I've been reading an overwhelming negativity towards sites like Pinterest that allow users to widely post and share various forms of media, especially photography. It seems as if some photographers are beginning to take legal action...
Now, I completely understand wanting to protect your work that took countless hours of time and a huge financial investment to create. If others are taking credit for your work and not linking back to the original source, they should be punished accordingly. However, these websites, when used properly, are only going to increase traffic to the original source and, in turn, provide a possible boost in sales.
Its of my personal opinion that when posting anything to the internet, you are sending it out for hundreds of millions, if not billions of people to see. This is what makes the internet so great, it gives you a much larger audience than you would ever get at a museum or art gallery. Because of the vast number of internet users, thievery is a huge issue. This is the risk / reward aspect of the internet though, it's a give and take.
If you want to protect yourself from copyright infringement, here are a few ways to help, before resorting to legal action:
1: Always use watermarks.
All of my photos have a small, tasteful watermark in the bottom right corner of my images. I used to be a lot more paranoid and used much larger watermarks, but they took so much away from my photos that it was barely worthwhile posting them in the first place. If people decide to crop out your watermark and take credit for your photo, then think about legal action.
2: Share only lower resolution images.
If you share lower resolution images, it will severely limit how large a potential thief could print your photograph to. This rule is similar to the watermark rule though, keep it reasonable, don't upload such a small file that it negatively impacts your work.
3: Be more creative in sharing your work.
For instance, print out each of your photographs and have them framed. Then, snap a picture of each photo in frame and hanging on the wall. This not only gives any potential clients a good idea of what the finished result would look like, but it will all but ensure that no one can sell your photos as their own.
4: Don't post your work on the internet.
If you are a serious professional who makes a living from photography, and can't stand the idea that people can use your work however they want, don't post it to the internet. You can still promote your art through galleries, contests, art shows, or even museums. This is the only way to completely protect yourself against internet thievery. I don't personally recommend it, but it might be the best option for you.
In conclusion, share my photography. All I ask is that you give appropriate credit to me and link back to the original source. Also, please don't sell my photos for personal profit. I've even made it easy for you to do this by adding Facebook "Like" , Twitter "Tweet" , and Googly + "+1" buttons. You can also visit my personal Pinterest page and pin photos I have added there onto your own boards.
Every person who views my photography and enjoys it really excites me. I feel really proud when others like my photography enough to take the time to share it with others. Thanks a lot for reading and good luck!