Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thank You, Elizabeth Warren

In Worries Over Copyright Infringement Kept Warren's Senate Campaign Off Pinterest, Sarah Lai Stirland reports:
Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren's 2012 campaign stayed away from the social image-sharing platform Pinterest because the campaign's new media director feared that the platform could be shut down by copyright infringement claims.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pinterest Clones Continue To Propagate

A webmaster forum advertises a program that allows anyone to have their own pinterest clone.

As it turns out, Pinterest's site is easy as pie to code. Everyone is doing it.

====================

Pinterest now has "business accounts." As far as I can tell, the only difference is that you can have a link to your business in your profile. However, once an account holder ceases to be an individual account, and becomes associated with business interest (even a small business), copyright holders might be much bolder with the lawsuits. They may expect to be suing deeper pockets, and fewer excuses.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Removing Content From Loveit.com

Loveit.com does not at this time have an online DMCA complaint form, nor does it have any publicly accessible information available on how to have material removed, and who to lodge a complaint with.

After some sleuthing, below are the email addresses of the people you need to contact at Amazon's cloud service:
neteng-edge@amazon.com
robertke@amazon.com
tysonl@amazon.com
With these, you'll get through.

Now, for formatting:
Hi,

Please remove these images from your servers:
http://xxxxx.cloudfront.net/size_578xH/xxxxx
http://xxxxx.cloudfront.net/size_220xH/xxxxx


And all associated versions that you keep in other sizes.

These images are displayed here:
http://loveit.com/loves/xxxxx

They are from my website:
http://mywebsite.com/mywebpage.html

I state UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY that:

I have a good faith belief that the disputed use of the copyrighted material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law (e.g., as a fair use).

I am the owner, or authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyright or of an exclusive right under the copyright that is allegedly infringed.

This information is accurate.

WRITE in your name
NOTE: I have found so far images are in two formats:
http://xxxxx.cloudfront.net/size_578xH/xxxxx
http://xxxxx.cloudfront.net/size_220xH/xxxxx

Make sure to mention both these formats in your take-down notice.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Required Anti-Pinterest Reading

From photographer Jason M. Hogle:
Thus by promoting and participating in copyright infringement, Pinterest lays claim to the intellectual property of others such that they can make money with it if they so choose, all of which is based on assuming its users have the rights they are transferring to Pinterest when they post content. That is, when they post someone else’s content, which represents the vast majority of the images shown on the site.
READ the whole article

From AMD Law Group:
Although many Pinterest users do not claim to own any of the images that they publish, it is still copyright infringement to not seek permission from the content’s creators. It’s copyright infringement even if you do link back to the original creator’s site or credit them. Unless you seek permission before you share someone else’s image, you violate the right of content holders to exclusively redistribute their material.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pinterest Needs To Educate Its Users.


Please note that any and all images, photos, etc. have a link provided and
I will not be responsible for any copyright infringement.

This kind of comment is of the type that makes copyright owner's blood boil; it is one step beyond "no copyright infringement intended" disclaimer/admission-of-guit with its bold refusal of responsibility. As if the author of the disclaimer was the one in control, rather than the victims of her infringement (it can be called infringement, as the pinner admits not being the owner of the images and does not claim permission).

It must be remembered that this sort of ignorance is common place, if rarely this brazen, and to some extent fostered by Pinterest's recent emphasis on attribution, confirming in their user's minds that a link absolves them of infringement.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I Hate Pinterest MOAR

Flicker:
My photostream is clearly marked all rights reserved, yet my images are still being stolen and posted other places. I HATE Pinterest for that reason.
Just plain hate it.
I hate pinterest.
I hate pinterest.
I hate pinterest.
I hate pinterest.
Never Seen A Blue Sky
I hate Pinterest. I think it’s a horrible platform to use, and the whimsical makes me want to throw up.

Now my teacher is telling me to use it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pinterest Hurting Design Businesses

LINK TO THE FULL STORY
I HATE Pinterest. It has literally killed my organizing business of 8 years. Since that stupid site has emerged, slowly the phone has virtually stopped ringing. Where I once had 3-5 inquiries a day, and 3-4 on-site consultations a week, not to mention projects out the wazoo, everything has come to s screeching halt this year. Pinterest has become the go to for organizing ideas, and let me tell you, talk about REDUNDANT! EVERY single organizing idea seems to be pinned on pages. And it gets worse – those who aren't even professionals are now learning their new found 'career' by studying these photos, and are starting businesses undercutting those of us who have been in the industry for years.

The last two consultations I did, both clients asked if I was on Pinterest because they wanted to show me their 'dream ideas'. So I humored them and look, and think to myself, "Huh, if you see it, why hire me?" And that is exactly what has happened. They did it themselves, and used their appt with me for validation. WHAT THE HE**? Where organizers were called upon to solve problems and introduce ideas to their prospective clients, all I hear about is Pinterest… UGH!

No, Pinterest isn't just affecting bloggers (and I was one many years ago when I had the time to blog) it's also HURTING the design business overall since photos are being lifted off sites and 'pinned', ideas are now appearing on Pinterest that belong to those designers that created them without their permission, the list goes on. For the bored stay-at-home housewife, Pinterest is a goldmine. For those of us who work in the design industry, it's slowly taking the business away… I am considering retiring after all these years because there just isn't enough interest in my services any longer…

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Infringe In Private

Today, Pinterest announced Secret Boards. Now, pinners can infringe in private.

Secret? Not really! You can invite family and friends to share in your secret boards. Who will you not invite? The artists whose work you are infringing upon, of course.
When you add a pin to a secret board, it won’t show up anywhere else on Pinterest—the only place you can see it is on your secret board.
Pinterest. Making it harder and harder for content creators to track down their material, every day.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Facebook's Planned WANT Button Meets Legal Challenge

According to Francine Ward, Attorney, reports:
On October 12th a Michigan based company called CVG-SAB LLC filed suit against Facebook, Inc. for alleged trademark infringement. The company bringing suit is better known by its DBA name, WANT. In short, it connects people with products they like, desire, or already have.

[...]Facebook has not commented on the suit, nor has a trial date been set.
Mmmm. That might just explain why Facebook so suddenly withdrew its new its Pinterest-like feature in the testing phase, before they were rolled out to the general public.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reality Sets In At Etsy

Earlier this year, Creators Against Pinterest published: Etsy Loves Pinterest, featuring the lovestruck ramblings of enthusiastic Etsyans.

Four months later, Estyans are singing a completely different tune. Etsy has fallen out of love with Pinterest.

Some excerpts:
I've tried to look at it from a business perspective and the ROI would be much too low to make it worth while. Time is money, too. Don't forget that. My time is much better spent listing.
Very few sellers admit to getting many views from there, and you're not supposed to self-promote. So yes, you get a few views, and maybe an occasional sale. But is it really worth the time? Not to me.
I get occasional views from it and repins but I mostly like it for my own personal use.
I get some views from Pinterest.
I absolutely love Pinterest, but more for personal entertainment than for sales.
Is it even really a good idea to post your items on pinterest? I vaguely remember reading that when you post something, you're saying you have the rights to it, but you're also giving the rights to pinterest to do with as they please.
I don't know if it's brought me any sales, but it's fun!
There's so much going on in there that it's stopped making sense to spend to much time with it.
Pintrest has never helped me, but I try to help sellers by having a board titled, Favorite Etsy Finds. I have noticed some of them get repinned so sure hope someone is getting sales from it!
Tried it, didn't like it. No method to their madness!
[...] don't think it helps business but I love the site.
These comments are surprising given Pinterest's emphasis on recipes and crafts. One might have a reasonable expectation that the beautiful pictures taken by Etsy sellers, splayed all over Pinterest, would convert into a noticeable amount of conversions to sales. Apparently, it isn't the case.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Help Fill This Page Up!

Splendid. Google has new "transparency reports" that make public the copyright infringement complaints that a website receives THROUGH GOOGLE. We're not talking about filing DMCAs with Pinterest's online tool, but rather, reporting copyrighted content that appear in the Google search engine result pages, to Google itself.

Link: Transparency report for Pinterest


That's all? Copyright owners need to be more diligent
in reporting infringement to Google; it counts.


To report copyright infringement to Google: Removing Content From Google

Hopefully, if copyright owners complain to Google with greater regularity and insistence, Google's hand may be forced to take action against the popular crowdscraper.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hype, Meet Reality


After a peak in traffic in spring 2012, Pinterest has sputtered
despite dropping the invitation-only requirement.



To put things in perspective, Pinterest isn't doing all that much better
than the slowly imploding myspace.



That's right!
An 8% drop in traffic in the past 3 months.


Granted, this data is obscured to some degree by variations in the cat-and-mouse game between Pinterest, and our strange-bedfellow allies, the spammers; but before you buy that e-book from that self-appointed Pinterest guru whose byline is to instill a sense of panic YOU HAVE TO GET IN ON THE PINTEREST ACTION!, remember that Pinterest blows chunks, outside of recipe blogs and home decor brand names.

The hype machine doesn't appear to have run out of gas, yet, but it seems like the pin hags that spent 50 hours a week scraping third-party content to fuel Pinterest's hungry chase for venture capital, may have fallen behind on the laundry, and are too busy catching up folding threadbare socks and faded towels to infringe on pictures of cutesy socks and spiffy towels.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Google Pinterizes Its Image Search


Google Images' thumbnails are now much larger
at a set 180 pixels in height,
as shown in this unscaled screenshot.


I did a Google image search just yesterday. This morning, when I did it again, the array of images jumped at me. They were much, much larger.

They are measured at 180 pixels in height, and the even larger image that hovers over the thumbnail is now a relatively insignificant ~10% larger than the thumbnail itself. After you click to reach the actual website, there is a further intervening image that is near full-size (this is not new). Pin hags now have a choice of 2 large thumbnails hosted on Google, and a third, near full-size image that is hovering over the real one, but hosted by the content creator's website.

Pinterest's unique combination of wanton disregard for the creators whose images its users are feverishly scraping, and unfortunate success, has started a veritable conflagration of imitation that is changing the internet as we know it. And not in a good way. Where once citizen-publishers could turn a profit displaying their own images, there will be nothing but ashes left.

The latest Pinterest imitator is a heartbreaker. Google. It's a heartbreaker because Google is so large. It's not difficult to foresee a competition between search engines for who can display the biggest thumbnails without getting its wrists slapped by the law. Right now, competitor Bing's thumbnails are 75% smaller or less than Google's new supersized thumbnails. But for how long?


Bing Image search thumbnails haven't yet been pinterized.


How the other hand, it's easy to guess what Google might be thinking. Why not render Pinterest image collections even more pointless than they are now, by "improving" Google Image search? The downside is that the unashamed pinning from Google Images (which over-rides a site's nopin metatag, to add insult to injury) will be more rewarding to the pin hags, and that visitors can now spend more time on Google Images and have another reason to avoid visiting the creator's websites.

Pinterest forcing content creators to compete against their own websites was one thing. Now, Google is doing much of the same.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Hate Pinterest (Still)

From Thought and Poetry: Pinterest:
I think the idea of a site which takes an untold amount of hours, and which amounts to nothing more than digital decoration of a nonexistent spaces with things you wish your life had but actually doesn’t have is practically a form of self-mutilation.

[...] why is it so important that we cultivate the beautiful creations of others, instead of learning an art of our own?
From Cyclone Fanatic:
I. HATE. PINTEREST. To the creators of this social network, I'd like to be reimbursed for the hundreds of dollars of crap that my wife has spent on "projects" that she's seen on your website. You can give me money back Pinterest, but you can't reimburse me for valuable time that I've had to waste in humoring her about some of these things.
From eBay Unveils A Pinterest-Inspired Redesign, comment section:
I hate Pinterest, it's boring....can't believe a company got so big by making content boxes not align....hahaha.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Facebook Backs Off on Want It Button

The article: Unpinned: Facebook Shuts Down Test Of Its Pinterest-Style Collections Feature reports that the experimental "Pinterest-like" Facebook gadgets have already vanished from Facebook.

That's too bad, because Facebook's plan was one that shunned copyright infringement, partnering instead with some companies that gave permission before their images were used in the user's "Collections."

The experiment was a flop.

This is interesting because many commercial outlets are trying to get their foot in Pinterest's door and some may be succeeding to some degree, like the Martha Stewart Living Pinterest page. It truly drives the point home that people love to infringe on copyright of artists to fill their image hoards much more than they do commercial images with implied permission.

This reinforces the notion that Pinterest owes its success to the unabashed copyright infringement that it facilitates, and that it probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere without it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Not Cool, The Cool Hunter

The shutting down of The Cool Hunter's Facebook Fan Page has set bloggers' typewriters on fire. The Cool Hunter's is a website whose sphere activity is very similar to Pinterest, minus the social aspect.

the cool hunter
You can still find The Cool Hunter's web page
but you won't find its Facebook Fan Page anymore.


The Cool Hunter puts third-party images together in a lattice, and calls them cool. Their attitude is that if you find your content on The Cool Hunter, and want it removed, they will remove it - just like Pinterest and its 10 million strong no-copyright-infringement-intended army. Both claim the right to infringe to their heart's content, and send content creators on endless goose chases for their images.

Unlike Pinterest, who earns its keep through raising of venture capital, The Cool Hunter monetizes the infringed content in a more conspicuous manner by placing advertisements around it.

The Cool Hunter marketed itself, in part, through a Facebook fan page. This fan page was recently shut down amidst the consternation of its 788,000 members, for cause of REPEATED COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. We're talking sending-a-message to a lot of people, here.

I'll give the author of APhotoEditor's blog the last word. In Facebook Shuts Down Business Fan Page For Repeated Copyright Infringement, the blogger comments:
It makes me wonder if Facebook is showing Pinterest that the proper way to curate is to upload something you own the rights to then enable the sharing.
Damn straight - Facebook is showing Pinterest how it's done.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Crowdsourced Censorship Board


The new censorship flag crowdsources content policing
and will stroke some much needed drama.


Pinterest is not satisfied with being a crowdscraper of third-party content.

Pinterest is now crowdsourcing the censorship of "offensive content" uploaded by its users, to its users.

Pinterest users are not just unpaid scrapers, and a legal shield; they are now Pinterest's censorship board.

Pin Hags can now bitch and moan to Pinterest about the following offenses to their sensitbility:
  • Nudity or Pornography
  • Attacks a group or Individual
  • Graphic Violence
  • Hateful Speech or Symbols
  • Actively promotes self-harm
  • Spam
  • Other

According to PC Mag, and on the plus side, the drama is bound to erupt:
Blocking someone will prevent you and the other person from being able to follow each other's boards, as well as like, repin, or comment on each other's pins.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our Friends The Spammers

Below are some comments from a spammer forum. A lot of the Pinterest accounts may look legitimate on the surface, but many are fronts. In order to perform their spamming feats, these guys have to infringe on copyrights. But on the other hand, they are exploiting pin hags and degrading their infringement experience. It's hard not to feel ambivalent.

Becoming A Pinterest Authority
Im currently attached to a board called "Hawaiian Islands" has around 3,700 Images and 1,200 followers. I have not posted much but it seems to get a lot of attention. Might be worth making you're own board and giving it a trial run to see how things go.
Increase your Pinterest Accounts and boost your traffic and increase sales by yourself.
5000 Pinterest Accounts = 300$
Time Frame = 1 - 3 days
Must Read Last Pinterest Thread
Very interesting will implement this method.................. But how much time it will take to see traffic from pinterest???
Pinterest Journey
I pinned 3,700 odd images by hand in a few days, its very easy Plus i had some time.

PinPioneer is an awesome tool to have. You simply scrap images related to you're keyword and then pin em, all automated other than typing in the keyword you want and the description. I have no pinned anything over 150 images at a time but the owner Rick said the bot can pin 1,000 Images an hour.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

News Round Up

In How I got sucked into Pinterest, author Jennifer Bardsley completely forgets that all the things she "finds on Pinterest" actually come from another website.
I love gleaning ideas from other people on Pinterest to do with my kids at home.
In Will Pinterest dominate Facebook?, author Daniella Rivera berates the personal bickering on Facebook, and fawns over Pinterest. Much to her credit, she presents the other side of the coin:
Baronet believes as the popularity of photo-sharing social media apps and sites increases, some wonder if the photo quality online will be reduced. Baronet says this is possible.

“I do think the pervasiveness of social media does shift people’s expectations about what ‘acceptable photography’ can be,” said Baronet.

Baronet also said photo-sharing sites affect bloggers.

“I’ve been blogging since 2005, and it’s definitely caused me to blog less. I think that would be the impact for many bloggers,” said Baronet.
In Did You Hear The One About The Marketer Who Didn't Use Pinterest?, author Steve Olenski, spews forth some rather uncritical hype about Pinterest - enough to wonder about his journalistic integrity.
“70% (of Pinterest users) said they do so to get inspiration on what to buy.”
In Pinterest Users Can Now Block Users, Report Indecent Content, you can read about some new Pinterest features:
People will be able to block other users, flag certain pins, or report an entire user profile for review
Here comes the drama. Great! This should help pin hags infringe on copyright with less spam irritants, and fewer offending deep cleavage photographs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Want It: Facebook Plans To Steal Pinterest Thunder

Facebook is testing a new new feature called Collections where users mark images and create wishlists of products. Partners thus far include Pottery Barn, Neiman Marcus, Fab.com and Victoria's Secret. The collection look like photo albums.

Currently being tested are "want" and "collect" buttons.

It sounds a lot like Pinterest, if Pinterest had chosen a path more clearly within the law. Facebook's system appears to be opted in by retailers, rather than opted out; Facebook limits users to photos of products selected by retailers. Beyond that, there is surprisingly little to say. The very fact that the default state is OPT IN renders the whole operation kosher, as far as infringement is concerned.

Man Imprisoned For Copyright Infringement

Forty months in prison for Sang Jin Kim, 37, who was distributing videos and movies to the US Korean community for profit.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pinterest Strike System: A Cruel Joke On Copyright Holders

Pinterest's online DMCA take down system now comes with a few options that give the impression that they are more serious about copyright infringement, while in fact making a mockery of the entire process, and grossly misleading copyright owners and their users.

NOW WITH EXTRA STEPS
Before Pinterest implemented this so-called strike system, all associated pins and repins associated with one complaint were routinely deleted as a group. Now, burdening copyright owners with an extra step, Pinterest gives them the option of removing fewer pins! That's right, now instead of removing all pins automatically, copyright owners must highlight, for each infringed image, a radio button to insist that all be removed. In other words, copyright owners must actively over-ride a new default state of only deleting the pin identified in the complaint.


Pinterest's new form has a new default state
of only removing the single pin in the complaint.
An extra step is now required to remove all.


The explanatory pop up windows obstruct the radio buttons unless one's cursor is in the exact small spot on the screen, another small detail that will irritate copyright complainants.

THE STRIKE SYSTEM THAT ISN'T
There was a time where Pinterest would send pinners a lovely letter following a take down notice, along with a copy of the photo that they "lost" for their "record." Let's gloss over the fact that copyright complainants do not get the courtesy of a list of the infringements in their complaints after the same take-down. It is not known if this practice was interrupted, if the letters changed, or what the take-down correspondence was like on the infringer's side prior to the new strike system. What we do know is that copyright holders now have the option of OPTING OUT of the infringer receiving a notification, when the notification was the default state some time in the past.

How does the new system work?

Repins: one letter, and that's it.
When a "strike" is applied against a repin, the infringer receives the letter chronicled here which is not a "strike" at all, but rather, a strongly worded re-assurance to the pinner that they have done nothing wrong: this complaint was not directed at you, or anything you did. There is only one letter for removed repins. Further repin infringements aren't acknowledged at all to the infringer, despite the complainant's application of another "strike."

Original pins: two letters, and that's it.
A. strike 1
When a "strike" is applied against an original pin, the infringer receives a first letter, chronicled here, it contains a re-assurance to encourage further content scraping by the user: ...we believe the overwhelming majority of activity on Pinterest is completely lawful and provides substantial benefits to copyright owners whose material is Pinned, but ends with the promise of consequences: Repeated allegations of infringement may result in the suspension or termination of your account.

B. strike 2
The second "strike" applied against an original pin is a second letter copied here. The wording is less friendly: Further allegations of infringement may result in the suspension or termination of your account[...].

What about "strike 3?" Or "strike 4?" They don't seem to exist at all. The account I created for this experiment is still open and active at the writing of this post, and no further correspondence was received from Pinterest regarding my deliberate infringement.


"the termination of users who acquire multiple 'strikes'"
appears to be a fiction.
As far as I can tell, there is no termination procedure.


The "strike" wording gives the illusion that after an unspecified number of strikes, an account should be penalized. It’s a illusion that makes copyright owners believe that Pinterest is actually doing something against infringement. This is in fact a lie – nothing could be further from the truth. There are no penalties, and no strikes are counted after the first two. Any additional "strikes" are completely ignored, even if they come from different copyright owners.

A huge thank you for the people that participated in the experiment.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Strike Three (A Repin)

"I did nothing wrong" - Pinterest says so.
This is to let you know that we removed one (or more) of your Pins as a result of a copyright complaint. The complaint was not directed against you or your Pin. It was directed against another user who Pinned or re-Pinned the same content from the following address:

(example)

While many copyright owners are happy to have their content Pinned on Pinterest, we recognize that some do not want their content to appear on Pinterest. Where, as here, a copyright owners notify us that they want their content removed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), it is our policy to remove the allegedly infringing Pin, as well as all other Pins that contain the same content if the copyright owners so choses.

Again, this complaint was not directed at you, or anything you did. We just thought you'd like to know why we removed your Pin.

Happy Pinning and thanks again for using Pinterest.

The Pinterest Team

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Strike Two

Interesting! Pinterest sent a different letter for the second strike.
This is to let you know that we removed another one of your Pins as a result of a copyright complaint. The content was Pinned from the following address:

(user uploaded)

This is the second copyright complaint we have received against your account pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). If you believe this Pin was removed in error, or that the copyright owner was mistaken in some respect (e.g. you contend your Pin is not an infringement, or the complaining party does not own the copyrights), you may file a counter notification by following the instructions found here.

If you do not submit a counter notification, we will assume the allegations of infringement are correct, and we will assess a second "strike" against your account. Further allegations of infringement may result in the suspension or termination of your account pursuant to Pinterest's Copyright Policy.

Thanks for your attention,

The Pinterest Team
Sounds like one more strike and I may be out! Underline is mine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Strike One

Mea culpa. I have infringed on the the work of an accomplice to see what happens to infringers after receiving from Pinterest after receiving a STRIKE (a intriguing new option when filing a DMCA take-down notice with yet-unknown consequences). Copyright holders are now asked if they want to administer a STRIKE to the offending pinner. What happens then? Here it is:
This is to let you know that we removed one (or more) of your Pins as a result of a copyright complaint. The content was Pinned from the following address:

(user uploaded)

While we believe the overwhelming majority of activity on Pinterest is completely lawful and provides substantial benefits to copyright owners whose material is Pinned, we also recognize that some copyright owners do not want their content to appear on Pinterest and may believe the presence of their content on Pinterest infringes their copyrights. Where, as here, a copyright owner notifies us of alleged infringement pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), it is our policy to remove the allegedly infringing Pin.

If you believe this Pin was removed in error, or that the copyright owner was mistaken in some respect (e.g. you contend your Pin is not an infringement, or the complaining party does not own the copyrights), you may file a counter notification by following the instructions found here.

If you do not submit a counter notification, we will assume the allegations of infringement are correct, and we will assess a "strike" against your account. Repeated allegations of infringement may result in the suspension or termination of your account pursuant to Pinterest's Copyright Policy.

Thanks for your attention,

The Pinterest Team
Substantial benefits to copyright owners? HA. The arrogance. Completely lawful? This may turn out to be misleading, only the future shall tell. "...may believe the presence of their content on Pinterest infringes their copyrights." I love how Pinterest believes, but copyright owners only MAY believe. How Pinterest, in their opinion is COMPLETELY lawful. The OVERWHELMING majority vs. SOME copyright owners. The so-called SUBSTANTIAL benefits.

We shall see how many strikes are required for the account to be deleted.

Who knew that Pin, Pins, and Pinned were words that are capitalized? Good luck with that. It's still going to be lower-case for me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Picstopin To Picstospam

This post is for giggles.

Picstopin is a website I can only call a spammified Pinterest knockoff. Primarily, it is exploiting Bing's Image Search API to display thumbnails that the search engine Bing would show for some pre-defined search terms, or user-entered search terms. These thumbnails images might be deemed to be fair use in a court of law when diplayed by Bing in the course of a user's search, although they may be considered on the large side. When the same images are exploited by Picstopin through the Bing API, 'fair use' may be compromised - that's the sort of unprofitable legal hair splitting that no one would be expected to drag in front of a judge. It's not surprising that nopin metatags aren't respected, since the source Bing doesn't process them.

These images are arranged in the familiar format popularized by Pinterest, each image decorated by a PIN IT button. That's when the fun begins.

If a user uses the PIN IT button, the image will be credited to the website Gamerboat.com, NOT Picstopin. Gamerboat? What is Gamerboat? I looked up gamerboat.com reviews and found out, ironically, that the web domain I typed in the search query (gamerboat.com) gets obliterated from the search results, and the top result is some random Pinterest page. This demonstrates the negative power of Pinterest links: as they are treated by Google right now, having links on Pinterest is bad for the source website. Here is a screenshot:

That's the first chuckle. In trying to boost the search engine ranking of gamerboat.com via an underhanded linking scheme in Pinterest, Picstopin destroys this ranking, as outlined in this blog's Nasty Linking Practices and Clone Wars.

You can see here: pinterest.com/source/gamerboat.com/ all the images allegedly pinned from gamerboat.com; none of these images actually come from the site.

The second laugh is when a Picstopin user clicks on one of the Bing-provided image thumbnails, they are re-directed to the affiliate website of the day, mediated by Peerfly or Clickbank, for example. In some cases these websites will be denied by your virus blocker, in others, they may have intrusive pop up windows that prevent you from leaving the spam website. You may be enticed to pay for "satellite" service that consists of streams freely available on the internet, entreated to fill out phishing surveys, etc.

Picstopin is just a big old spam/virus delivery system with a honeypot aimed at pin hags. Let's hope the website is a thorn in Pinterest's side, and the hags' sides.

UPDATE: I'm sad to report that Pinterest has flagged Picstopin as a spam site and blocks pinning from it; however, pin hags can still get caught with the PIN IT button as it's coded by the spam-master as belonging to gamerboat.com,

Monday, October 8, 2012

Crowdscraper Is In

Added to the Urban Dictionary:

Crowdscraper
A crowdscraper is a website that makes use of volunteer manpower to scrape content from third party websites under the guise of being a social medium. The volunteers receive digital rewards such as "likes," "followers" or "friends." Crowdscrapers, by nature, promote a culture of unbridled copyright infringement. While they are probably legally protected from infringement claims by the DMCA, their volunteer base isn't and serves as a human legal shield.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pinner Obituaries

It's October already and we've been exploring the conflict between the crowdscraper Pinterest and the content creators who suffer the scraping since May. Today, we're pausing to look at the big picture.

Once a robust tool to support faster and better creative outputs, computers have now devolved into perma-obsolescing digital consumption platforms.

It wasn't so long ago that computers revolutionized how we type, archive, and design; machines were welded to every work desk. Some of us may even remember some warnings about how anyone not proficient with PASCAL or COBOL programming languages would be unemployable. The internet became a repository for volunteered information, a virtual encyclopedia of human knowledge and pursuit.

Would there come a time where there the marginal value of an extra bit of information on the web would approach zero, and we'd just piss time away re-arranging and re-exploiting what is already there and accessible? We would have hoped not.

On the other end of what has become a spectrum, cell phones, after a bout of getting smaller, started to get smarter.

For a while we fumbled and put tiny keyboards on cell phones, but by and large, the tendency is to drop the keyboard. With this trend, written communications reached unprecedented brevity (think: Twitter). Their worth diminished, and the time invested in each communication suffered a similar fate.

Laptop keyboards aren't particularly ergonomic, and don't get much love. The touchscreen tablet was born.

Technology has progressed in a way that has led us down the path of least resistance. Instead of using computers to create, build, and transform, our hands firmly on the mouse and the keyboard, we are now consuming farmvilles, images, illegal music downloads, youtube pratfalls and social rewards such as likes and followers. It must be depressing for microprocessors these days. Like The Hitchhiker's Guide robot Marvin, brain the size of a planet, reduced to performing menial tasks like fetching meek, cooperating ship intruders.

This is where Pinterest fits in. Scroll with your index, press the pinmarklet, and you've scraped content for Big Brother. You moved some electrons, re-arranged some zeros and ones off a big server somewhere, and completely wasted your time. Each like represents one unit of someone acknowledging your existence from the anonymous time-wasting masses, and the illusion that you're doing something worthwhile. It's an illusion. Pinning is doing nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Someday, when the pinners from the Pinner Hall of Shame are laying in their coffins, the survivors will say, in their obituraries: "she pinned a lot of pictures on the internet." And the kids will laugh, because there may be no internet left to speak of, abandoned the same way computer punch cards once were. "What's the internet, mom? Is it what you used before we switched to the stratocube?"

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pinterest's SEO Pays Off, Infringees Suffer

pinterest seo
As predicted, Pinterest pages are now rising above
the original content in SERPs.


Photographer Mark Tisdale, in his article Search Engines Should Reward Original Works reports:
What I couldn’t help noticing as I worked my way through the results, my photo hosted on my site was the dead last that Google showed in its results. [...]it would ameliorate the cause for concern for a great many visual artists who feel they have to police the internet because of sites like Pinterest and the many clones that have sprung up over night. There’s no white washing for theft, particularly theft for profit, but at least those other copies shouldn’t dilute the brand of the content creator.
Meanwhile, on Webmasterworld, a webmaster laments:
My site is retail so our products end up all over these types of sites (pinterest, kaboodle, wanelo, etc.) only this year we've been noticing that these sites are outranking us for our own products and descriptions we wrote ourselves. Not sure if this is a widespread problem that everyone is seeing or if this is an indication of a problem with our site.

I just don't understand how another site can outrank us.
Another has this to say:
I'm seeing this too. The problem is that it creates an extra step between you and your potential customer. Getting outranked with your own descriptions and creating an extra gap between you and customers will not improve business. More and more online retailers are posting their products on such sites but might be in for an unpleasant surprise when those pages outrank the original.
We have warned our readers, in both Clone Wars and Nasty Linking Practices, of the danger that our original content be buried under the weight of duplicated images from crowdscrapers. The posts received a lot of attention from private "pro member" forums from Zazzle, to which I have no access. I understand that much of that attention was critical and skeptical.

Creators Against Pinterest's prediction is being borne out by results. The prophecy has been fulfilled.

It was, unfortunately, quite easy to see that one coming for anyone with enough experience and accurate knowledge of how search engines rank websites. Many people don't really bother peeking under the hood - they are the ones that will get burned by their excitement of a few extra visitors from Pinterest, failing to realize their net traffic is dropping quite possibly because of Pinterest.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

ShopInterest.co

ShopInterest.Co is a new Pinterest clone startup. The variety of ways webmasters try to hitch their wagons to the Pinterest horse is comedy gold.

Here's how it works. I pin stuff on Pinterest. Then I sign up with ShopInterest.Co, who will upload any pin or pinboard to its own set of servers. I add price tags to my pins, et voilĂ ! ShopInterest.Co has made a copy of my pinboards, except that I can now sell what I have pinned. I plug my state tax rate, connect with my PayPal account, and when someone wants to buy whatever is pinned, I ship it.


...our user base expressed an interest is leveraging Pinterest for selling, and shared with us that there was a lot of duplicative work between selling via Etsy, Ebay and posting in Pinterest
These geniuses have probably heard a lot of uncritical Pinterest hype from the self-appointed Pinterest marketing gurus, but it appears that they haven't bothered to check out Pinterest with their own eyes.

How does a pinboard full of images taken without permission, representing objects pinners can't afford, translates into something the pin hags have the power to sell? Remember, Pinterest frowns upon self-promotion, so how can pinners package and ship other people's things... especially when most of these things are just pretty pictures of objects that aren't for sale?
..it’s not about building a traditional online store – it’s about turning your Pinterest board into a store.
Good luck with that.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Register Your Work!

In What All Artists And Photographers Should Know About Copyright Law, Kalliope Amorphous encourages artists to regsiter their work, and generously adds some useful instructions.
A lot of photographers are immediately intimidated by the thought of registering their work, because for some reason there is a misconception that it is difficult and expensive to do. I used to think the same thing. Actually, registering your work is no more difficult than uploading your work to a photo sharing site.
Do it!

Friday, September 28, 2012

I Will Crowdscrape



I Will Crowdscrape

Pinterest, I love you
You give me many likes
You give me followers
From lawsuits, I shield you
I'll bite the legal bullet
And run the gauntlet

Pinterest, I love you
You line up pictures
You host my folders
From artists, I steal for you
Master, are you pleased?
I serve, so you be enriched.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kudos To Ebay

setify
Look! No huge infringement potential!


Still only in beta and by invitation only, Ebay presents Setify, an image collection platform that is not based on copyright infringement - yes it can be done.

At this time, Setify is restricted to rare comics and coins. You can tag "items you own, or want to add to your collection." There is a social component: "Show off your collection to your friends in the eBay community."

Most artists will be happy not to have to add a "i-cant-get-no-setifytion" meta tag.

There always have been ways to share images without copyright infringement. Too bad Pinterest chose such an unfortunate business model.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Soon, The Dough Will Roll In

Tim Peterson, in Pinterest's Money Play Could Hinge on Its Meme-Laden Data Social - site rounding up its options, reports that:
Last week Pinterest met with ad tracking and attribution firm Convertro to discuss available monetization opportunities.
The day Pinterest monetizes that scraped third party content will be a game changer.

From the perspective of the volunteer scrapers the sight of advertisement, regardless of the form it takes, Pinterest's "share" motto will be tainted by the "profit" imperative.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Crowds

A guest post by M. Sara 23/09/12
Men the most unlike in the matter of their intelligence possess instincts, passions, and feelings that are very similar. In the case of every thing that belongs to the realm of sentiment— religion, politics, morality, the affections and antipathies, &c. — the most eminent men seldom surpass the standard of the most ordinary individuals.From the intellectual point of view an abyss may exist between a great mathematician and his boot maker, but from the point of view of character the difference is most often slight or non-existent.It is precisely these general qualities of character, governed by forces of which we are unconscious, and possessed by the majority of the normal individuals of a race in much the same degree — it is precisely these qualities,I say, that in crowds become common property.

In the collective mind the intellectual aptitudes of the individuals, and in consequence their individuality,are weakened. The heterogeneous is swamped by the homogeneous, and the unconscious qualities obtain the upper hand.

from ‘The Crowd’ - Gustave Le Bon 1896



Not so long ago (2003), before the advent of smart phones in every pocket and ipads and the “monetization” of the www do you remember the early flash mobs very fun. Then the primary means of connecting and informing people of an event was email. Facebook and Twitter and all the other social networks fill in for smaller reach of email and can have more more serious consequences than a bunch of happy people dancing in the mall. Revolutions, riots and Coca Cola all now use the technology available along with the mob meme to get insurgents to the right place at the right time and to advertize to the consumer.

The biggest problem for Google before they had photo mapped the world, sent their own photographers out to photograph businesses and encouraged people to write their own map pages and the customers to write the reviews was content. In the beginning they outsourced to companies like Menulog.com who used scrapping software and search robots to download entire websites of restaurants to their servers then used the images and menus in their templates. These scrapping services would then feed the information and any updates straight to Google a couple of times a week and Google would use the information to populate their map info pages. The scrapping service would in most cases always be at the top of any Google search results unless the business had very good SEO. The scrapping company would also blackmail the business owner into becoming a “member” so you could update your menus etc for a price per month on their site when you had a perfectly valid website of your own that had been stolen by them. This model has changed and Menulog.com now operates as a delivery service but when it was scrapping it made a fortune for someone probably quite a few people.

The statistics of the Crowd are interesting 2.3 billion people use the internet that is ⅓ of the world population of that third 62% use social media - that is a lot of content. Instead of using code written by a few extra clever people and implemented on site why not use 2.3 billion individuals to skim their own viewed content for free. Same general model but far more effective using the processing power of all those personal smart phones laptops and desktops. Pinterest has over 4 million daily unique visitors one assumes a fair percentage are pinning.

This is a map of one days April 1, 2011 uploads to Flickr [April 1, 2011] by geographic location

It is worth a closer look

Millions of individuals choosing the 'fashions' you will notice the sameness of what is pinned .. it is about fashion and fashion is advertising and that is merchandising. Selling Coca-Cola [ the biggest individual item sold in Australian Supermarkets and it is basically sugar, water and chemicals] works on fashion as well and if millions are choosing then it will be the average that is a mathematical and psychological certainty. The pinning is the flip side of trolling... finding a space in the internet's neural network to gain a psychological validation and about as useful as trolling. Imagine the world map under this map and you can see the how the www connects:
The neural networks in the human brain


When a brain is attached to the overall internet network by a personal device and then interacts via a portal of some kind , a search engine, a blogging program, facebook etc thei ruploaded content fills the spaces between the ads, it is the audience to the content that is providing the revenue to the “owners” of the portal by buying or by receiving advertizing. It would be a mistake to simply consider them “sites” as they do their best to be end destinations that is that all the sharing buttons are about, keeping you within their revenue stream you can share your connection to another portal but will hopefully continue to be corralled on whatever part of the www you might spend or earn the money. What you have is a collective mind,the entire network could be seen as a machine , if you look back to the quote I began with, this snippet: “In the collective mind the intellectual aptitudes of the individuals, and in consequence their individuality, are weakened.” in the case of the collective www sharing mind I suspect that respect for the individual idea or concept is subsumed by the amount of senseless interaction that is made to look like an exchange of knowledge, therefore worthwhile - comments, sharing buttons, competitions, strange games about farms or scrabble with friends but is really about keeping bums on seats.All that is not to say that there are not many nooks and crannies of the internet that don’t use this economic model many people still use the usenet rather than face book or twitter [Google groups has an archive 700 million Usenet postings from a period of more than 20 years - so as not to miss advertizing to that crowd] the open source community is active in many areas and there are blogs that are not a part of the machine collective consciousness. The number of people playing in the shadows is dwarfed however by the social media users.

Does any of it matter? Creative individual expression has always been subjugated by the mob . The collective unconscious has always frowned on difference and without the crowd there is no need for counter culture or the underground. Knowledge is power, information without knowledge is entertainment … controlling the collective consciousness and offloading the responsibility to the individuals within the crowd via terms of service is money for nothing, and your content for free. It does matter but in the end the user gets to choose how they approach the paradigm if they are smart enough to understand the psychology and depending on their ethics ignore it , use it or subvert it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Zero Tolerance For Desperate Hipsters


My Hipsters screenshot has Hitler with headphones.
Probably not the best of omens.


Hipsters.com is just another unabashed Pinterest knockoff that's been foistered on the internet by parasite Sumon Rahman who has purchased one of the many "Pinterest-In-A-Can" programs available and installed it on a server. The knockoff even has red pin icons, and the "organize and share things you love" motto. The funny thing about this one is that Mr. Rahman created a Hipster.com page on Wikipedia, that was promptly deleted by the Wikipedians, who are not known to take guff from self-marketers.

Crowdsourced content scraping could have been invented 15 years ago, but it wasn't. Back then, webmasters had respect for copyright. Probably not because of some knowledge of the law, but rather, basic human decency. Whatever scraping activity there was, it was never conceived as legitimate, possibly not even by those that perpetrated it.

It took someone like Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann, who is, in my opinion, an extraordinarily amoral, unscrupulous and shameless individual to breach through this culture of human decency and blaze the trail for his Cult of Image Copyright Infringement. His hideous contribution to the web is crowdsourced scraping.

And this is the reason why I have introduced you to yet another Pinterest clone. To drive the point home that some artists may be resigned to Pinterest's existence, stoically taking another hit to their ability to make a living, shrugging it off and moving on, letting themselves be mollified with nopin metatags, contented with a nofollow link and attribution, deluding themselves with the hope that Pinterest can be used as a promotion tool: these artists fail to see into the future. A future where not ONE successful copyright infringement platform need be contended with, but hundreds and hundreds; some even worse than Pinterest like Spark, that scrapes both images and text at once.

There must be zero tolerance for crowdsourced scrapers. There is no room for reluctant "I guess it's OK if..." - there ought to be no "ifs." Zero tolerance.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

PhotoPin: Finally, A Sensible Idea

PhotoPin is an image search tool limited to Creative Commons images.

photopin
There's no excuse not to mine the Creative Commons

We need to spread the word out on this one!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Crowdscraping

Why are we referring to Pinterest as a crowdscraper?

"Scrapers" were once considered the #1 scourge of the internet. Automated scripts would crawl the web for topical content and images from third party websites, collage it together without sense or logic, slap ads on it, and voilĂ ! A mish-mash website is created, honed with automated search engine optimization trickery, and acts like a honey pot to draw search engine traffic and befuddled visitors, who hopefully will befuddledly click on the advertisements. Most of the time, visitors walked away at the first sight of the bizarre, keyword-stuffed, content-less gibberish that made scrapers instantly recognizable.

Search engineers would work hard to weed out this nuisance out of their result pages. They hired linguistics experts to find ways to distinguish normal syntax from robot word salad.

They also strove to ferret out duplicate content, and set out to find ways to distinguish the copiers from the originators.

The ever-inventive scrapers responded by hiring English-speaking "writers" from the third world with no actual understanding of the topic beyond some ability to concoct stock, sensical sentences such as: "Everyone loves dolphins. Dolphins are important to the world. Without dolphins, there would be no dolphins, etc."

Welcome to the next generation of content scraping: crowdscraping.

There is no doubt that Pinterest is a content scraper.
  • Nearly all its content is directly taken from other websites.
  • Stolen content is collaged and re-organized.
  • No original content anywhere.
  • Sophisticated search engine optimization techniques geared towards massive traffic draw to itself (giving no credit to the links to the original websites with nofollow attributes).
Instead of bots, or third-world manpower requiring salaries, Pinterest has enlisted volunteer scrapers. These volunteers serve two key purposes: (1) scrape content for Pinterest and (2) act as a legal human shield, taking the hit of C&D demands for damages while Pinterest has made itself legally untouchable via its TOU.

The volunteers' reward? Completely meaningless "Likes," "Repins" and "Followers" from complete strangers, which are like catnip to the social animals that we are.

Yet, Pinterest barely qualifies as a social medium. Most social media, even those that are plagued by a fair amount of infringement, have the merit of having been designed as a means of original self-expression. Despite Pinterest's marketing claims that the pictures we like or the images of things we would buy if we had the money are "self-expression," they are in fact the expressions of others.

OTHER PEOPLE'S STUFF ≠ WHO I AM


We can only hope that this will dawn on pinners, that Google will penalize the practice, and that crowdscraping will be but a passing fad.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Copyright Infringement Sweepstakes!

A forum devoted to online sweepstakes has users lamenting:
A while back I won a Pinterest contest for $1000 gift card from a major retailer. The first place winner won $5000. She clearly violated copyright by repinning google images. After the winnings were distributed, I let the retailer know. I pretty much got an, oh well, the choices were made.
What a new interesting way to make money infringing on people's copyrights! Sweepstakes... who would have guessed?

The entire thread can be found here.

LINK to Wal-Mart's PIN & WIN Contest

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We Will All Fall Unless We Stand United



Artists allowing Pinterest to scrape their content looks like a personal decision. On some levels, it is; an artist can evaluate how much referral traffic they are receiving from Pinterest relative to the number of infringements they allow, and decide whether that's worth losing control over the distribution of their images and websites everywhere hotlinking these pictures with links back to Pinterest.

One useful metric is the monthly referral rate per infringement. Suppose the following data:

1000 images pinned.
10 referrals from Pinterest per month.

In this simple example, referral rate is 1% per month, or 0.01 monthly visitor per infringed image. In other words, the content creator must allow 100 units of infringement in order to gain one extra visitor per month.

That takes care of the personal decision aspect.

Another important consideration is a collective one. Should the community of content creators, as a whole, embrace Pinterest?
  • If people are looking for your content as text, or images, they have search engines at their disposal and they should find you directly, not with Pinterest as an intermediary.
  • You are competing with Pinterest for a most valuable resource, visitors. Visitors can be expressed as the total number of time people spend engaged on the internet. This is a finite resource. The more visitors are engaged on Pinterest, because the content is there, the less motivated they are to find you with search engines, or even follow a link to your site from Pinterest. The more content we let Pinterest get away with, the fewer visitors ALL CONTENT CREATORS will have to share, with Pinterest getting, by far, the largest chunk of the pie.
  • Some years ago, a webmaster could create a craft website, work on it for some years, and expect a reasonable amount of success and rank in search engine pages. They were then competing against other content creators with similar resources. Now, a webmaster wishing to launch a craft website needs to compete not with his/her peers, but with Pinterest, a place where everyone's best work is now aggregated. Success stories are expected to be extremely rare in such an environment.
  • If enough content creators say "yes" to Pinterest, all of them will lose out in the short term, and more devastatingly in the long term. This is a heavy price to pay for an illusory trickle of traffic.
In Pinteresting or not? A look at #Pinterest, Rob O'Hara observes:
If it sticks around long enough, I can see Pinterest taking a slice out of the blogosphere — specifically, blogs that are set up for the sole purpose of sharing pictures. Why manage an entire website for pictures when you can just point picture to your Pinterest collection?
You don't need a crystal ball to see that one coming.

We can do our share to stop it. We can stand united against Pinterest, and contribute to keeping the internet an environment where citizen-publishers can make a living without being robbed by crowdsourced scrapers like Pinterest - like it's meant to be.
  • BOYCOTT pin buttons.
  • EDUCATE fellow artists wherever opportunity arises.
  • REMOVE all our pinned content via DMCA notices.
Thank you!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pinterest Comparative Traffic Data

According Google Trends,
reports that Pinterest is closing in on Facebook
appear to be a monumental exaggeration.

If you can't see the blue line in the graph above that represents Pinterest, you may have to squint. The blue hugs the ZERO value on the x-axis.


Google Trends does confirm that some recipe blogs are receiving proportionally important referrals from Pinterest

The recipe blogs/websites above appear to receive as much referral traffic from Pinterest as they from Facebook, despite Pinterest's much tinier presence on the internet.

Pinterest may be a boon for recipe blogs, but it's becoming clear that it's a bust for everything else.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Artist, Educate Yourself

Some blogger operating under the name "Girly Underwear" and referring to herself as a photographer has some great lessons to teach us all in her post How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Pinterest. Let's take a look at the best bits.

As someone who takes photos for a living, I don’t see Pinterest as a threat against my work. I am only concerned about two things: people taking credit for my work, and people making money off of my work.
Like the majority of people who are working tirelessly to fill Pinterest's servers with infringing third party content, and paid only in "likes" and "followers," our intrepid photographer needs a few rounds with a clue bat. She keeps confusing plagiarism (people taking credit for my work) with copyright infringement (people displaying things on various media platforms without permission of the creator), and fails to grasp that a financial motive is not a prerequisite for actionable infringement.
Should I have to pay for every photo that I enjoy looking at on the internet? That’s like saying anyone who heard “Call Me Maybe” on the radio should pay the artist.
If creatives harbor such gross misconceptions, is there any hope for the public at large to understand the rights of artists to make a living from their creative output, based on their ability to control its distribution, display, and mediatization? I'd venture to say that most people know that the radio stations pay royalties to broadcast "Call Me Maybe." I bet that even more people know that Pinterest doesn't pay a cent of royalties to the creators of the images it re-broadcasts without permission.
Keeping a virtual closet of products that I will never be able to afford is enough retail therapy for me, it makes me feel like I already own them.
This comment is a direct reminder of an earlier post, here on Creators Against Pinterest: An Image Is Worth More Than The Object It Represents. That simple admission reveals a much deeper truth, which is that, on the internet, images themselves are a commodity. Some content providers make more money from displaying the photographs of their art/craft than selling the actual product. Images are valuable. Images make money. Images make money without being licensed, without being printed. They make money from being displayed on the popular media that is the internet. Our blogger knows how much an image is worth: more than the object it represents. Yet, she fails to grasp the money concept, which is the transfer of "image wealth" from their creators in the the greedy hands of Pinterest through the tireless hoarding of its users.
My suggestion to photographers who do not want their photos passed around on the internet? Don’t put it there.
How often have we read this argument? If you don't want your purse to be snatched, keep it home. If you don't want your car radio stolen, take it with you every time you leave the car. If you don't want your home to be burgled, board your windows with plywood.
Consequently, I could see myself pinning (or infringing!) lots of photos but a landscape photographer will have a tough time selling me one of his prints [...]
It's very difficult for people to understand how very few of us make money from prints. It's not about the prints. It was never about the prints.

If we hope to educate the public to respect copyrights, we need to educate each other, first.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pinterestist - A Hall of Mirrors

Infringing on infringed content of the copyright infringing platforms...
Enough to make anyone dizzy.


Pinterest clones and wannabes are sprouting like a plague of venomous mushrooms. The latest, "Pinterestist" at pinteresti.st adds an extra layer of frosting on the copyright infringement cupcake.
Pinteresti.st is a Pinterest-like staggered column layout Web site exclusively featuring screenshots of Pinterest-like staggered column layout Web sites. If you know of one I’ve missed, please submit the url or a screenshot. your chief pinterestist, r0b
And now we have screenshots of pages of infringed content.


It's doubtful that such a ridiculous concept will catch on and find adherents - it merely illustrates the desperation and the "creativity" displayed by all the small-time internet parasites out there hoping to cash in on Pinterest's popularity.

The only real "innovation" that Pinterest can be credited for is spearheading a mass culture of image copyright infringement. They sit back, with their skeleton crew and legal wranglers, merely providing a platform for users to scrape other people's content for them to exploit to raise venture capital at the moment, and some day, for profit. They sit back, their users a human shield against the copyright infringement lawsuit they so richly deserve.

If allowed to continue, Pinterest's true legacy to the internet will be to break its spirit of individual/expert contribution by eroding these contributors' ability to make a living out of their own work.

Meanwhile, every penny-pirate wants to emulate this great model of "stealing" other people's work by proxy, and without risk of legal action. Welcome to the most recent addition to the list, Pinterestist.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pinterest Deflates Again

...all of that hype never seems to fully drown out the hum of online merchants telling us that, despite the hours and hours of time they spend on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest [...] marketing their sales, the returns are negligible.
When content providers decide to compromise their copyright by allowing their content on Pinterest, or even posting it themselves, they do so with the expectation of some measure of promotion of their product or website, or better yet, sales.

Pooling data from 5 anomymous online marketplaces, David Steiner, writing for EcommerceBytes reveals dismal referral traffic from Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

The much-hyped "Pinterest high conversion rate" suffers a devastating blow:
Twitter had only a quarter of Pinterest's traffic, the quality and conversion rate was about double that of Pinterest
CornerstoneConsultingInc reports that:
...according to Bloomberg, the data found that Pinterest facilitates buying, but only to a relatively unimpressive extent. An average Pinterest purchase came out to $.75 as contrasted against $2.08 per order from Facebook referrals and $33.66 from Twitter.
In view of these statistics, coupled with the standard NOFOLLOW attribute link scheme of most of the crowdsourced scrapers, there is very little to gain by allowing Pinterest to re-distribute your content, and possibly more to lose in the long run as you lose sight of where your intellectual property ends up.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tag'N'Grab On The Young And The Restless


Is Y&R glorifying copyright infringement?
That would provide a poor example to its viewers


The CBS daytime soap opera The Young and The Restless has some its characters launching a website that they call Tag'N'Grab. The users of that fictional website are taggers. From what I gather, without watching the show, is that it's some sort of crowdsourced scraper, and that at one time, baby-related items were "tagged and grabbed" within some storyline.

This fictional website sounds like a version of Pinterest.

To feature it on a television program glorifies copyright infringement, and desensitizes the public to its harmful effects on the creative community. I would prefer if the writers of The Young and The Restless, who, being themselves writers vulnerable to infringement, would instead educate their viewership that you can't TAG or GRAB everything on the internet without putting yourself at risk for a very expensive lawsuit.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sue Me, Please - Yes, I'll Oblige If I Can

Why would anyone complain about copyright infringement for linking to them? The world has gone mad. Which I guess I knew already.



This taunting image has been pinned repeatedly, with the following comment: Poking the beehive. With all the talk about copyright infringements and #Pinterest, I'm still #Pinning. Sue me.

If you ever come to the point of suing pinners, these pinners, who have pinned or repinned this "sue me" taunt, should be on everyone's remorse-free priority lawsuit list:
PIN URLPinner
http://pinterest.com/pin/16958936066750546/ Noland Hoshino (2764 pins)
http://pinterest.com/pin/186055028325717760/ Beth Kanter (932 pins)
http://pinterest.com/pin/5699936999464640/ Angela Dixon Cook
http://pinterest.com/pin/3377768440549567/ Cincy Wexler
http://pinterest.com/pin/144467100517692823/ Leah Albanese (2336 pins)
http://pinterest.com/pin/179792210094658852/ Julia Lentz (1144 pins)
http://pinterest.com/pin/163677767677225360/ Ifdy Perez
http://pinterest.com/pin/27092035228402851/ Julie Lubinsky
http://pinterest.com/pin/135671007494724807/ Bobby Nicolescu (2100 pins)
http://pinterest.com/pin/94083079685678084/ Claire Wagner
http://pinterest.com/pin/203154633160893271/ Non-Profit Organizations
http://pinterest.com/pin/87820261453835136/ JM Villero
http://pinterest.com/pin/144185625540025017/ Pontus Westerberg
http://pinterest.com/pin/183662491023650854/ Megan Southall
http://pinterest.com/pin/100134791684887060/ Kathy Catino (22,479 pins)
http://pinterest.com/pin/44824958761611519/ Marcin Wec (859 pins)
http://pinterest.com/pin/227854062367374982/ Keren Lerner (2336 pins)
http://pinterest.com/pin/224757837623553715/ Gabrielle Laine-Peters (925 pins)
http://pinterest.com/pin/268104984036830352/ Faith Ruggiero (5207 pins)
http://pinterest.com/pin/80994493268595475/ Jack Varnell (2649 pins)
http://pinterest.com/pin/4925880812399578/ Christy Aleckson


Some want to infringe and asking nicely not to be sued.

Here I credited the source, don't sue me.
henrybuilt, uncrate, don't sue me for copyright infringement.


I'm confusing crediting the source with infringement.
I'm just like you, a novel. Complicated, hidden long story that shed tears and cheers itself.❞ ---Yousef Al-Shereida / To avoid copyright infringement, I don't take credit for my displayed images

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When The Hard Way Is The Only Way To Learn

Kathy DalPra, a bridal blogger, has learned about the dangers of copyright infringement the hard way and dodged a bullet. She received a cease and desist letter accompanied with a demand for no less than $30,000 in damages. Lucky for her, she was able to clear out a misunderstanding to show that she in fact did have the photographer's permission.

This illustrates the necessity of legal consequences to educate the public with regards to copyright infringement. The pervasive culture is that it is a consequence-less crime; until, that is, consequences do materialize.
If someone that I actually DID get permission from to use her images wanted to sue me or the publication I posted them in, can you imagine how someone might react if I didn't have their permission?
Then a lesson is learned. Never before, unfortunately.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reporting To Google

DMCA notices have become a familiar routine for many content creators.

However effective, these notices have no teeth and remove all incentives for the offender to monitor its content.

With Google recent announcement that it will penalize websites receiving abundant copyright complaints, we now have a tool that allow us to mete out a modicum of well-deserved punishment to sites like Pinterest.

The first requirement is that your infringed image show up in a Google search. This can be quite easy once you have located your work to then search it with Google with some accurate keywords, or even URL identifiers.

The second requirement is that you do not have the content removed from Pinterest by way of DMCA until after your Google complaint is processed. Be patient, they are not fast.

The Google Complaint Form is here. Bookmark it!

You can lodge a complaint when your infringed content is linked by Google through its web search, or image search. This means that you are able to legitimately use the complaint tool when entering an image URL in the search box. You can also use the site command in the search query box in this format: site:pinterest.com mywebsite.com or site:pinterest.com My Name.

Your efforts should result in some unknown amount of downgrading of Pinterest's importance in search results.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ehow's Spark; Undetectable, Unstoppable.


Meet the deadliest, stealthiest crowdsourced content scraper yet;
Ehow.com's Spark.


"Pinnablebusiness.com" - a website devoted to uncritical fawning over Pinterest - warns us all about the evil new crowdsourced content scraper at ehow.com called Spark.

The author gushes about Pinterest to an extent that even the negatives are spun into tiny silver linings.
When Pinterest outranks you for your own content, it can be a good thing if you would otherwise not rank on page one or two of search engine results for a particular search phrase.
I recommend reading of the whole article if only to chuckle at the contradictions of Pinterest=good and Spark=bad for doing the same thing.

The author is right in that this new entity makes Pinterest look like a children's choir. Ehow's Spark is entering the content scraping field like a nuclear pirate ship sailing into a koi pond. Isn't this quote from their TOS positively terrifying?
...you hereby grant eHow a worldwide, royalty-free, freely transferable, freely sublicensable (through unlimited levels of sublicense), non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, transmit, distribute, publicly perform and display (including in each case by means of a digital audio transmission), and create derivative works of the User Generated Content, in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed. You also hereby waive any moral rights you may have in such User Generated Content under the laws of any jurisdiction. You hereby appoint us as your agent with full power to enter into and execute any document and/or do any act we may consider appropriate to confirm the grant of rights, consents, agreements, assignments and waivers set forth in these Terms. You agree that we may (but are not obligated to) display your User Generated Content, and your user name or your actual name (according to the preferences you select at the time that you register) along with your User Generated Content.
Waiving moral rights? MORAL RIGHTS? And user-generated content? No... this is scraped third-party content, let's call a spade a spade. Ironically, ehow is particularly protective of "its" content:
Site on your computer for your own personal, noncommercial purposes. eHow reserves all other rights in the content on the Site, on its own behalf and the behalf of its licensors (including contributors), and eHow does not, directly or by implication, by estoppel or otherwise, grant any other rights or licenses to you under these Terms. Except as expressly stated in this paragraph, you may not reproduce, distribute, modify, publicly perform or display, or prepare derivative works of any content on the Site without prior written consent from eHow or the third-party owner of the rights in that User Generated Content (if any).
You can find further horifying details from Ehow's Terms and Conditions here.

And now from some obligatory cutesy lingo: Spark users aren't pinning; they aren't loving; they are clipping.

Scraping from Google Images is expressly encouraged.
Looking for inspiration?
Search Google Images
Spark's links are straight up, worthless nofollow links.

For maximum intrusion of your privacy, users can only login with Facebook or Google. The Spark people aren't playing; this is business.

All that infringed content is kitted up with a convenient PIN IT button to help the infringement spread like wildfire.

Their "pinmarklet" is a very, very special copyright infringement tool. Raise your glass to real innovation; it grabs the text, too, and the text's formatting. Crowdsourced copyright infringement without the boundaries.

On the go? Ehow's Spark wasted no time providing the volunteer content scrapers a mobile app:


Lo and behold, we do have yet another proprietary blocking tag to add to our collection in our ever swelling header field:

<meta name="ehow" content="noclip" />

In order to test how to best block Spark sitewide with .htaccess (image substitution is so much fun!), I have compromised my privacy and created a test account with Spark. I "clipped" images from my own websites, and examined my logs. It is with great alarm and astonishment that I must report ehow.com's Spark to be UNDETECTABLE, and therefore UNSTOPPABLE by any means other than their arrogant opt-out meta-tag. They might be accessing the images from what is already uploaded to the user's browser, rather than from the creator's website servers.

The worst one yet. And still... the very worst has probably yet to come.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pinterest's Hype Bubble Is Deflated

Charlie Warzel reports in Buzzfeed (Reddit generates huge referral traffic while Pinterest falls flat.) some facts that match what many have observed in their web logs: the hype about how links to your website on Pinterest will result in a welcome deluge of traffic is, well, just hype.
At Pinterest's peak in April 2012, the photo-centric social site was churning out nearly 400,000 social referrals. In July, Pinterest served up only 114,000 referrals (virtually unchanged from 110,000 in June), illustrating that for many publishers, Pinterest may be more of a social gimmick than anything else.
Compared to the 3.1 million referrals Reddit.com brought in July, Pinterest's peak of 114,000 referrals is positively anemic, and barely registering. This is hardly surprising since the audience for mindless columns of image thumbnails are hardly expected to want to dwell deeper, especially into daunting walls of text.

According to Josh Sternberg in Is Pinterest of Interest to Publishers, online magazine publishers report that in terms of traffic referrals, Pinterest is a dud. The print/online magazine The Atlantic doesn’t see much traffic coming from Pinterest. “Pinterest is not an effective referral tool for us,” said the magazine's Scott Havens. Pinterest isn't even in the top 50 of its referrers.

Right now, the internet is teeming with articles praising Pinterest's referral traffic potential, preaching that every business should consecrate much precious time posting images, cultivating followers, interacting with pinners, following them, etc., not to miss out on Pinterest's much touted referral traffic miracle.

Like untruths sparked by wishful thinking and set afire by self-styled Pinterest gurus striving to sell e-books and a name for themselves, this one will soon be a handful of ashes in the wind.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Unrequited Love At Loveit.com



Pinterest is little more than a dumb platform based on crowdsourcing the scraping of visual content without having to pay anyone a cent, except perhaps a handful of lightweight programmers and high-power attorneys; it was simply a matter of time for other crowdsourcing content scraping thieves to start to elbow it for a piece of the action. Pinterest, for a time, was ahead of the game by providing a central display of third-party image content, which was until then scattered on the creators' websites. With many viable competitors now entering the arena, the visual content is now trending back to its original scattered state, only on image scrapers rather than the creators' own websites. Yes, this is ironic.

Launched in mid-May 2012, Loveit.com is such a viable competitor. It outshines Pinterest in terms of sheer arrogance.

Mashable quoted LoveIt’s CEO Ron Lapierre:
We clearly call out in our Terms of Service that the content you bring into LoveIt is yours…We don’t claim any ownership of the content and you’re more than welcome to move it or share it on any other site you choose.
Yeah, right. Just like Pinterest, they have a one-click infringement pinmarklet-like tool which is called +Loveit - blowing any pretense that Loveit isn't just yet another copyright infringement platform right out of the water. It's just a variation of the no copyright infringement intended disclaimer.
  • Loveit.com shows large "thumbnails" at 220 pixels wide.
  • For now, unlike Pinterest, Loveit's links to your website are normal links, and not rendered worthless by the addition of the "nofollow" attribute. This may be a temporary lure, until they can legitimately use spam prevention as an excuse to use the "nofollow."
  • Loveit.com's domain name is cloaked by a privacy service. One cannot investigate ownership of the website by normal means.
  • With Loveit.com, you can select all images on a given page - copyright infringement on steroids!
  • Image uploads from search engine result pages are welcome as always.
  • With Loveit.com, you can upload multiple files from your hard drive.
  • Like Pinterest, Loveit has an EMBED code generator to propagate the infringement to fourth-party websites.
  • Loveit.com has private/group settings making the infringement more difficult to detect.
  • That's not all! There's a PIN IT button on every image uploaded to Loveit.com!!! The copyright equivalent of the multiplication of loaves and fish.
  • Guess what? Like Pinterest, it's hosted on Amazon's servers! Indeed, their abuse contact email is at: ec2-abuse@amazon.com.
  • Loveit.com, perhaps wishing to make a user's transition from crowdsourcing for the ultimate benefit of Ben Silbermann and his venture capitalists, to its own benefit, "a frictionless experience" has a tool to faciliate mass transfer of images from Pinterest to itself.
  • Like Pinterest, Loveit features "/source/" subfolders where the aggregated content from a single website is displayed. There is a large one for Pinterest: http://loveit.com/source/pinterest.com. Like Pinterest, further pages of aggregated content can be acessed at http://loveit.com/source/pinterest.com?page=2 and changing the page number in the URL. Of course, the reciprocate page of loveit.com content aggregated at Pinterest can be found at http://pinterest.com/source/loveit.com

Learning from Pinterest's errors, Loveit comes right out of the gate with an opt-out code.

As was predicted; now, every Pinterest clone is going to have a proprietary blocking code, forcing everyone to recode their websites, and creating a culture of "free-to-steal" as the default state. And look at the pulling of heartstrings: this blocking code is called "nolove." <meta name="LoveIt" content="nolove">. Right. Thanks, but no thanks. No one should have to do this for what is bound to become hundreds of websites.

The recoding-for-every-new-copyright-infringement-platform insanity does not stop here. You can block individual images with yet another propriety attribute to insert in the img src code: nolove="nolove" - again, aw shucks, don't you want love? No? You want no love? No love for this poor unloved image.

There is a way out of this madness with your .htaccess file. Image substitution is more complicated than with Pinterest, because Loveit.com sneakily fails to identify itself in the user-agent field. Instead, you have to deny access to all of Amazon's cloud server IP ranges. There is no downside to this, there is no legitimate traffic to be received from an Amazon cloud server.

Add the following at the top of your .htacess file:
ErrorDocument 403 http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8445/7895057430_928a6c1171_b.jpg
Add this last in your .htaccess file:
Allow from all
order allow,deny
allow from all

Deny from 8.18.144.0/23
Deny from 23.20.0.0/14
Deny from 46.51.128.0/17
Deny from 46.137.0.0/16
Deny from 50.16.0.0/14
Deny from 50.112.0.0/16
Deny from 54.240.0.0/12
Deny from 67.202.0.0/18
Deny from 72.44.32.0/19
Deny from 75.101.128.0/17
Deny from 79.125.0.0/17
Deny from 96.127.0.0/17
Deny from 103.4.8.0/21
Deny from 107.20.0.0/14
Deny from 122.248.192.0/18
Deny from 174.129.0.0/16
Deny from 175.41.128.0/17
Deny from 176.32.64.0/18
Deny from 176.34.0.0/16
Deny from 177.71.128.0/17
Deny from 184.72.0.0/15
Deny from 184.169.128.0/17
Deny from 204.236.128.0/17
Deny from 216.182.224.0/20
This will substitute any unwanted love for this image: