In an effort to shield itself from allegations of copyright infringement, Pinterest has released code for companies that want block users from ‘pinning’ their content.

The social media site includes the following coding for the 'nopin' tag in the help section of its website as follows:

This can be copied and pasted into a web page, ensuring that when a Pinterest user tries to pin the content to their profile a pop-up states: “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”

WordPress users can install a nopin plug-in, developed by Shawn Hooper, which will implement the 'nopin' functionality.

Pinterest’s T&Cs state that in order to add content to their pinboard, a user must either own the material or have the owner’s permission.

In practice this is rarely the case, but up until now most content owners have been unlikely to take action because even when pins are not correctly credited Pinterest drives traffic back to the original source.

However, the problem is becoming more acute as the site grows in popularity – comScore stats show that Pinterest achieved 11.7m unique monthly viewers in January alone.

Neville Hobson suggests that as the site becomes more of a destination users are less likely to click off of the site, instead simply admiring the content on Pinterest’s platform.

It’s an interesting situation, one that may well result in someone mounting some kind of legal challenge in one jurisdiction or another to test the copyright water, especially if Pinterest starts to make money from their service (which they say they aren’t yet).”

This is a threat that Pinterest obviously can’t afford to ignore, and explains why it has published the new code.

I think it’s another example of digital technology and the internet enabling people to do things that copyright laws never imagined when they were drafted (and amended over time), and now looking woefully out-dated if not out of touch with contemporary society. The web moves faster than the law.”

There's a fine line here. On one hand, protecting your content is an important cosnideration - especially for smaller or independent businesses - but on the other, the high levels of engagement and enhanced sharing driven by Pinterest has to be good for brand equity. Doesn't it?

David Moth

Published 21 February, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (7)

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Chris Knowles

Chris Knowles, Web Developer at The Business Octopus

"Sorry, thanks for liking our brand and all but please don't share it with your friends, we'd rather they found it themselves somehow."

Nobody in the right mind would implement this code but fair play to Pinterest for providing it. What brands need to do is get smart with their content and make sure it's all watermarked up with their logo and website url, that way you're still going to get the credit regardless of where it appears.

over 6 years ago


Rebecca Haden

Pinterest definitely drives traffic back to the site of origin. Shielding your content from Pinterest not only loses you that potential traffic source, but also makes you look curmudgeonly to the would-be pinners. You could be turning off people who are at your site and like it enough to share it with others.

An alternative would be to add your signature and web address to your images to enocurage click through.

over 6 years ago


caroline draper

Yes and no. Personally I know many artists that will be implementing the code myself include. For too long art work is ripped off of the web and then printed by others on t shirts, paper, used in other wordpress sites, online journals etc. Many people no longer bother putting watermarks over fine art prints because there are lots of software out there that can remove the water marks.

So for artists who have work in galleries and sell to collectors then implementing the code is a good idea, otherwise your once "limited" edition soon becomes worthless.

over 6 years ago


Gerry White

I think this code is wrong - it shouldn't be pinterest spefific, there are similar websites with similar functionality, I can understand why a lot of people would want specific images and brand exclusively on their own site, thinking of photographers, artists etc.. who would love the link or even a reduced thumbnail but not the full version.

Not sure I get pinterest but all the girls I work with love it...

over 6 years ago

Will Critchlow

Will Critchlow, Director at Distilled

@Chris - I agree with you based on the public perception of what pinterest is / does - but did you know that if when you pin something, pinterest's ToS says that they can then not only display that image, but also *sell* it? I can definitely see why artists / photograpers etc who sell their own images might be against that part...

over 6 years ago



I agree, the code seems a little backwards if you are trying to drive traffic to your site. Although, I have pinned images of my own and received lots of interest on Pinterest and very little traffic to my own site. More probably to do with what text I added over a dysfunction of Pinterest.

If someone is selling an image, they should protect the image from being copied/printed/pinned. This doesn't seem to me to be new technology though, people have been doing this for years for clipart, photos, etc.

For fun I pinned this article. Econsultancy doesn't appear to feel the need to add the code to their website...I freely pinned the logo to my board. :)

over 6 years ago



Pinners have taken many of our best photos to Pintrest, but the traffic back to our blog from Pintrest is very small.

Before long there will be no need for anyone to visit our very unique DIY blog because all or our work will be on Pintrest.

And they continue to pin even though we have the NoPIN plugin installed.

It's very maddening.

about 6 years ago

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