Tag Archives: Copyright

Artist Profiting off of other People’s Instagram photos

Earlier this week, the Washington Post published an article about the Richard Prince Exhibit at the Frieze Art Fair in New York City. In his exhibit, Prince enlarged screenshots of Instagram posts by other people.  Then, he sold all the artwork with some individual pieces going for $90,000.

Apparently, the proceeds are not going to the original Instagram poster.  One of the original Instagram posters stated that she did not give express permission to Prince to duplicate her work.  That being said, did the original poster have the right to exclusive use of her photo regardless of whether or not it was posted on social media?  Would the same Instagram photo have been sold for as much as it did if it was sold by the original poster?  Keep these rhetorical questions in mind the next time you post a photo on your social media feed.

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Legality of Pins and Posts on Pinterest

One of the latest new crazes on the Internet is a popular site called Pinterest.  Pinterest is a social networking site described as, “a content sharing service that allows members to ‘pin’ images, videos and other objects to their pinboard.”  Users can find pictures images or videos on the Internet and re-post them or ‘pin’ them on their Pinterest pages.  Users can organize their pinboards or Pinterest pages by themes, collections, or categories.

A photographer, blogger, and lawyer named Kirsten posted an article on the legality of pinning images on a person’s Pinterest account.  The initial blog post can be found at her website: DDK Portraits.  Kirsten concludes that users are liable for copyright violations as Pinterest’s terms of use offer no protection to users.  She states:

“My initial response is probably the same as most of yours:  ‘Why [can’t I pin their work]?  I’m giving them credit and it’s only creating more exposure for them and I LOVE when people pin my stuff!’  But then I realized, I was unilaterally making the decision FOR that other photographer…Bottom line is that it is not my decision to make.  Not legally and not ethically.”

After she published the blog post, Pinterest contacted her and she wrote a follow up which is available here.  The conversation with Pinterest led to this conclusion:

[Pinterest founder] knows there are issues with Pinterest and the fear of claims of copyright infringement and he wants to figure out a way to make “his little web page” (which he said his Dad calls it — I thought that was cute) work within the confines of the law AND in a way where photographers and every user feels comfortable.

Business Insider published an article by Alyson Shontell which further summarized the issues.  Shontell states:

Basically, if a photographer sues you for pinning an image illegally on Pinterest, the user must not only pay for his or her lawyer, they must also pay for Pinterest’s lawyer.  In addition, the defendant must pay all charges against him or herself, along with all of Pinterest’s charges.

Check out the links to the full articles above.

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