The recent brouhaha about Pinterest, a current addiction and tool, and its copyright issues, the internet and blogging made me confront some interesting and sometimes painful realities. I love the internet, but I must admit it was pretty amazing to discover that a lot of this website had been lifted up onto Pinterest. I was flattered. I was amused. I was surprised. And a touch dismayed, but I can’t really claim any part in it because it had been done by lots of other quilters who found my blog and my work interesting enough to them to pin to their wall. And I’m sure you’re not surprised that eighty-percent of Pinterest users are women. (How many of them are quilters?)
So some of my quilting exists on pinboards, and websites and floating around on the internet, where we, readers and bloggers, attempt to capture these photos so we can make more and better and more fascinating and The New and Next Big Thing! in quilt-land. To be truthful, I spent some time how to “capture” my apparent presence on Pinterest (albeit a pebble in a lake in terms of numbers, I’m sure), but in the end, failed. Late to this particular party, I set up my own Pinterest site, and started to dabble in it. I recognized that this could be a helpful tool for me to note which fabrics I liked on Spoonflower, as well as quilt ideas.
But given the copyright issues that have been raised (here and here), perhaps I should more cautious about appropriating other’s images onto my boards, even if I am thinking of this as a tool. When I talked to Cindy last night, she asked, “How is this different from the thousands of images that are lifted from Google every day?” (Like the one above.) She has some thoughts on this, too, on her blog today.
So if I don’t use it as a tool, maybe it could act as a virtual quilt show, displaying my own wares on my boards, as I noticed that some have done, acting as sort of an alternative to Flickr. Interestingly, many Flickr sites disallow “Pinning” to Pinterest, through the use of a snippet of code.
So, what do you think? Should we have more control over our own images? Or once we publish them to our websites, it’s as good as done? Are you, like I am, flattered that others like your work and are spreading your quilting gospel throughout cyberspace? Or are you someone who is trying to make a living off their own work, and are dismayed to see it distributed far and wide without your permission?
Pinterest may or may not be the next Napster, as the Wall Street Journal noted. But I’d be interested to hear what you quilters have to say about it, given our particular penchant for community. Does this enhance our quilting community? Detract from it? Weigh in with your thoughts and reflections.