So, you’re an honest, hard working website owner and blogger. You spend a great deal of time and money to present quality posts. In doing so you make use of Pinterest, which is the most awesome of tools out there, to promote your own website. Then one day you’re literally minding your own business and you get a notice from Pinterest. One of your images has been pulled as someone claimed copyright infringement. But wait a minute… this is YOUR image. You created the item. It was your idea and your work. You took the photo and placed it on your own blog and pinned it from there. How can this be?
This happens because, unfortunately, there are just some mean pinners out there. Using Pinterest’s simple form, they maliciously report your pin just so it will be pulled. And it works like a charm. Because of the very real problem of those who do indeed steal the work of others, the image is taken down without question. In one fell swoop your image is gone along with all the repins it had which means you lose that traffic. This is a different slant on copyright infringement but still boils down to someone taking credit for your own work and possibly hurting your business.
Hey, That’s Illegal!
What this means is that the person lied. They digitally signed Pinterest’s official form stating that the work is theirs and they did so under penalty of perjury. It’s illegal and they hurt your business by doing so. Here is the form on Pinterest’s website and below is the text from it that they must sign to claim a copyright infringement:
“I hereby state that the information in this Notice is accurate and, under penalty of perjury, that I am the owner, or authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyright or of an exclusive right under the copyright that is allegedly infringed.”
This happened to me. I had several of the same image pulled. This was from my own site and an item I had the idea for, created, photographed and uploaded. It’s the fairy door seen at the right which links my personal post on Fairy Doors here.
After my initial shock, I spent time filling out my counterclaims according to Pinterest’s instructions. Meanwhile the person who reported my images continued to do so, having the image pulled regularly from other places on Pinterest. My image had a lot of repins so I immediately lost traffic due to that.
Through research I learned that this person was doing this to others and the sole purpose appeared to be removing competition to their own items that are of similar nature. That’s just plain wrong.
The Pinterest Notification Letter
Here is an image of just one of many emails I’ve received from Pinterest. I’ve also received basic letters stating that my image, pinned by someone else to their own boards, was removed but those are much shorter. Interestingly enough they give you the name of the person who reported you. This is where my research began and I learned what the person was doing to others and not just me.
What’s the Answer?
Lets face it, its not like this is a horrible life altering thing. Plus the service is free. But it does do damage and for those of us who work diligently and honorably only to have this happen, its pretty disheartening. The problem is Pinterest’s policy is set up backwards from the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing. The work is pulled and it’s up to you to prove its yours, which is a time consuming process, filling out forms, sending in all your links and then waiting an extended period of time to hear back. (I’m currently still waiting and I’ll update here once I do.)
But the main purpose of this post is to give a voice to the problem and to also give a link to the Facebook Group “Mean Pinners” I created. I searched all over to find some place I could talk about this with others but found none, hence the group. Hopefully it will give those who have experienced this problem a place to speak out about it.
I’m not sure what the answer is. Copyright infringement is indeed a huge problem. This is the reverse of that… or maybe its the same but a different angle. What I would have liked to have had happen was instead of pulling my image without question Pinterest would have given me an opportunity to prove its mine, which I could very easily and quickly do. Or to have the other person prove its theirs, which in this case they could not. But again, Pinterest is a free service using by millions. I have no doubt that limits what they can do.
What You Can and Should Do
Never let anyone bully you in this manner. Though the system is not the best you still need to respond back. Unfortunately you need to do this for another reason. You need to get the negative mark that is now on your account removed as that will hurt you. Follow Pinterest’s instructions for filing a counterclaim and letting them know the image is yours. Here are the instructions copied from their site on the very bottom of this page. All you can do at this point is wait to hear back from Pinterest which unfortunately can take a while. I will update this post with new info as I receive it.
REMEMBER: You MUST file a claim or each of these reports is a strike against your Pinterest account and you can eventually have your account banned. How sad is that?
A. How to File a Counter-Notice
- Email your counter-notice to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Include ALL of the following:
- Your name, address, and telephone number.
- DMCA ID printed at the bottom of the notification email.
- The source address of the content that was removed (copy and paste the link in the notification email).
- A statement under penalty of perjury that you have a good faith belief that the content was removed in error.
- A statement that you consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which the address is located, or if your address is outside of the United States, for any judicial district in which Pinterest may be found, and that you will accept service of process from the person who provided the original complaint under subsection (c)(1)(C) or an agent of such person.
- A physical or electronic signature (for example, typing your full name).
B. Contact the Person
As you have the name of the person who reported the image (from the email Pinterest sent you) you can search for them. You will most likely find their Pinterest account which may or may not list their website, Facebook etc. I’d suggest dropping them a note on either one of their personal pins or by using the contact form on their site and discuss the situation. Don’t be mean or angry or rude or threatening. Be polite but to the point. You want to deal with the situation in an honorable manner. And do not repeatedly harass them on Pinterest. This will just get YOU banned. Never stoop to their level.
After doing these things, all you can do is wait and hope that the person will be dealt with by Pinterest.
What Happens After Your File
It can make a few weeks to get a response. If you sent in all the info requested you should receive one that says they have removed the mark from your account. That’s all that happens. Your image is not put back. So the system favors the person who did this unfortunately and they are not sanctioned in any way. Which means nothing stops them from doing it over and over. They got your image pulled and it stays pulled no matter the outcome. If you don’t do a rebuttal your account keeps the bad mark and with enough of them you will be terminated from Pinterest.
Mean People Suck
I have a very low tolerance for meanness and dishonesty. When things like this happen I have to do something. In this case I started a Facebook group and created this post. Only when enough people speak out can change occur. And though the problem would be considered small to many, its important to me. I work hard on my blog and it’s a means to help support my family. No one should be able to harm mine or anyone else s efforts.
Pinterest is a phenomenal tool for bloggers. They are, however, so large that problems like this are difficult to handle. Just do the best you can and then move forward. I’d like to think that in the end acting with integrity is what matters. If others don’t at least we can.
September 23 2015 Update
Its been a week since I sent in my claim and they just now replied back letting me know they needed more info. Here is what I’m required to send in. This can be a bit daunting for some and #6 might scan someone off. I’m still in awe at what I have to do because someone claimed something I made was there’s. I sent in all the info they requested.
Your counter-claim is incomplete because it is missing these parts:
1. “Your name, address, and telephone number” (part a)
2. “DMCA ID printed at the bottom of the notification email” (part b)
3. “The source address of the content that was removed (copy and paste the link in the notification email)” (part c)
4. “A statement under penalty of perjury that you have a good faith belief that the content was removed in error” (part d)
5. “A statement that you consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which the address is located, or if your address is outside of the United States, for any judicial district in which Pinterest may be found, and that you will accept service of process from the person who provided the original complaint, or their agent” (part e)
6. “A physical or electronic signature (for example, typing your full name)” (part f)
September 25 2015 Update
Received the following email from Pinterest. Nothing about if my images were replaced, my lost pins or what happens if the same person does it again to the same image. I’ve asked them those questions three times now with no reply. I’m happy that the strike against me is removed but it appears the damage was allowed to be done with no punitive actions against the other person. I’ve asked Pinterest these questions one more time. I’ll add any reply if I get one. If they don’t replace a person’s image and the repins the system is pretty unjust.
Pinterest IP Support(Pinterest Help)
Sep 24, 16:38
We have received your counter claim. After review of your notice, we have removed the strike against your account.
Pinterest IP Support
September 30 2015
I received my last reply to my questions. They only answered one short and sweet:
Unfortunately, we cannot restore these Pins at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience and will use this to improve our review process in the future.
Pinterest IP Support
This just happened to me and Im so apoplectic! My own designs! I have emailed pinterest. And I am going to follow your steps. Thank you. Is it okay if I use your article in a YouTube video and Tik Tok post about this? If u dont want me to, it’s okay. Thanks so much!
I would just do it. The likelyhood that the complainant will file a federal lawsuit against you after clearly the image has been removed now by Pinterest is slim to none. They have ten days to file a lawsuit before losing the opportunity. However, your counter notice will remove that strike against your account. And if you are at the two week suspension point.. the next one will be a termination email. I am curious as to which board it is? Send me a link @styleestate or emaile me at email@example.com Hope you get it resolved soon.
Ryan (Mr. Style)
Hey, I have a question. I have a board with 1.5 million followers. I just pin for the fun of it. I’m not promoting my business or anything. I receive copyright violations from me pinning others pins. I didn’t understand how I can get in trouble for pinning other pins on pinterest. I got an email a couple of weeks ago with 2 in one email and then this week I received a notification that my account has been suspended for 2 weeks for violation. I just assumed that they would delete the pins and that would be it. I now have to file a counter notice stating all the information that they request. I am not sure what to put for # 5 regarding the “consent to jurisdiction. Do you just copy and paste that entire statement in your email?
This a great article! This just happened to me for the 4th time and I was informed that my account was being terminated. This caused me to start doing research. I have submitted my counter notice and now the waiting game begins. I also submitted counters to the previous bogus complaints as my entire small business and livelihood depends on it. Hopefully those strikes will likewise be removed as I was unable to find any deadline on filing a counter notice. It is so disheartening to put in all the hours of honest work just to be rugswept by a malicious user. I have spent 7 years on Pinterest cultivating an enormous following of 400k followers and my entire livelihood now depends on the outcome of this notice.
Oh Ryan… that truly sucks especially with that many followers. I got mine resolved but they weren’t too quick and never did answer my question as to what if that person keeps doing it. Just another huge company with not enough support for what I assume is millions that use it. But that is just nastiness by people. I hope they resolve it soon for you. Good luck!
It is so disheartening to hear of the problems you are having. You and your husband work so hard and are so generous to share the many ideas and ideals you have with the rest of us who need a little help bringing out our creativity. These mean pinners are a reflection of our society today which suffers from a lack of integrity. I am encouraged that you are taking a stance, it takes courage and patience and a little justified anger. I followed your blog before because I enjoyed the quotes and the good ideas but I will continue to follow now so as to support you in this conflict.
Thank you Carol. It’s very frustrating. I have a hard time with injustice in general so I always have to do something. Even if it’s just to say “this isn’t right.” Sure appreciate your support and following our site. I’m glad you enjoy the quotes. I’m a HUGE quote fan and share them in posts occasionally too. Ü Have a wonderful weekend!
I haven’t heard of this happening before. How horrible!! I hope that Pinterest will reinstate your image — and ultimately the mean pinner will stop!
Thanks Nina. I think they will but I’m having to jump through a lot of hoops to get it done. Sad.
I guess you have to invite me for me to join the FB group.
Oh your kidding… shoot! I’ll change the setting. Thanks for letting me know.
Wow, this is awful! I am so sorry this happened to you. I am heading over to join your mean pinners group on FB. I hope you do prevail!
Thanks Chloe. Yeah its a shame anyone would do something like this.
I am so sorry this happened to you! I hope Pinterest catches wind that this is happening and comes up with a better system. Hang in there and keep your head up. That fairy door is adorable!
Thanks Aileen. Appreciate the support. Ü
You should contact your congressman and let them know how the DMCA is impacting you. It’s definitely in need of reform. The more people complain about this silly system, the more likely our legislators will change it.
I should… its definitely a poor system.
I didn’t know this was a problem. That’s just horrible!! One more problem..no one needs that. Anyway, thanks for the information. Hope you have a great week. Linda @Crafts a la mode
Boy that’s true. I’ve spend a couple hours dealing with it already. Thanks Linda!
Nancy, I had absolutely no idea this was going on. I did once have a Pin pulled (a repin of a ballerina in a unitard), because someone considered it ‘obscene’. Laughable when you consider some of the disgusting pornographic images that appear in the ‘popular’ feed! This is crazy stuff, but worth knowing it goes on! Please come and share this at my Five Star Frugal linkup. I think people need to know this goes on. Love, Mimi xxx
lol… oh my. Obscene ballerina huh? Yeah it’s sad some folks spend their time doing damage. Appreciate you visiting. I’ll check out our party!
That is terrible! It’s not something I’ve had to encounter (yet), but when I used to sell on etsy, I know some people who dealt with this sort of thing all the time. I’m sorry that you have to go through it.
Yeah it’s sad that people do things like this. Appreciate you stopping by and commenting Jessica. Ü
Wow! That’s terrible! I’m blown away that someone would actually do this! But I’m glad you’re doing something about it and letting people know.
Thank you Jenise. It’s sad that there are folks who do this for sure.
That sounds like a terrible system that Pinterest is using. How awful that you can work so hard on a post and picture only to have it stolen away from you. It’s unfortunate that the world is often set up to benefit the angry horrible people. Hope you get this resolved quickly.
Thanks Jamie. Yeah it’s unfortunate when we have to deal with dishonesty like this.
Hi Nancy. I just wanted to show my support and I hope this resolves for you soon. It’s shameful that Pinterest has a system in place that allows anybody to steal your work, without showing proof it was theirs to begin with. Although not a blogger myself (but I would like to be), maybe a group should be formed where bloggers gather and approach Pinterest on this matter? I respect your work and efforts. Pinterest and other bloggers should too! Best of luck
Thank you so much Lisa for your support and kinds words. I’m hoping to gather people together who have had this happens which is why I started a Facebook group. This is just another slant on copyright infringement which is a HUGE problem in general. But it’s definitely way to easy for people to do this to others. Appreciate you comments.
I’m sorry about your troubles. It seems like some people have nothing better to do than mess up other people’s lives. Must be nice to have so much free time.
I’ve had issues on Facebook, and even found my entire blog being copied into another language. I didn’t know we had to beware of Pinterest too. Thanks for this info, in case I ever need it.
Thanks Jenny. Its a shame time has to be spent dealing with dishonesty when you try to be honorable yourself. Ü