To Pin or not to Pin...

Last week I was alerted to the fact that a vendor on etsy was selling copies of my work (and the work of a number of other artists/craftpersons/vendors.)  While it's fine to use the designs and ideas of others to create beautiful things for yourself, it is not okay to sell work based on the designs of others (unless one has written permission from the artist or copyright holder.)  Needless to say, a lot of people (including me) were very upset.  This started me thinking seriously about copyright.

I try to be careful and respectful when using images and text by others.  So, the question which pressed me most was how to make sure my work was, in turn, treated with respect.  I read a number of articles from this list here and this list here; it seems the bottom line is that all artists/writers/creators own the copyright to their work the moment that work is created.  Whether others respect that work is another matter.


After some thought and research, I added a notice about copyright to the bottom of my sidebar; maybe it comes off as stern? (if you have any feedback or ideas about this, please let me know.)  And anyhow, is a notice on my sidebar really going to make a difference?

Then there is the issue of Pinterest.  That's a doozy when it comes to copyright infringement issues.  To address this, Kal Barteski started a blog and movement called Link with Love.  I highly recommend reading some of the links available on the site, especially this blog post here by Kal about Pinterest, and this other post here about why she deleted her account.

I'm afraid that, beyond this, I don't have any answers.  I am grateful to friends with sharp eyes who spotted copies of my work, and while I have not deleted my Pinterest account yet, I will no longer actively be using it.  Any thoughts? Ideas?  I'd love to hear anything you have to say about this topic.


  1. I've been peeking back with interest to see what type of comments this would generate.
    I don't have a pinterest account, nor do I sell things I make. But I have to wonder if this isn't actually a fairly common practice. Like when you pick out a pattern for someone to make a bridesmaid dress. The dressmaker is paid, but is Simplicity credited? And then the dressmaker makes that dress and sells it five more times.
    Or if you copy a recipe from online, make it and sell it at your local craft fair? Or, someone just sees a picture on a blog, copies it and sells it at a craft fair.
    I'm just not sure how any of that could be controlled.
    As for me, seeing it online doesn't stop me from still needing a craft book or a recipe book, but not everyone is as besotted with books as I am.
    It's an interesting dilemma. I took a class on using paint, papers, collage and generally it really resembles the work the instructor earns her living doing, but particularly I feel it's all me.
    I'll be curious to see other comments. Very thought provoking.

    1. Hello Dear Gramerly -- Thought provoking indeed... Especially your comment about a dressmaker using a simplicity pattern to make dress to sell.

      After further research, I have learned about companies which give limited permissions for cottage industries i.e. they allow the sale of items made from their patterns as long as the items are not mass produced and are only sold locally. Once something is for sale online (and thus worldwide) the permissions (and need for restrictions) get more complicated. For example, Sizzix allows sale of items created via their cutting machines, but there is much "fine print" regarding particulars and details.

      My copyright (and permissions) notice is evolving. I don't want to seem stern or selfish with my designs. I just really like it when people have fun and create!!

      thank you for your comment --

  2. Thank you for the link with love info. I am going to read further and think more about Pinterest. I'm also thinking of watermarking my photos now. I don't love how that looks but I like it better than having them taken and used without my permission I suppose.

    Love to you!

  3. Eh it is a tricky thing with Pinterest isn't it? I need to make sure all of my pins have working links to the original site, I may be guility too, but everything I pin I pin out of admiration and inspiration. I'm always pleased when I see someone else pinning my work, I think of it as free marketing. Have you contacted the person selling your work? Perhaps they are unaware they are doing so, I know with "Waldorf" type crafts so many patterns etc are freely shared amongst each other, the craftsperson may be unaware that it is your design.

    1. Hello Cynthia -- I did contact the person who was selling copies of my work. She has already been contacted by a number of other people whose work she had also copied, so she knew the drill and was quick to remove the photos/items from her etsy shop.

      It is indeed tricky with some traditional Waldorf craft designs because many of them are standard, traditional designs. However the work this woman was copying was unique and easily identifiable as having been created by specific artisans.

      This person obviously did not bother to track the image sources before copying. Most people seem to understand the importance of this which is great -- but it's a complicated world we live in with the internet... It keeps me on my toes (though mostly I'd rather curl up in a chair with a child and a good book!!)

      thanks for your comment and cheers --

  4. I'm a lover on Pinterest but find myself getting overwhelmed at time. I do always try and check that it leads to the actual creators site. To be honest I love crafting and would love to have a little store but always get overwhelmed with the ins and outs of what's what. Not that I would ever take an idea and copy it but where the line of inspiration is. Does that make any sense?! Thanks for the food for thought. x

  5. Funny... I found this discussion after browsing your site for a while because Pinterest sent me here with a generic link and a photo of some chore gnomes. I was interested in the chore gnomes and how they would be used with the kiddos, but hadn't found them yet when I came across this Pinterest post!
    As a homeschooling mom, I find Pinterest invaluable just in the sense that it keeps everything organized for me, especially as I create themed units of study. But I understand the copyright concerns and the other issues too. Very tricky.

  6. Did you find the chore gnomes? The Pinterest link should have taken you directly to the post on my blog (ah, here is the post http://webloomhere.blogspot.com/2011/11/gnomes-gnomes-gnomes.html )

    Yes, I realize that Pinterest does have it's uses, esp. for storing/organizing information. But the copyright issue, as you said, is tricky!!


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