Hotlinking

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Perhaps if I ask a question that'll get the ball rolling.

I've always figured a little hotlinking of my images is probably good
because I might get a few extra visitors from it. But every once in a
while someone will hotlink one of my images in a forum post on a very
popular web site and all of my allocated bandwidth gets burned up within
a relatively short period of time. When that happens I have to increase
the bandwidth and rename the image file in question.

I can afford the extra bandwidth but it is rather annoying to find out
that one of my sites is down because this has happened again. OTOH, I am
reluctant to ban all hotlinking because most of the time it's not a
problem.

Opinions?

--
Red



Re: Hotlinking

On 3/8/2012 5:02 PM, Red E. Kilowatt wrote:
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Red, I don't allow hotlinking.  The main reason is, although they may
use an image from my site, they seldom give credit to the source.  And
very few people will look at the URL for the image and visit the source
site.

--
==================
Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.
jstucklex@attglobal.net
==================

Re: Hotlinking

On 03/08/2012 03:17 PM, Jerry Stuckle wrote:
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I'm not much in favor allowing hotlinks either.  Back when I cared, I
had things set up to allow images less than 75kb to be hotlinked, and
anything larger was replaced with a small "no hotlinks" image which at
least gave people an opportunity to see where the source site was
without reading the page source.

The problem though with not allowing images to be hotlinked, or at least
the potential problem, is that then users (and sites like pinterest) are
likely to make their own copies of the images, which is copyright
infringement where hotlinking isn't.  So from one point of view they
could argue that you are /requiring/ copyright infringement although
that certainly should be thrown out of court.

There was recently some flap about pinterest making copies rather than
links, I'm not sure whether they've cleaned up their act (started using
links) or not.

It isn't an entirely simple question, though the decision can be pretty
simple.

Re: Hotlinking

On 3/9/2012 8:52 AM, crankypuss wrote:
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There is nothing requiring them to use images from my site.  If they
want an image, then they can:

1. Find an image that is public domain
2. Purchase an image
3. Take their own picture

And it can be argued that hotlinking without my permission is stealing
bandwidth that I'm paying for.  It's a cheap way for them to keep their
bandwidth usage down.

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--
==================
Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.
jstucklex@attglobal.net
==================

Re: Hotlinking

On 03/09/2012 07:44 AM, Jerry Stuckle wrote:

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Agreed, the bandwidth issue is important if you're paying for it, and I
think that most are.  In my case I figured I could afford a little
advertising for what hotlinking a 75kb image was likely to cost.

It's possible by using something like GD to dynamically overlay a
hotlinked image with a logo prior to sending it out, and creating a
cache of "pre-logo-ed" images to maximize performance.

I don't know of any way though to embed a link within an image so that a
hotlinked image becomes in effect an ad for your site that the end user
can click on when viewing the hotlinked image.  Do you know how that can
be done, Jerry?  It might be pretty slick to let the hotlinkers supply
free advertising. <g>

Re: Hotlinking

On 3/10/2012 4:02 AM, crankypuss wrote:
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Nope, you can't imbed a link in an image, AFAIK.  About the best you can
do is watermark the image with your URL/logo.

--
==================
Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.
jstucklex@attglobal.net
==================

Re: Hotlinking


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If there was good support for <img> elements that use SVG, you could
have your server construct an SVG resource on the fly for hot-linked
images.  This SVG would contain a single image element, the whole of
which could be made a link back your site.  You could, of course, also
add some text and link from that if you prefer.  This idea is not tested
and might even fail on *all* browsers!

Since you'd only send the SVG to hot-linkers, you might tolerate the
poor browser support.  But since the idea was to turn hot links into
free advertising, even that might be too much of a problem.

--
Ben.

Re: Hotlinking

On 3/10/2012 11:55 AM, Ben Bacarisse wrote:
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SVG is getting better supported, which is good.  However, then you have
to get the other host to hotlink to your SVG image.  This might work in
a forum, for instance.  But not many of the sites which just use images
will do so.

OTOH, it would also keep hotlinking down.

--
==================
Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.
jstucklex@attglobal.net
==================

Re: Hotlinking


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I was thinking the link would be to a server side script.  All the
hotlinker would see is <img src="picture">.  They have no choice but to
copy that src attribute.  The image itself would not be available any
other way.

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--
Ben.

Re: Hotlinking

On 3/10/2012 2:40 PM, Ben Bacarisse wrote:
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Doesn't make any difference if the image is a real image or a
server-side script.  Either way it has to deliver an image.  And it
isn't hard for the hotlinker to determine what kind of image it is.

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A server-side script is one way to keep hotlinking down, no matter what
the image is.  There are other ways also - for instance, if it's just
one or two sites, a redirect in .htaccess does great.

--
==================
Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.
jstucklex@attglobal.net
==================

Re: Hotlinking


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We must be talking at cross purposes.  The script won't return the image
if the request does not meet whatever criteria are used to determine
hot-linking (it's usually referrer based).  Instead it returns an SVG
with the image and a link in it.

<snip>
--
Ben.

Re: Hotlinking

On 3/10/2012 5:31 PM, Ben Bacarisse wrote:
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Ah, ok, that makes more sense now.  It could work.

--
==================
Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.
jstucklex@attglobal.net
==================

Re: Hotlinking

wrote:
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Me neither.  As I've said before, I've put in place an .htaccess
redirection system to show a Copyright Violation warning image.

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IANAL, but I would expect that hotlinking is a copyright infringement.
A hotlink reproduces someone else's content on a site without
permission.  Copying the image reproduces someone else's content on a
site without permission.  Legally speaking, I would expect that the
mechanism of reproduction would be irrelevant.  Just the fact of the
reproduction without consent is surely enough to make it a copyright
infringement?  
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Re: Hotlinking

On 03/09/2012 05:57 PM, Java Jive wrote:
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A link is not making a copy the image, a link is just an address.  The
browser is analogous to a telescope, it lets you look at what is at the
address.  If you supplied someone with an address where they could look
at the Mona Lisa and you were sued for copying the Mona Lisa because
you'd told someone where it was, that ought to be laughed out of court.

I'm pretty sure it's been tested in court.  But the whole area of
intellectual property law seems to be a pretty big mess to this non-lawyer.

Re: Hotlinking

On Sat, 10 Mar 2012 02:13:12 -0700, crankypuss put finger to keyboard and
typed:

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It has been tested in court, and it's infringment to hotlink to an image
(or frame a web page) without permission.

The reason it's infringement is because incorporating the image (or framed
page) into a different website is creating a derivative work, even if the
image or page itself still resides on the original server. And it's the
derivative work which infringes, not the linked image itself.

It's not infringement (and has been held by the courts not to be
infringement) to link to an image or page from one site to another, so that
by following the link you end up on the destination site. That's because
you're not incorporating any content from that site directly into your own.

So these are all infringements, if done without permission:

<img src="http://www.example.com/image.jpg">
<iframe src="http://www.example.com/page.html "></iframe>
<script src="http://www.example.com/script.js ">

But these are not:

<a href="http://www.example.com/image.jpg">Image</a>
<a href="http://www.example.com/page.html ">Page</a>

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Intellectual property law is incredibly complex and often
counter-intuitive. It is completely impossible (and I really do mean
impossible, not just difficult) to determine whether an action infringes
intellectual property rights other than by examining the law itself (both
statute law and case law). In particular, copyright law uses its own
definition of words like "copy", which are not necessarily the same as
those which would be used in everyday language.

Mark
--
Blog: http://mark.goodge.co.uk
Stuff: http://www.good-stuff.co.uk

Re: Hotlinking

On 03/10/2012 04:49 AM, Mark Goodge wrote:
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Okay, I can see how hotlinking to include the work in your page for your
sole benefit is creating a derived work.

But what about this,

<a href="http://www.example.com/page.html ">
    <img src="http://www.example.com/image.jpg" alt="Visit Joe">
</a>

Sometimes I come to the temporary(?) conclusion that the entire purpose
of the law is to get in its own way and prevent anything from happening
except the enrichment of lawyers.

Here's a potentially revenue-generating idea for those who might be
interested in that making-money thing: a site to be the intermediary
between people who want to use various images and those who own the
copyright, something to make running around and getting permission a
little more convenient for everybody involved.

Re: Hotlinking

On Sun, 11 Mar 2012 05:12:33 -0600, crankypuss put finger to keyboard and
typed:

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It's still infringement. The question of who benefits from it is irrelevent
to that particular question. Where benefit would come into it is when a
court is considering what damages to award against the infringer.

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There are plenty of sites which do just that :-)

Mark
--
Blog: http://mark.goodge.co.uk
Stuff: http://www.good-stuff.co.uk

Re: Hotlinking

On 3/11/2012 7:12 AM, crankypuss wrote:
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You're still using it without the owner's permission - it's still a
copyright violation.  But if it's so innocent, you should be able to
easily get that permission, shouldn't you?

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The purpose is to protect the work of the creator.  Otherwise, for
instance, someone could make copies of a book/picture/photo/whatever
without paying the creator of the work.

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There are many sites like that, where you can purchase pictures for your
own use.  For those who don't care about being paid for their work,
there is the concept of "public domain" - and sites which have those, also.

--
==================
Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.
jstucklex@attglobal.net
==================

Re: Hotlinking

Jerry Stuckle wrote:
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I always figured I was getting very few additional hits out of it (if
any) but even if I only got one additional sale a month out of it then
it's worth it to me -- as long as I don't have to purchase additional
bandwidth it doesn't cost me anything.

--
Red



Re: Hotlinking

On 08/03/2012 6:02 PM, Red E. Kilowatt wrote:
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Leave it, pay the extra bandwidth, but make sure that your domain name
is prominently added to it so they know who owns it.

Don't do this until it goes viral and consider the bandwidth cost as
low-cost advertising.

TMA

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