Pinterest’s Copyright Problem

Pinterest Copyright pageI described the concept of Pinterest to one of my more astute friends the other day, and his first reaction was, “Isn’t that copyright infringement?” It certainly sounds like there is a risk of copyright infringement if you’re grabbing pictures from webpages without bringing any associated content, but most complaints are staved off by the source links that come with the pinned image. In theory, anyone should be able to click through from Pinterest to the page an image came from (to buy an item, for example, which is how Pinterest makes money), but it doesn’t always work the way it should.

Pinterest has recently gone a step further to stop copyright infringement at the source and provided a bit of code (available in the Help section) for website owners that, when added to their site’s header, will stop anyone from pinning images from the site.

Users who try to use their “Pin It” button will see this message instead: “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”

On the other hand, sites that want to encourage pinning, like e-commerce sites, can add a Pinterest button to their pages to make sharing even easier. Because Pinterest is so new, it’s bound to go through some growing pains as people figure out what users are doing with their pins. It can feel like kind of a free-for-all, with everything from personal pictures to art to…well, everything on this board.

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Lions and Tigers and SOPA, Oh My!

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, SOPA (The Stop Online Piracy Act) is the internet’s favorite bad guy. Everyone is really freaking out about this bill–it was designed to combat digital piracy, but people are worried that it’ll do everything from kill the internet to censor free speech.

The latest news is that some really popular sites (Wikipedia and even CHEEZBURGER NETWORK! Gasp. Although good riddance to reddit, the feyonce’s favorite distraction) are going dark on Wednesday to protest the bill. If everyone didn’t know about the bill before, they will now, which makes it a brilliant publicity tactic. Kids who never cared about what was going on in Congress suddenly are twisting their hands over their favorite sites going down, and those sites are quick to point a finger at SOPA.

I just don’t get what everyone is so worked up about. Yes, SOPA hasn’t quite gotten it right. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be the end of everything we know and love, unless those things we love voluntarily remove themselves. At the end of the day, piracy is still a problem for content-producing industries, and the laws haven’t caught up to the technology. Congress should try again, and the internet needs to calm down already.

The Great Photography Fight

While being engaged to my best friend has been a delightful and insanely happy time in my life, it’s also brought some really strange fights. Fighting is inevitable when planning a wedding as long as you a) are two different human beings b) have opinions c) care. My fiance and I hit all three marks, so some things have come up we disagree on. I’m basically 0 for 20 at guessing what these particular things will be, but The Great Photography Fight really caught me off guard.

Here are the basics: I really enjoy photojournalistic wedding photos, especially candids of real emotion. I love how talented photographers can capture the feel of an event, which is way more important to me than staged and posed portraits. My fiance? Doesn’t care. I thought it was promising when he turned up his nose at some of the cheesy wedding albums we saw when venue hunting, but it turns out: he doesn’t care.

What he does care about is copyright. Specifically, he cares about owning the copyright to our wedding photos.

Now, this is not anything that I have spent a great deal of time thinking about, but I did some research once he threw that gem at me. It turns out, the vast majority of professional photographers retain the copyrights to their images. This is in part because they created them and want to be able to protect their images from being stolen (from their website, for example) and credited to someone else. The other reason photographers retain copyright is because they accept clients (including weddings) with the hope that they can add some of those photos to their portfolio.

Lovely fiance, love of my life, cares about none of this. He feels that since we are paying photographers to shoot our day, we should own every bit of it. For the amount of money we’re paying (which, while more than we have ever paid for anything besides the venue, is reasonable for the market), we should own the photos and be able to do whatever we want with them. Turns out, this is a thing: it’s called work for hire. Some photographers who normally retain copyright will agree to work for hire…for an additional (large) fee. Lovely fiance was able to find a couple of photographers in the area who advertised working for hire, but frankly, the quality wasn’t anywhere near the ones I found who did not work for hire.

This whole argument strikes me as more than a little silly. I can see that he really has a problem with the idea of someone else owning something he pays for, but I have a problem with asking a photographer to give up their claim to something they created. This fight has technically been solved, by which I mean he has bowed out of this decision and allowed me to hire someone who I think will do an amazing job on our wedding day. However, something makes me think that this isn’t quite over…what do you think?