I saw someone mention on an author loop that someone was selling (ie. Pirating) their book through Pinterest. That is not really possible, and so I wanted to give a brief overview of what Pinterest is and isn’t, and how that relates to piracy.
Pinterest is a site to share and discuss pictures you find online. In the same way you would use twitter to share pithy thoughts or facebook to share updates, Pinterest is for sharing photos you find online. If you’re familiar with tumblr, it’s a similar idea except that tumblr displays the pictures (and posts) chronographically, while pinterest is setup only for pictures and has better categorization/display features.
There wouldn’t be a way to sell anything through the site. Pinterest does keep a link back to the website where the picture was taken from (like as a source), so that might be Amazon or Goodreads, etc. In some cases it might even be a pirating site, but it’s that pirating site that’s doing the pirating. In general, if people are pinning your book that is a Very Good Thing. It’s like a mention on someone’s tweet stream, it means they are recommending your book and another person may come along and choose to buy it. Free publicity = good.
By the way, I am seeing more authors get on Pinterest to make “inspiration” boards. We are encouraged to do so, sort of. It’s the hot new social media outlet! Promote yourself! Pimp your books! But the copyright issues surrounding Pinterest are messy. I’m not a lawyer, and I have only a cursory understanding of this stuff. While the site does link back to the source, that source still may not have permission to use it, nor do you.
Basically, if you feel very strongly about copyright infringement issues, best to just avoid Pinterest altogether. But then, you also shouldn’t be using source-less pics online (man candy, anyone?) If you get very upset about people pirating your book, then you should probably not be using Pinterest or posting those mancandy pics, etc. Same idea – unauthorized use and distribution. All the same arguments you could use to explain away why it’s okay to use those pictures (but it’s free exposure! But I wouldn’t have paid for the rights to use them anyway, so no lost income!) can be used to justify pirating your book.
What a fabulous lead-in to the fact that I use Pinterest. I do. I like it. It feeds my love of pretty visuals and my anal organizational tendencies, all at the same time! I am not really sure whether it’s worked from a marketing POV (especially since my book isn’t out yet) but I kinda doubt it. Pinterest is something I do for fun, like growing a flower garden for myself to enjoy, and others may come along to see it if they like.
If Pinterest crashed and burned based on the copyright issues, I wouldn’t be surprised, but I’m not expecting that since they do the same as tumblr. They can just say it’s the responsibility of the pinners to verify copyright, which of course none of us do. The internet, and social media in particular, is all about sharing information at very rapid speeds. It’s inevitable that that social media will clash with intellectual property rights, as the law struggles to contain or catch up with social media.
We, all of us, have to decide where we want to sit, from the front row, very strict, or in the back, among the women (and men) of loose copyright virtue. I am trying to sit somewhere in the middle. I’ll let you know how that goes
What about you? Do you use pinterest or tumblr? Are you thinking about it? Do you post “Man Candy” or other pics without the rights? How do you think that compares to piracy?