Photo Credit: Jeff Prieb
Have you ever written a letter of complaint?

As many of my readers know I have been truly inspired and excited by the creativity that I personally generate through Pinterest. Yet, despite being quoted in an article about my support for the site as well as promoting it on this blog, all the talk on copyright infringement continues to worry me. So, I wrote this letter. I will admit I frame my dialogue aggressively, but I am sad to say Pinterest did not reply or offer any insight into safe pinning. I’m frustrated because I love the service and feel like I’m being misled! Read and let me know what you think.

Emailed August 19, 2012 to support @pinterest

Good day,

I’m frustrated with the lack of clear communication on Pinterest’s part with regard to issues of copyright. Your policy places responsibility and onus on users with limited education or material to help users educate themselves. I love your service. As an art teacher, compiling artists for my students is so easy and a readily available tool for students to find inspiration and learn about art history. Yet, by my reading of your policy, my very repinning or posting of these images claims I have legal rights to post? Your service by its very nature is about sharing yet that could lead me to legal consequence. I’ve been holding out, hoping I would not have to cancel my membership and participation in your services but I’m beginning to realize that as much as I like what Pinterest offers me, the legal consequences of continuing may be severe. I would love to hear from Pinterest as to how to handle their use. Rampant repinning of materials clearly not created by users makes your site work. How is Pinterest not afraid for some huge legal battle? Is it because Pinterest’s very terms place all responsibility on users? It is almost as if this service is truly just setting people up to be sued?

Any guidance and clarification you can provide that would allow me to continue participating in your great idea is most welcome.

My understanding is:

(1) only post images I have legal right to (my photographs, my artwork)
(2) don’t repin anything because I don’t have rights to those images (which essentially kills the reasoning behind using this service)

Please correct me if I’m wrong. Some “everyday speak” on your terms of service may help clarify these concerns for other users, which is clearly an ever growing problem.

Thank you for your time and consideration of my concerns,


Carrie Brummer


Artist Site:

I’m considering removing all of my boards for anything related to the arts. I may then just “Like” images for my reference as I have not then repinned or pinned anything to suggest my ownership of said imagery. I’m sincerely saddened by the prospect of cancelling my membership as it has been an amazing way to “collect” artists for my students and my own inspiration.

Artist Strong Action: What are your suggestions for using Pinterest safely, if not removing oneself entirely from the website?