Shared publicly  - 
Over the past few days, I've been involved in multiple discussions about Pinterest. Although I was aware of the site before, I intentionally ignored it. However, when +Neil R brought it to my attention again, I went back to take another look. As explained below, I didn't like what I saw. To give it an honest look, I did sign up for an experimental account, associated with the Video Liberty project:

Shortly after that, a couple posts here on G+ from +Trey Ratcliff caught my attention, and I commented on those posts. There seems to be some "confusion" about Pinterest, which is very evident in the comments on Trey's posts. To avoid further confusion, I will try to stick with just the facts here.

If you look at the attached image, you can get a quick take on the main problem I have with Pinterest. That image uses screen captures from the Pinterest site, so the factual nature of the quoted text can't be logically questioned. I've marked up the text to highlight the inconsistency between their statement on respecting copyrights and their statement of what the site is all about. I don't think there's much to question, on a factual basis, about my markups.

Trey, and many people who commented on Trey's posts, talk about how great Pinterest is for sharing your work freely. "Information wants to be free" and "freedom and art go hand-in-hand" and all that. Whether such views have merit or not (and I'd recommend you check out my Video Liberty project to see where I stand), this has nothing to do with Pinterest because it clearly ignores the fact -- as stated by Pinterest -- that Pinterest is not for sharing your own work. They allow it, but discourage that from being your primary use of the site.

As described on the Pinterest site, they want you to "curate" content that you find online. Putting a fancy word on it doesn't change the fact that when you "curate" content you're copying that content to Pinterest. If the owner of that content has not given you permission to copy their work, you're violating their copyright (i.e., breaking the law). Copyright is just that -- the right to copy, which includes the right to allow, limit, or prevent copying.

Whether you choose to give away your own work has no bearing on whether you have the right to take work away from those who have not made that choice. Pinterest encourages you to do just that -- to take whatever you can get your hands on. Sure, they say that they respect intellectual property (e.g., copyrights), and they do provide a mechanism to link "pinned" content back to wherever you found it (which might be the real origin, or might be another copyright-infringing source), but none of that changes the fact that they're encouraging you to copy content to their site from wherever you find it. None of that changes the fact that you're making unauthorized copies (with some exceptions, e.g., pre-licensed works released under a Creative Commons license, or public domain works) and that, by discouraging sharing your own work and encouraging copying from others, they're encouraging copyright infringement.

Over the years I've distributed photos, writings, videos, and software under a variety of "open" and "copyleft" licenses, and I've been subject to public attacks for advocating that others do the same. Look into the history of the Open Music Registry, or go look at my current project (Video Liberty). It should be obvious that I believe there is value in choosing to freely share your intellectual property. However, my choice, or your choice, to give things away for free does not magically provide a license to take things for free as well if they are not freely given by their owner.
Stuart Whitmore's profile photoNeil R's profile photoEmily Roesly's profile photo
Neil R
Does Pinterest actually host anything, or do they just link to off-site content?

I mentioned previously that sharing on f***book accomplishes the same task; with fb shoving a "share" button in your face on millions of sites on the web, it's hard not to see it as another type of copyright theft. The fb mechanism makes it way too easy to link to anything, anywhere at any time.
Neil R
If nobody follows you, can they see your content? I like the idea of Pinterest for sharing, but not with the public at large. Wish they had some kind of privacy controls, such as on Twitter, where you can choose whether or not to protect your tweets; on Pinterest, it would be neat to be able to protect your "pins" so to speak.
Neil R
Major fail: no native Android app. I just deleted my test account.
They do host the content that you pin. In some cases they make that content a link to wherever you got it (which does not mean the proper source, but literally just wherever you found it), but their copy is still hosted on their site. If your source (legit or otherwise) takes the content offline, your "pinned" copy will still be there. Also, AFAIK, all Pinboards are public at this time, although I guess people are asking them to provide private boards.

From what I remember of FB, when you share something there, it only grabs a thumbnail unless you make the effort of getting a higher resolution version and uploading that. Am I remembering that right? If so, the default FB sharing is little more than linking. Pinterest, on the other hand, copies a high-res version by default. It really streamlines the infringement process.
Neil R
I'd possibly use it if the boards were private. But, not having an Android app makes it essentially useless. These new social media startups need to realize they're excluding the bulk of smartphone users by not making the Android apps first. The dumpy iphones have it; makes no sense why they develop for such a shrinking market (oh wait--they're brown-nosing all the hipsters who buy that stuff).
I might continue using the Video Liberty account I created, mostly as a way to "keep my ear to the ground" about changes on their site. I would be more open to using it for more things if a few conditions were met:

1. They should make more than a passing effort to educate their users about what can and cannot be legally "curated" there.
2. They should be more open to people posting their own content, so that the focus is less on questionable curating by copyright-clueless users.
3. They should allow non-copyright-owners to flag obvious violations and proactively check out any "Pin" that gets more than one or two flags. Requiring the owner (and only the owner) to file a DMCA take-down notice is what I call "*hiding behind the DMCA*" because it puts almost all of the burden on owners and far too little on infringers and on the sites that enable infringement.
4. There should be a flexible feature for private Pinboards, to cover a variety of non-public uses.

As for mobile / Android support, I'm not enough of a mobile user to know what you're hoping for there. Is it to make adding content easier? If so, I wonder if there's an API that could be used, perhaps with tarpipe to route content into a Pinboard without Pinterest supporting that directly.
Neil R
When I'm out and using only the smartphone, there are times I'd like to snap a photo and post it online. I do it occasionally here, on Twitter (via Twitpic), or on Path (which is smartphone-only); I do try to get the better pics up on my own photojournal site instead, and I have it set up to auto-share from there. (The G+ API still isn't a "go," apparently, so it's out of the loop for now.)

From my phone, I have the official app provided by WordPress to post directly to my photojournal and I think I have it set to upload as many as three or four pics at a time. I no longer have to wait hours to post something immediate. It's also handy to be able to shoot a photo of anything and email it to someone waiting on the other end. I actually enjoyed the last couple of road trips I took--it is fun to be able to take some impromptu snapshots along the way and share it with others.

It's just getting old when you see so many misguided companies offering iphone apps over anything else; they're excluding the majority of the smartphone market, especially now that the corporate and IT communities are moving away from RIM (aka Blackberry, which is dying by degrees).
A couple thoughts, +Neil R... First, for what you describe, it seems like Evernote would be a more suitable tool. Pinterest is for curating content created by other people, while Evernote allows collecting your own digital life (in a way that can be shared, searched, etc.). Also, have you looked at tarpipe? You might be able to streamline what you're doing by connecting things into a tarpipe workflow.
Neil R
The problem there is that those are services that aren't even familiar to users of other social media; I can't convince everyone to sign up to services they've never heard of just so I can share something. This is more a "hobby" thing than anything else--a lot of us stay connected via services like Path just for fun. Most of them want nothing to do with G+ either; basically they peek in, see no activity, contribute nothing and then go away and say G+ is dead. And yet they are like lemmings, letting fb sell them out...
For tarpipe, it's not something others would be aware of, it's just to streamline your behind-the-scenes process -- for example, to send a photo from your phone to a tarpipe email address and have the photo show up in all the places you want to show up. As for Evernote, I don't think it's that obscure, but you might need a plug-in or something to make it easy for blog readers (for example) to see things in a shared folder.
Neil R
I was actually thinking of a service similar to Tarpipe that would let you share anything with all the services you're signed up to, simply by making one post. That is one reason I went with the photojournal, as I can have it automatically cross-post to different places (all I need are plugins to accomplish this). Thing is, Path has no API to do this (yet), and apparently neither does G+. A single mobile sharing app is what is needed. Twitter/Twitpic, fb, G+/Google Places, Tumblr, Path, Foursquare, Yelp, Wallabee, etc. Data would include a check-in, photo, location (like in G+, you can choose city, street, address or business name as a location), who you're with, and a short comment (140 chars max). I've actually found Path to be a lot of fun since it is so simple.
Pinterest doesn't pique my interest at all! It would appear they are trying to amass "beautiful images" to promote their site at the expense of the people who created those images. Copying images that are not public domain is theft. Period.
Add a comment...