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Pinterest Etiquette: The Do's and Don'ts

Pinterest Etiquette

By now I’m sure we’re all familiar with the basic functions of the web’s hottest social media platform.

But the very nature of Pinterest raises some significant issues about sharing images online that need to be carefully considered.

The most important being copyright law.

I know it’s not necessarily the first thing you think about when scrolling through Pinterest’s colorful boards of fuzzy animals, DIY projects and home recipes, but not all the owners of these images consented to them being there.

That’s right, users can pin just about any image from any website to their Pinterest page – regardless of the owner’s knowledge or permission.

So how do you protect yourself from copyright infringement while also giving credit where credit is due?

Below you’ll find a list of Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind as you navigate the popular content sharing service:



  • Do pin from the original source itself, this is the best way to ensure proper attribution



  • Do add a detailed description and source link when adding a new pin



  • Do attribute the owner of the image in the pin’s description when possible



  • Do make use of Pin It buttons provided on various websites, this indicates that the site owner is happy for you to pin their content




  • Don’t download photos from the web and then upload them as your own pins



  • Don’t use Pinterest images on your site or for promotional material etc., unless you have permission from the owner of the image



  • Don’t just repin other users' images, try to put up your own content as well



  • Don’t repin images that aren’t sourced properly. If you come across a pin that’s not sourced, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the image accordingly


photo credit: lisalovesdesign via photopin cc

Join The Conversation

  • lisao's picture
    Sep 10 Posted 3 years ago lisao

    Thanks Joe, I was referring more to the Pinterest mouseover buttons websites can add to their own images to encourage readers to pin their content.

    But you're right, regular Pin It applications like the ones users can download in their browsers don't take into account owner permission.

  • Sep 6 Posted 3 years ago Joe Beasley

    The PINIT button does not mean that you have permission to pin.  Bing idexes images from pages that have the nopin code and places pinit buttons on the in the search results


    Scrapper sites take images from pages with nopin code and places the pinit button on them

  • Sep 5 Posted 3 years ago Anna Cadiz Bennett

    Good reminders but your headline is a bit misleading. Tactics and etiquette are two different things. Under the DO's #2-4 is not related to etiquette, they are tactics.  I would add:


    1) Spam

    2) Pin more than 5 images at one time 

  • JeffreyLapin's picture
    Sep 5 Posted 3 years ago JeffreyLapin

    Good list.

    Other suggestions, which should not be considered legal advice, to help protect you against copyright violations:

    • Check the Creative Commons license of the image, if it has one. There are 6 license types, which indicate who, how and whether credit needs to be given if you are going to use or post the image.

    • Read the "Terms and Conditions" of the website to determine whether you can pin an image from a site.

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