Picture of How To Use Pinterest Before it Uses You
On 23 March 2012 Pinterest changed its TOS.

I believe in the power of the internet to support communities, share information and learn about the universe.  I submit Instructables, post how-to videos and mentor students around the globe.  I use open source and creative commons just as much as I add to it.

Yet Pinterest makes me uncomfortable.  This social media service assumes that any visual content is there for the taking.  Their ‘pin it’ button seamlessly integrates copyrighted material into the Pinterest licensing system. It's just a little too slick not to wonder what's happening behind their closed doors.

I am not going to delve into the legality of Pinterest TOS nor how many users are pinning content without copyright approval.  That will be played out over time by those far more qualified than myself.

What I want to share with you is the understanding that Pinterest is a tool.  And just like any other tool you need to use it wisely to support your needs or it will use you.  The following is a heirarchy of methods I employ when sharing information on the internet and specifically addresses the optimization of Pinterest.

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Step 1: Basic Guidelines

Picture of Basic Guidelines
Only upload an content of which you want used, shared and promoted.

Prevent loss of attribution by placing a watermark on the image itself.

Make it easy for current social media to link back to your website by using plug-ins and apps.

Step 2: Use Transparent GIF files

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No Pinning Allowed

1.  If the web page does not have an image Pinterest has nothing to pin.

Two ways to achieve this are:

a)  don’t post an image.

b)  insert a transparent gif over your image.

On this page I have installed a trans gif .

Step 3: Install the 'No Pin' Code

Picture of Install the 'No Pin' Code
2.  Install the No Pin code from Pinterest

Go the bottom of the Help page and click on ‘what if I don’t want images pinned?’.  This section provides a short code to place at the top of your web page.  As of 27 February 2012 the code is <meta name="pinterest" content="no-pin" />

On this page I have installed the no pin code.

Step 4: Active Flickr No Pin Code

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3. Flickr -  Activate the No Pin Option

Log on to your Flickr account and enter the privacy settings tab.  Scroll to ‘allow others to share your stuff’ and click no.  When someone attempts to pin your photos this message appears

On this Flickr page I have installed a no pin code.

Step 5: Utilize Pinnable Thumbnails

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Allow Pinterest Access to Thumbnails

Currently, Pinterest appears to be uploading a medium size image file to it’s service.  If their members have access to this big bold view why would they click thru to your website?  Furthermore, do you want to freely give away a medium sized image for Pinterest to license?

Or as Mama would say -  why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

Instead - use an engaging thumbnail image on the webpage so that viewers are encouraged to click thru to your website.

For Example
this page pins as a medium image
this page pins a thumbnail

You find that Pinterest only has access to a 200 x 133 thumbnail teaser.

Step 6: Use It or be Used by It

Picture of Use It or be Used by It
Pinterest is a fun engaging tool for quickly sharing visual data. 

Please use these methods to build your consensual relationship with Pinterest.
Its a great social media tool.  
Use it before it uses you.

I'll be looking for you on Pinterest!

February 2012 Media References

Pinterest Users Need to Read the Fine Print’ by Carole Ditosti

Pinterest Introduces "NOPIN" to Counter Copyright Concerns’ by Lim Yung-Hui

Is Pinterest a Haven for Copyright Violations?’  by Ellen Brundige

Pinterest Might Be Enabling Massive Copyright Theft’  by Kevin Lincoln

'A Flaw in Pinterest’s Potential Fair Use Argument' by Lian Amaris

'For Pinterest, Revenue Would Turn Copyright Questions Into Problems' by Colleen Taylor
Elopack1 year ago
hank you for this useful tutorial
bajablue2 years ago
Thank you for sharing this information, Lynne. I'm relatively new to Pinterest and I hadn't quite decided what to make of it. You helped clear my head! ;-)
bajablue2 years ago
omgosh... this dress is a work of art!!!
Ibis2 years ago
Hey... I follow you on Pinterest and am happy for the tutorials and inspiration - so thanks :) Just thought someone should to bring to your attention the way links are handled by Pinterest (which I see have affected some of your pins). If you use a link shortener, Pinterest thinks it's a "suspicious" link and won't link to your post. If you post a long link in comments, it will truncate it. It's best to add a complete URL (not shortened one) in the link field and ask people to click through to the image - although most people who've been on Pinterest for a while already know to click. Looking forward to what you'll put up next!
Lynne Bruning (author)  Ibis2 years ago
thanks for the update! Once upon a time bitlys were allowed. I see I have some cleaning up to do. Thanks for letting me know!
Irwan23 years ago
thank you for this useful tutorial, now i know i need to put this code at my download area

Lynne Bruning (author)  Irwan23 years ago
Pinterest is frequently changing - read its TOS for the latest updates.
pooh14853 years ago
It seams like everywhere I turn you are there, But thats a good thing! Just this morning my wife was rumbling off something about Pintrest, and I remembered seeing that word on this site, so I looked it up. And you wrote it, cool!!!! Great Job really good info.
Lynne Bruning (author)  pooh14853 years ago
Thanks. Its a pleasure to be in my studio making, creating and sharing my ideas with you. Stay tuned..... theres more to come.
barbarab3 years ago
It always amazes me that website owners spend tons of money and time to drive traffic to their site, promote their content, and spread their stories and yet they are all terrified that someone might violate their copyright! They ruin their images with watermarks (even those that are so bad no one would WANT to steal them) and think they have a copyright on every individual word they write!

As far as I can see, only the tiniest bit of a site (one photo) is pinned to Pinterest, and each is linked back to the originating site. Nothing appears to violate the fair use provisions of the copyright laws.

If there are any Pinterest users reading this, feel free to go to me site -- www.StageThreeCreations.com -- and pin to your hearts content!!!
Imagine the joys of a professional photographer whose photos are pinned and redistributed without consent, attribution, or compensation. I love it when my stuff gets pinned (unusual uses ftw), but I can absolutely understand why someone might not want to enable massive theft of their work. Not everyone uses their website merely as a call for attention.
Lynne Bruning (author)  wilgubeast3 years ago
Yes indeed - it is all about choices and levels of shared communication.
A few hours ago Printerest was for me something I saw and heard about but had no idea what it actually is and does.

Reading your Instructables I feel almost like a pro - no fuss talk just straight to the core issues thanks to your step-by-step navigation around to murky legal matter.

Love the transparent Gif thing
Lynne Bruning (author)  talk2myshirt3 years ago
Glad you have found the I'ble helpful.
geraldkrug3 years ago
Be very carefull adding third party code to your hard made web pages because there are errors that can creep in when you add third party code, big errors !
Lynne Bruning (author)  geraldkrug3 years ago
its a good point. thanks.
its all a calculated risk....
which reminds me I need to back up all of my sites.

Great article thanks
Lynne Bruning (author)  geraldkrug3 years ago
ugly3 years ago
The new world is all about sharing. It's in the DNA of the youth.
Lynne Bruning (author)  ugly3 years ago
Just as we have a hierarchy of sharing with friends, families and groups on FB,
within circles on g+ and degrees of creative commons licensing -
This instructable provides a hierarchy of sharing options on Pinterest.

Its about providing options so that the user can make choice that suits their specific need.

alisonb3 years ago
Thank you, this is something I was just reading up about recently.