If you’re crediting ‘pic via Pinterest’ then you’re doing it wrong

I’m sorry to say Pinterest is not a credible source to credit as the source of your recent regram. Did you get that?

Let me spell it out a little more clearly: Pinterest will never be the correct source to credit if you choose to use content that you find there in your social media. Why? Because Pinterest doesn’t create the content that resides on their platform.

Pinterest is an image sharing platform; it is a space where people upload images or ‘pin’ images directly from other websites. It is, as its name suggests, a digital pin board, allowing you to save images that inspire you to different ‘boards’ of your creation.

Which means that the correct way to credit something you find on Pinterest would be to credit the person who created the image, not the platform it’s hosted on. Even Pinterest understands the importance of crediting correctly, which is why you will always find information underneath each pin that directs you to where the image was originally pinned from, or who originally uploaded it as a pin – even if it’s already passed through many digital hands.

However, the fact that people are allowed to upload their own pins means that a lot of misinformation plagues the platform, leaving artists and creators to miss out on being credited for their work. It’s all well and good for those who are uploading their own original content, but it becomes problematic when people who aren’t considerate of copyright law are stealing images from around the web and uploading them to Pinterest without giving the appropriate credit.

Yes, there are definitely users out there who save pictures to their computer so they can upload them directly to Pinterest themselves, making it look as though they are the original source for the work. It begs the question of why anyone would be so selfish – but more importantly, who actually has time for that??

With all of that in mind, can you understand how Pinterest merely plays host to images that come from different sources and that since they, Pinterest, are not the original creators of the work and do not own copyright to it, they are not the correct source to credit?

So what should I do if I want to use an image from Pinterest on my social media?

When you want to use an image from Pinterest, find out who the creator of the image is and credit them. It shouldn’t be that hard. Really. You can start by seeing if the credit already exists in the description of the pin:


If the description doesn’t include the original creator of the work, check the website where the image was originally pinned from by clicking on the image.


While the description of the pin above doesn’t give away much (though, it should, this is not an example of Pinterest best practice), clicking on the image takes you to a descriptive article that credits Mateja Kovač as the artist who created this work. So, if you were considering using this image in your social media content, you would need to credit Mateja Kovač – and maybe chuck a mention to ArtisticMoods, seeing as the image was hosted on her site.

But what if neither the description or the link gives you an indication of who created the work?

Here is a highly convoluted and complex example that all begins with this pin of a bikini:


The description states it is a “high waist bikini” – okay, good, we’ve gotten that far. But upon visiting the source from whence the image was originally pinned, good old has given us absolutely no indication of who actually created this bikini.

Turns out it’s from an Italian clothing company named Lazzari, wanna know how I worked that out?

First, I performed a reverse image search on the bikini to see what other pages it appeared on, however I just got a massive list of links to Pinterest boards that the image is pinned to. But I hadn’t lost hope! When you click on an image in Pinterest, it will often show you other images that are related to the pin you’re currently viewing. I was in luck, because there was another image of the same product, and this time it looked like a product shot!

The original source bore no clues, as is an app that seems to do certain things related to fashion BUT performing another reverse image search on this image brought Lazzari up as the first listing in Google.

A quick search for ‘bikini’ in Lazzari’s search bar garnered no results, but a poke around their Instagram confirmed exactly what I wanted to know: Lazzari was the creator of this bikini, and now I had a source I could credit as the designer of such a beautiful swimsuit.

But that still begs the question: who took the photo that I originally found in Pinterest? It very well could have been our good old pal fridaynitesaturdaymorning, but I wasn’t convinced, as the photography looked too similar to that of other product photos from Lazzari.

A few more clicks around Pinterest and I found my answer: another bikini, shot in the exact light, laid out in the exact same way, and shown as being sourced directly from Lazzari themselves:

Hooray! Now we have our answer!

It seems like a lot of work to simply find out how to credit the image, but that work is important to ensuring that the original creator always receives credit for their work. Just like you, a reasonable business owner who is proud of the effort you put in to your business, would be upset if you saw your product images were being shared elsewhere without the proper credits to you with links back to your site.

It’s also important to note that had Lazzari not been the ones who taken the photo of that swimsuit, it probably wouldn’t have been enough to properly credit the work just by mentioning them. I could go out now and take a photo of a Streets ice-cream and the copyright on that photo would belong to me, not to Streets. If someone were to then share my photo and credit it back to Streets, that would be an incorrect example of crediting my work, even though they would be correct in stating that a Streets product appears in the photo.

We’ve learnt a lot here today, but the most important take home message is the old adage “give credit where credit is due”. It’s as simple as that.

Happy pinning!

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