|My Pinterest board|
Anyway, back to Pinterest - I can see the potential of this new service. Creating a collection of online pictures can be very useful for projects, as a collection of visual ideas, or as a fan page of any kind. But here comes the challenge. I am pretty sure that Pinterest is copying the pictures on its site which is probably a copyright infringement. It does preserve the link to the picture source which would probably placate image sources such as Flickr that essentially want to be pretty open and are content with sharing as long as the attribution is made.
But take my example of Drobny. There are probably no more than 20 of his pictures in existence online and most of the good ones are on sites such as Getty Images and Corbis. Of course I have included those images in my Pinterest board which I am pretty sure violates some copyrights or distribution rights. Unlike Flickr, Getty and Corbis are in the business of selling pictures for hefty prices and their customers are usually not individuals but businesses that purchase or license the pictures primarily for promotional purposes.
The big question is, what will Big Media do - Getty, Corbis but also most magazine publishers? On one hand, this is clearly violating their fundamental business principles. After all, if you want to publish a Getty picture on your site, you have to pay for it. Sure, you could also argue that Getty and Corbis only allow me to post a thumbnail of the images but I suspect that’s just a technical detail. The main principle - I am posting their content on my page is no doubt raising some bushy Big Media eyebrows.
On the other hand, my online scrapbook hasn’t really harmed Getty, Corbis or any of the other sources. On Pinterest, I have no way to monetize the traffic from all the Jaroslav Drobny fans around the world. At least not yet. If anything, I have advertised the paid content. You could argue that I have created for free an online catalog for Getty - a catalog that can take advantage of the social powers of Pinterest since the Pinterest boards can have multiple contributors. That’s actually a pretty good resource for Getty if you ask me.
But I am not sure which tactic the Big Media companies will use. What I do know is that they are faced with yet another possible disruption. Something new that came out of nowhere and that is becoming hugely popular. There are the first signs that indicate Big Media is noticing and their initial reaction is - yet again - an attempt to squash the intruder. Under media pressure, Pinterest just started allowing sites to opt out of their service. Well, I’m not sure that’s the best course of action for Big Media but I am not surprised as this has been their usual modus operandi ever since the World Wide Web has emerged.
What to do, what to do?