<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California.
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Hey Pinterest users - you don’t own that photo.

Screenshot of a Pinterest board, 2011.
Screenshot of a Pinterest board, 2011.
Thomas Hawk/Flickr/Creative Commons

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Whether you’re a business or an individual, if you’re online, you’re using images. But who owns the images and how carefully are people paying attention to copyright? Recent reports estimate that 70% of all Facebook activities – from “liking” to commenting – revolve around photos, and Pinterest, the newest name in the online image game with over 16 million monthly users, is bringing copyright issues to the fore.

Pinterest users set up digital “bulletin boards” and populate these boards with images they find online by “pinning” (or copying) them, and not always with permission from the image owners. While clicking on many of these images will often link you back to the original website and most Pinterest users are careful to credit photographers and artists, the practice has left many content producers upset, arguing that it is now possible to violate copyright with the click of a button. For its part, Pinterest has created a code that websites can install if they want to ensure their photos can’t be “pinned,” but most of these websites feel the onus should be on Pinterest to more clearly communicate about copyright with its users.

While the dust has (mostly) settled on early blogosphere squabbling about unauthorized reposting of written content, are we in for a new era of arguments about image permissions? Have you ever considered that you might not have the right to repost that image of those wedding dresses you love? Join Patt as she susses out who loses and who wins when it comes to the image wars.


Do you pay attention to copyright when you post or repost images online?


Sasha Strauss, brand strategist and founder of Innovation Protocol, a management consulting firm focused on brand marketing

Sean Broihier, CEO of FineArtAmerica, an online service representing 95,000 artists whose images are available for purchase