Information for Bloggers and People Who Use Pinterest

Pinterest -  Important Information for Creative Bloggers and Artists

 NOTE: This Pinterest article was written soon after Pinterest started gaining popularity in early 2012. Most of this article is still very relevant.

This is WAY off of my normal topic of interest here on Living Locurto, but I have recently found out interesting things about Pinterest that I wanted fellow bloggers to know. I’m not judging anyone, but wanted to give you all some information about my findings.

1. When someone pins your photo, it goes onto the Pinterest’s servers.

You no longer have control of that image, Pinterest does.

If you don’t want your image on Google or Yahoo, you just delete it from your blog or server. You don’t have that option with Pinterest. It’s there for anyone to repin and take whether you want them to or not.

What if someone pinned a photo of your cute baby and it went viral on Pinterest…. then others are using your baby on their site to get pins and Pinterest followers? (see point #2)

What if you were being paid to be featured in a magazine, but they wanted exclusive rights to your photo. You take the photo off of your site, but it’s all over Pinterest? (see a a comment below from someone who says this happened to her and she has yet to hear from Pinterest when asked to remove it.)

Once someone pins your photo, it’s on Pinterest forever until you contact them to remove it.

I wonder if Pinterest would remove ALL of the photos if your photo went viral? I don’t have the answer to that. All I know is that I have no control of my photo once it’s pinned.

(UPDATE: I have contacted Pinterest to remove my images or direct links to the correct URL and they usually do eventually. This is very very time consuming to go through each image you want removed or a link changed. )


Here is an example of how you have no control over a photo once it gets pinned and why you should be concerned:

My friend and very talented baker Amanda, says this about her amazing Heart Cake that has become HUGELY popular on Pinterest:

Amanda wrote: “Out of 100 of my images on Pinterest, maybe 5 actually link to me.”

Sample #1:

Amanda's Heart Cake

Sample #2:


In the pinned image above, Amanda’s cake is sourced via Google found on another blog who has made Amanda’s cake.

She shows Amanda’s photo as the finished product, that photo then went to Google and got pinned! So she is in turn getting traffic to her blog because of Amanda’s photo. She is using Amanda’s recipe, photo and directions.

Amanda does get credit waaaaaaay at the bottom of the post as “Source”.

That small hidden link is the only place out of these two pins where Amanda gets any credit to her wonderful idea and photo.

(UPDATE: Since writing this article, the website that this pinned image was linked to has been taken down. Obviously they realized it was copyright infringement and took measures to correct it. Now, Amanda’s photo is still on Pinterest with no credit to any source.)


2. People are finding pins from the Pinterest “Popular” section, then re-creating that idea in a blog post.

It could be your idea.

Why are they doing this?

  1. Not ALL, but a good handful are doing it to ride on the “Popular Pinterest Train”. – What the average person probably doesn’t realize is the amount of traffic people are getting from Pinterest. It’s higher than any other social media platform as of now. If you’re lucky, you can get more hits to your website from ONE pin than an entire year of Google search traffic. I’m talking thousands of hits from just ONE pin. For those people who don’t have websites, they probably have no clue about this. When more companies and website owners find out, they will flock to Pinterest. This is just the beginning and why I wanted to write this post now.

Why is this different from using one of my ideas and making a craft and putting it on your blog?

  1. You are doing it because you like it and it’s fun. You are not trying to re-create a popular pinned item in hopes that yours will go viral therefore bringing you tons of traffic to your blog.
  2. You are not giving Pinterest or your Pinterest board credit (to get Pinterest followers), you are giving me credit. We all have fun sharing ideas and everyone is happy. It’s not about getting more Pinterest followers which in turn will get your blog more traffic.

I admit, I have found amazing ideas from Pinterest and featured them (the original source) on my blog occasionally with a link to my Pinterest board. I have also benefited from people pinning my ideas and getting traffic.

I’m sure many people feature items that they found on Pinterest just for fun and link to the original source. I don’t see a problem with that as long as they link to the source, not Pinterest.

What I didn’t realize until recently, is that people were actually creating “Inspired by Pinterest” blogs based on this.

Whole websites devoted to this.

Your ideas used for someone’s Pinterest gain. I should make a shirt with that saying! Ha.

If you are using Pinterest to get more traffic and hopefully make lots of money, great for you. I just hope you are using your own photos and ideas or asking the original creator to collaborate so it’s a win win for each side.


If you don’t believe me, read this Greekgeek article where the author sites this article and actually searched Google for Pinterest Inspired sites and found millions of results. Or just go search yourself.


To sum up, I just wanted to share my findings with you.

Owl Smores Recipe by Amy Locurto at

I really love what Pinterest has done. I enjoy pinning and finding inspiring ideas. I just hope you will do what you can to protect your ideas and images. I know I will be changing the way I use Pinterest from now on.

As you will see in the future, my photos will include my URL watermark or  “Photo Terms” as in my Owl Smores photo above. Then when you go to Pinterest, you’ll see my note or url on my photos in the mist of this.

I hope someday Pinterest will make it where the original source must be pinned. Or at least provide a reminder before someone pins a photo. We can do nothing about those who mis-use Pinterest… only try to do the best we can to use Pinterest the way it was meant to be used as an inspiration board. If we get traffic, that is just a very nice bonus!



Please pin the original sources. I feature a lot of people here, it takes 2 seconds to click over to their site to pin their post. I hope you will do that from now on. I will.

I apologize for not doing that in the past. I like you, didn’t even think about it until recently. Just pinning things I liked, never realizing that person’s photo could go viral and they don’t get credit.

REMINDER: When you submit a photo to another site, they will probably be pinning YOUR PHOTO TO THEIR WEBSITE and not yours. If you are okay with that, go for it. Hopefully the reader will eventually click a few more times to find your blog and original project. In my experience, I haven’t found that to be the case, even with magazine or news websites that claim to have multi-million page views.

Thanks so much for reading this long post!!


Here is a follow up to this post with more info and how Pinterest is Changing The Way I Blog.


Link With Love Campaign

Please pin the “Dear Pinterest” image found on Link With Love. It’s a kind campaign to raise awareness about the importance of LINKING to the original source.


Related articles:

Is Pinterest a Haven for Copyright Violations? -

Why I Tearfully Deleted My Pinterest Inspiration Boards – (attorney & photographer)

Is Pinterest Already Making Money, Quietly? –

How Pinterest Uses Your Content Without Violating Copyright Laws -

Our Neighborhood Blog Watch Starts Today, and Some Startling News About Pinterest –

Pinterest: Everything You Wanted to Know About 2012′s Hottest Startup -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation: Teaching Copyright


About Amy Locurto

Amy is a creative mom of two and graphic designer. When she's not working on Living Locurto, she's busy designing Printable Party Supplies and working on I Heart Faces, her photography blog. Find Amy on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.


  1. I often try to find the orginal source before I pin, but I swear, I HATE pins that come from a Tumbler page. It’s often impossible to find the original pin, let alone a product I might be searching for because of the pin I saw.

  2. Wow. I did not know this. I’m fairly new at the Pinterest thing, so now I’ll have to figure out if anything I pinned is wrong. Bummer this kind of thing has to happen.

  3. I has just joined pinterest for 2 months and never realize this. Thank you so much for telling us this important information. I used to only click on repin without opening the site just because I love the picture. I think I’m gonna change the way I pin.

  4. I just joined Pinterest about 2 days ago and I honestly didn’t think about what you said, but now that you have brought it to my attention I realize what you said is very true, I never would have thought about just repinning the picture I saw instead of going to the persons page who pinned it first. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  5. Thank you so much for taking a stand on this important issue. Everything you mentioned has been bothering me since I joined Pinterest. I hope people read this information and think twice about how they cite sources. Pinterest has become the new wild west and I am nominating you as the new Sheriff! :)

  6. I agree and try to always find the original site to pin, I have even gone in and repinned when it doesn’t give the proper information or seems beyond giving credit to the person who originally posted an image.

    None of our online images have much safety, and we should be careful we allow people to see if we will be concerned in the future. I have had several things I have pinned that are no longer on the web and my pin is blank.

    Hope everyone really takes time to make this a fun, useful site in the future.

  7. Some pins do not lead anywhere because the original person who uploaded them does not have a blog, you are allowed to upload pins directly from your computer-and they will not “link to anywhere” that is rude to report them when they are following the rules, Pinterest is for sharing, it did not originate with advertising ourselves or our “blogs”…it was created as an online pinboard for sharing and inspiration.

    • @Amber H., you don’t need a blog to use the ‘pin it’ bookmarklet from your tool bar. Right clicking then saving the photo to your computer then uploading to pinterest and not writing the link in the comments or somewhere is copyright infringement & also a LOT of work when you can just click one button in your toolbar from your webrowser & pin it with correct source. Following the rules means you type out the url of where you got the photo from-even if you upload it to pinterest straight from your computer. I would never report someone who wrote the link in the comments but they have the free pin it button for your browsers toolbar for a reason.

      • @Kristi @ Creative Kristi, You are correct as well, what I mean is-sometimes people are uploading their own original content themselves, that’s why I see it as rude for someone to report it. For example-if I don’t have a blog with my crafts/recipes on it, but I have my own photos I’ve taken on my computer and I upload them directly to pinterest, I am creating an original pin, but it will not link to anywhere. That’s why it’s so hard to report anyone-I don’t know if it’s that person’s original post or not, it just sucks there are so many dishonest people out there who make things so complicated!

  8. I didn’t know that! I will definitely put that to use…we should all help Pinterest try to keep this from happening.

  9. I thought of this immediately when I began using Pinterest. Many of the photo links are broken or nonexistent because they were pinned using Bing, Google or sources that gave no attribution. Many times, I have tried to hunt down the original source with no success. I have blogged for over 4 years, so I see the dilemma. You are so right. Thanks for sharing.


  10. Nothing is perfect. No one complained about Pinterest when all they noticed was the massive traffic gain and now all I see are complaints for not getting credit. I see people now putting together a survey to send a list of complaints to the folks at Pinterest. I know I’ll be the lone wolf but I think we sometimes just have to take the good with the bad. And then take what action we can into our own hands and quit making a federal case out of it in our social media channels. Contact Pinterest; they actually do get back to you; maybe not immediately but then we are not paying for the traffic we get are we?

    I’m really not the Grinch that stole Christmas but I just feel that lately all I see are relentless tweets and posts about someone taking something from a website. I’ve been in the Internet business for 17 years. It started then when a browser that delivered info with images first came into being and it will most likely never stop. I think it’s an inevitable part of being online and for many, not just me, the complaining is becoming more burdensome than the actions that are being complained about.

    • @Barbara | Creative Culinary, Despite the fact that Pinterest is free it is still NOT OKAY to pin something and act like it is yours by first saving the image to your computer and then uploading it. And tumblr is just a mess! Every time I find a pin that leads back to tumblr I almost NEVER find the original source. I know the internet cannot be controlled…but copyrights should be observed by all. And everyone knows that tumblr is out of control and should be avoided…but I don’t want Pinterest to have that same reputation. I love the traffic and I also LOVE the concept…based on pinning images that lead to valid links that contain the original and more information about it. And I really hope Pinterest takes reports seriously….if I should report my image being posted without ONE SINGLE link back to me then they should remove all said pins. And, by the way, you get absolutely NO TRAFFIC from such pins anyway!!

      • @Cheryl Ann, people just don’t get it! I can get on pinterest right now-pin MY OWN photo of my own creation, DIRECTLY to pinterest and it will not link to anything, therefore my pin does not deserve to be REPORTED like all these people are suggesting. If it is your own personal property/blog, then watermark with a blog link, if you are a photographer-watermark with a copyright/blog link, if you’re a blogger…well unless you are someone who is actually paid for writing a blog, then what does it matter! Most of these ideas on pinterest from women’s “blogs” that they are claiming they “invented themselves” I’ve seen in magazines for years! Women’s Day, Woman’s World, Better Homes and Garden’s…to me it all just sounds like selfishness. Copyright issues are one thing, that is a legal matter, but if someone is arguing they came up with an idea “first” then maybe they should get a patent or get over it.

        • @Amber H., oops this reply was not for Cheryl Ann, it was for @Barbara and others, sorry about that Cheryl Ann

        • @Amber H., actually I think I’m wrong, haha it’s to whoever was saying “it’s NOT OKAY” to share

        • @Amber H., I understand exactly what you are saying Amber. It is true, you can upload a picture to Pinterest and it is perfectly fine to do that if it is a picture that YOU TOOK. If you just find it online or on somebody’s blog then you save it to your computer then you upload it as IF IT WAS YOURS then you may be infringing on someone’s copyright. That is apparent, right? But if you take someone’s idea and don’t link it to them then is that right? I have read several articles where pins have gone viral on Pinterest only not a single one of the pins link to the original source….and that doesn’t seem right at all! If I take a picture put it on my blog it belongs to me. All blogs state that you must credit the source if you use it…and all they usually want is a link. And that is what Pinterest is for…so we can see what others collect and admire and follow their pins back to the original source. This aspect of Pinterest is a quandary…how do you let people upload their own pictures but prevent this kind of behavior. And my question is, why would anybody do this anyway???

      • @Cheryl Ann, I agree it’s not okay to do, I’m just saying-everyone is immediately jumping on this bandwagon saying “GET RID OF ALL PINS THAT DON’T LEAD BACK TO A SOURCE” but that’s not a solution either, because there are people out there who are legitimately doing it the right way-yet their pins will be reported, even though they are not in the wrong. I think bad people are just giving a good thing a bad name, and good people will in turn be punished.(Such is the world, right?)

    • @Barbara | Creative Culinary, I agree 100%. Seriously. Traffic is jumping in incredible ways for a ton of bloggers from Pinterest but they want to throw a fit because they see one of their ideas online that’s not sourcing them? This has been happening for years. Instead of blaming Pinterest, learn what to do if your image is stolen and go that route. Watermark your photos and then it won’t be that big of a deal because your source will be right there on the photo. If I google my keywords a lot of times I find my images out there that aren’t sourced back to me. It’s the same exact thing and I just ask the website owner to source me or take it down. I’m really tired of hearing people gripe about Pinterest that are reaping huge benefits of traffic from Pinterest. Very few people have truly authentic ideas. They are ideas that have been around for years and are slowly changing. Plus how do you think all the people that design for Anthropologie or Pottery Barn feel when they see bloggers coming out with knock offs for their designs? Yes Pinterest has a few tweaks that it needs to address but stop hounding them for a free service that is benefitting people more than harming.

      Sorry I’m up in arms tonight, I’m just incredibly moody.

    • @Barbara | Creative Culinary,

      Really, I don’t see any complaining? The only thing I have seen is people wanting others to pin the original source of the photo, not another blog who placed someone else’s photo into a post to gain traffic and profit. The same concern is for Facebook & Google. At least Google sources the actual website and the photos don’t go on their servers.

      I don’t know why it’s just Pinterest that is causing such a big stir. We are seeing so many “Pinterest Inspired” websites now, NOT “Google Image Inspired” sites. So it’s why I’m focusing on Pinterest here.

      I am not complaining in this post, just wondering what I as a professional designer and blogger with a large audience should do. I took it upon myself to try to let others know what is happening now and hopefully educate those new to Pinterest and the creative blogging world.

      I’ve been designing websites since the internet started. Yes, I’m old! ha. Idea sharing and idea re-cycling has been going on forever. What’s happening with Pinterest is… it’s becoming ONE OF THE MOST powerful social media sites along with Facebook, Twitter and even Google. It is focused on photos and the creative world. So as someone in the creative world, this makes my brain explode thinking of the future. It’s really hard to grasp the fact that soon there will be not only 5 million users, but 500 million. What happens then? It will be interesting when famous musicians, directors, actors, design firms, artists, and photographer’s original works and photos start getting re-cycled and put on “Pinterest Inpsired” blogs. They won’t be nice about it like us, they will go after them with their high powered attorneys.

      This is just the beginning. Pinterest’s eyes are on the money right now. And who can blame them? They struck gold with this. Heck even politicians are flocking to it because of the popularity. I don’t really think Pinterest is too concerned about removing pins that you report. As I have seen it takes weeks for them to ever reply to my own. Many they have never been replied to at all. Right now, could you get to someone at Google or Facebook to answer a question or reply to an email? I think not. Hopefully they will make changes soon before they become like Facebook & Google. Just hoping.

      I hope Pinterest can keep good customer service, but when they reach the 500 million mark… I don’t know how they could.

      • @Amy,(for reference, my CAPS words are just emphasis, I’m not some crazy person SHOUTING in my posts ;) lol) It won’t let me post a link or you could read a very good article about how 99% of people are NOT out to steal your photo or “profit from it” MOST people on pinterest are genuinely just PINNING THINGS THEY LIKE. Not trying to steal a photo and pass it off as their own, I don’t know anyone who has done that intentionally! It is just absurdity! It is a great platform for sharing, and a smart person would know-if you came up with an idea and want to protect it-you will, you won’t just stick it out on the internet for anyone to steal. You will patent it, copyright it legally(not just put a watermark on it as this does not give you any legal right) and make sure you are taking the proper steps. You decide to share what you want, dishonest people are always going to be out there, on every platform of the internet, not just Pinterest…that’s just a sad fact.

  11. Karen Moret Harrison says:

    I report the pins that do not have a source. I hate clicking on a pin and it goes nowhere. If you want to put up pretty pictures, use tumblr. To report a pin with no source, click the Report Pin box on the right side of the picture (it shows up once you click on the pin.)

    • @Karen Moret Harrison, I didn’t know that! I will definitely put that to use…we should all help Pinterest try to keep this from happening. Like someone else said, many people are not fully aware of what is happening. I know I didn’t…I wondered, but I simply did not understand. Now I do and I will do my part.

  12. Done! I love Pinterest, but I hate it when I click on a link and it doesn’t go to the source. I have pinned them, but I won’t anymore. Also I will leave a comment on that link as to that fact…hopefully Pinterest will figure out a way to deal with this problem. Thanks for the info and your investment in solving this! (I pinned this link to all 50 of my boards.)

    • @Cheryl Ann, I didn’t know that! I will definitely put that to use…we should all help Pinterest try to keep this from happening. Like someone else said, many people are not fully aware of what is happening. I know I didn’t…I wondered, but I simply did not understand. Now I do and I will do my part.

  13. I actually just wrote about ‘The Ethics of Pinterest’ a few weeks ago. I think in a lot of places people just don’t realize what they are doing is wrong. It would be super helpful if Pinterest would make their Code of Ethics more visible.

    The only thing I don’t like about linking back to the original source is that it gives no credit then to the person that found the pin. And it just takes so dang long. Pinterest is new and we are all new at it. I think people will get better once they learn more about it.

    I learned the hard way that you lose creative control of a photo once it goes viral. Last summer I posted a really funny picture of my kid and included a funny caption. People began repining it with a different caption. It didn’t bother me because I realized it was my fault but it was a good lesson to learn.

  14. Thanks for this awareness article!!!!
    It occurs to me that, instead of posting the picture ‘as is’, add a watermark (that doesn’t benefit the photo :( but is safer) Or, as I’ve seen in other websites, they take the pic of (for example) the cake + a little sign with the author’s name so there’s no way to repost the picture without the sign.

  15. I have only just started blogging, but I have been an avid Pinterest fan for a long time. I didn’t realize that when I hit “repin” it wasn’t necessarily pinning the original source but recently I have been making sure to check the links and if it is not the original source I search around until I find the original, or I don’t repin it. I am going through the pins on my boards now to make sure they are directly linked. Your post is great, it definitely makes you think about what your pinning and repinning!

  16. I am going to pin this blog post!!! I am so glad that I am not alone in thinking about this issue. If you look at – I have pinned/posted many things about correct Photo usage online. I am really frustrated with this issue. It has got out of hand, especially with sites like Tumblr, imgfave, weheartit etc. I have started slowly going through all my boards & checking my pins to make sure they all link to the original owners of the images. Google Image Search & my sleuthing brain have helped me to locate original sources. I have done about half of my boards so far. It is time consuming, but I don’t want any pins that are not correctly sourced. I now put all pins in my likes until I have time to check them & repin them. I wish more people would start doing the right thing.

  17. I noticed this issue early on, and have tried to always let my groups online know about proper pinning etiquette. Many dont seem to realize how much work goes into a blog post and didn’t realize howich they are stealing from a blogger when they helpfully (well meant) put the entire tutorial in the notes.

    I do a weekly roundup of Frugal ideas I found via Pinterest, but I always link back to the original blog post. I’m finding that to sometimes be hard, having to really google and search around to find the original when I can.

  18. Thank you for sharing this. SUCH an interesting and significant point. It’s another fault of pinterest — a site that is growing fast than, I believe, they’re ready for. I love your Photo Terms. Are you using a plugin to do that?

    I wrote a similar post recently, about copy write infringement and Pinterest:

  19. I am in the process of checking my links to make sure they go to the original source, not just some picture on Google. What an eye-opener! Also, I plan on, well, PINNING this post.

  20. I love your post! I have a blog which is all about featuring great craft ideas, but you can find that all pictures are linked to their original sources. I get really desapointed at some blogs recreating ideas and not giving the proper credits. I’ve been reading this specific “big” blog for years and since pinterest became so popular i can tell now that many of this blogger’s creations are not as “genius” as I thought they were. Since making money through blog became one of the main income source for a lot of women, giving credit to someone means advertising for free and a lot of these bloggers are not willing to do that. They just post a tutorial and claim they have seen the idea “out there”.
    The reality is this copyright thing is getting out of control. I had published a free printable on my blog and stated on the post that it was to be used only for personal purposes. Later I found out a website was selling tshirts with my design printed on it. Now i would have to go through a big hassle to prove the design is my own.
    Anyways, thanks for sharing this.

  21. I try to ALWAYS make it a habit to re-pin the ORIGINAL source. I think every one should take the time to do that. If I have to go thru 5 blogs to find the original one (If I CAN find it). Than thats what I do. It’s only fair. So I do wind up pinning something that has already been pinned, but its to the original post. I just hope everyone start taking the time to so this, people should give credit where its due. Happy Pinning!

  22. Thanks SO much for sharing this. It never occurred to me either. I will Pin to the direct link from now on! :)

  23. I get annoyed when an image I like and pinned didn’t contain the source; I wish Pinterest makes the source link compulsory. I’m going through my pins slowly to research the maker, hope I can at least do the right thing by adding the source and credit back!

  24. Thank you SO much for this very important information!!

  25. Great post. It does get you thinking. I have read your follow up as well. Again great post. I get a lot of inspiration these days from Pinterest and actually hate not finding the source with the pin. Luckily most of the people I follow are really good about sources. I can’t say the same for tumblr however. Nearly half of the people I follow don’t post sources. Sometimes I reblog and ask who the source is hoping someone will reply. Also sometimes I simply do not reblog the photographs from someone when they systematically do not add sources and most of the time I stop following them. Hopefully everybody will add their source in the future.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter :)


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