking people's images and making pretty looking boards it's also about making money off them.

    The one area where I think Pinterest works - and where prior permission gets over the problem of copyright and sharing - is commercial sites which are selling goods. I've got no problems about boards which comprise goods for sale. So long as the commercial site (like Etsy for example) allows shop owners to opt out of having a pinmarklet on their shop site so that all their goods are ALWAYS directly attributed to them.

    The thing is what I have instead is a whole set of bookmarks for other image databases which I interrogate on a regular basis to see groups of similar pictures. These vary from sites which are about paintings to news sites which provide really good images.

    I make websites which are about artists and I collect all the links I can find which allow me to go to that site and see all the images I could wish to see about that artist.

    At the end of the day I believe that society stands or falls on INTEGRITY. If we wave goodbye to integrity then it stops mattering about stealing other goods from people houses - because we want them now.

    It stops mattering if people get hurt when thefts of items that other people own occur in their own homes

    It stops mattering if people desert the cities and go and live in gated communities - so that they feel safe.

    It stop mattering if people have guns in their bedrooms and shoot at sounds in the night and kill innocent people.

    So - because I want to sleep safe in my bed at night and not feel suspicious about other people - I shall stick to integrity and not make a lot of pin boards of other people's images.

    It's a matter of principle - and being able to live with myself - and other people.


  34. Hi Katherine,
    Thank you for your thoughts. I fully understand and support your thoughts on integrity. If I didn't, I never would have started researching the problems and alternatives to pinterest or found your blog.
    You have given me alot to think about. I have not given up on someday there being a site like pinterest that helps me organize my interests in a meaningful and visual way that somehow doesn't step on the rights of artists and helps them make money. I enjoy thinking about how that site could be designed. For now, I'm wobbling towards deleting my pinterest account.
    I'll be emailing Pinterest to tell them to make their site more artist supportive in the hopes that more artists will put pinterest buttons on their web pages. I'll tell them that I'll sign up again in the future once that happens.
    Kind Regards,

  35. thank you so much for this. its very helpful. i am sick to death of filling in the copyright form and having them say they are taking my images down, only to find them again a few months later. I did the search thing using my blog URL but found only three items but weirdly got a couple of emails asking me if certain items (that my search didnt uncover) were for sale? My work is designing for companies and so once i design it, using the images on pinterest is stealing business form the company i made the item for. no idea why they imagined anything was for sale.
    In one way its good i got the emails as it
    a) alerted me to the fact that despite approaching pinterest about copyright theft in the past, my images are still showing up and there are images on there that dont show up in my search.

    b) at least in this instance they had the correct contact details.

    it concerns me that there are pins in there that i cant even seem to find but they clearly exist.
    Pinterest offered me some code to add to my blog (without clear enough instructions on how to add it i must add) but this code simply caused faults to my own setup. i couldnt quick edit or anything so I had to remove it. and why is the onus on me to add code. they are the ones breaking the law. I already have clearly stated copyright on my blog and give no permission to use the images.

    I am glad you got a result. I dont think i am able to do what you did but i am happy to see that someone is at least standing up to them. It upsets me that the general population are so blaze about the issue of stealing and wonder why it bothers us...
    our society is becoming more and more selfish and immoral to the point they cant even see that breaking the law is NOT OK. personally, i give up.. but its good to see someone keeping at it.

    well done.

  36. Pinterest jeopardises its legal position and "safe harbour" protection if it does not work effectively to ensure processes work properly and images are ALWAYS removed which should not be on its site

    Don't talk any nonsense from them - and remind them that
    1) they stand to lose their protection if they don't fix your problems and the problems of people like you.
    2) Plus you're keeping a file of all your emails to them and all their responses back should you need to make this legal!

  37. thank you , thank you and THANK you, I will work on this on Monday, I have been doing one at at time, but figure there MUST be a better way.

  38. Hi, I was googling for some Pinterest related stuff and occasionly started reading this post.
    I have one question.
    Why on Earth did you intend to write to google in case they dont remove the images fast?
    What do you think google is? A god? What could google do?

    I am an IM'er and I wonder how did you think google is related to solving things like that?

  39. Stan - I'm sorry I don't have a clue what an IMer is.

    I also assume you're not aware of Google's interest in copyright infringements (ie "bad sites") or the fact that it has a wen page where you can report copyright infringements.

    What Google does is deindex the page where the copyright infringement is so that they get not benefit from stealing other people's images. In other words the page no longer ranks in or is visible in their search engine data.

    I hope that answers your question as to what can Google do. As you can see they can do rather a lot.

    Those stealing images from other people and pinning them to Pinterest should be aware of this.

  40. Do you know how a 'regular' person can go about finding pictures? I mean, a non-blogger?

    Also, a former relative has pictures of my sons on a Pinterest board. I have asked numerous times for her to remove them but she hasn't and has now blocked me from Facebook and Pinterest. I have reported each picture (twice) they are still up. How can I get pictures of my kids off of the internet?

  41. I'm not overly familiar with what the laws are relating to use of photographs of children on the internet in North America.

    I'd make a very careful note of all the documentation you have as evidence in trying to get the photos removed.

    I'd try the "the next letter you receive will be from a lawyer" letter / email which very often alerts people that they need to take action.

    Emphasise all the efforts you have made to date and what response you got. You also need to be able to evidence the images are still there so you'll need from a friend who is not blocked. and you'll need screendumps with dates evidenced on screen

    If still nothing happens try reporting it to the police!

  42. How would you find pins from old Squidoo lenses? I would like all of those deleted since now they are no longer linking to the original article.

  43. I'm not sure - presumably in the same way you would find links to any site. Except I'm not sure if that works if the domain URL no longer exists.