HomeHumorYet Another Reason Not To Hotlink Yet Another Reason Not To Hotlink Kevin August 8, 2005 Humor 21 Comments Actual semi-intelligent discussion ensues in the thread where Markos tells his minions not to hotlink anymore.… Via LGF Air America Missing Payrolls? So much for "location, location, location" Related Posts Best. Fortune-Cookie. Ever. Some Things You Blog Just For the The Headline III I think I Broke It… About The Author Kevin Kevin founded Wizbang in 2003. He still contributes occasionally and handles all the technical and design work for the site. 21 Comments Brandon August 8, 2005 “Now, he doesn’t understand (nor does the really stupid Don Luskin) that I have no control over the diarists.” “Hotlinking to images on other sites is rude, it’s theft. You do it, and it’s a potentially bannable offense.” If Kos doesn’t have control over the diarists, then how could he possibly ban them? ClobberGirl August 8, 2005 Don’t hit me for saying this, but I really think everyone should cut Kos a bit of slack. I don’t know how this “diaries” business works, but I doubt he has time to monitor every one of the diaries every day. He seems to have dealt with it as soon as he found out about it. Joe probably would have been wise to e-mail Kos about it before attacking him… though this was much funnier. Clobbergirl August 8, 2005 If Kos doesn’t have control over the diarists, then how could he possibly ban them? Um, I think he’s saying that he has no control over what the diarists initially post, i.e. he can’t prevent them from doing it, he can only catch them having done it and then take action. Craig August 8, 2005 Yeah, despite what your opinion of Kos might be, I think he handled this whole fiasco well. Jeff Harrell August 8, 2005 I like the way he delivered a total non-disavowing disavowing. “I have no control over the ‘diarists,’ even though my name is on the fucking site.” So when some idiot goes over to Charles Johnson’s site and posts a comment that everybody on Earth rolls their eyes at, LGF is a hate site. But when one of the named contributors to Markos’ site posts an entire blog entry, it’s “I have no control.” Somebody wanna splain this to me? Brainster August 8, 2005 Despite the highminded tone set by Kos, the image is still hot-linked and is probably getting tons of hits thanks to all the attention it’s getting. I wonder if they would have been quicker about pulling it down if it said something profane about Democrats? AnonymousDrivel August 8, 2005 Well, once Kos’ site has been exposed to the satisfaction of the “victim” of hot-linking, said victim should find the largest image he can find on Kos’ site and set up a rewrite rule to redirect requests for his borrowed image back to a request for that large file from Kos’ server. Turnabout is fair play. Can you say mod_rewrite? See: .htaccess RewriteEngine on RewriteRule ^localpath(.*) http://thishost/otherpath$1 [R] Used for: http://thishost/otherpath/pathinfo via external redirection Techie, I know. And this tip is in non-working order and needs tweaking to accommodate the particular image and path under abuse… but such diversions may be quite utilitarian. A curtain here, a throw-pillow there, and before you know it, Kos’ site will be readorned with his own trinkets on his own dime. -S- August 9, 2005 KOS is now taking on the ‘Rove Transformer’ idiom, which is too bad. Hot-linking has long been the scourge of the internet and those who practice it are, truly, thieves. On the other hand, ridiculing KOS as an individual for the thievery by those who use his site is unfair TO A POINT. As site administrator/proprietor, KOS and anyone else has an ethical responsibility to denounce and counter hot-linking and many don’t. KOS writing that the behavior is “bannable” is odd since he also admits he has no control over “the diarists.” Which is KOS admitting culpability, to my view, either by negligence or incompetence. If you own a site, you’re responsible for the content on that site and by allowing public access to the site, you take on the responsibility of the behaviors. But, about hot-linking, it’s thievery by other sitse that’s (also) the issue and people (KOS, for example) who try to disclaim the behavior on their site but also note it being dastardly (and hotlinking is that). I can only add here that there were some bloggers who hot-linked to my site with the Jammies Brigade logos and I had to rewrite image file names in some cases when the practice continued. About other problematic netizens, the newly founded “blog/journal” site by MSM (myspace.com, could be myplace.com, but it’s all over my webstats daily as ongoing demands continue for hotlinked image files I’ve since renamed) is rife with notoriously rude, thieving bandwidth thieves. I know because I examine my site logs nearly daily and find many journals there that hot-link to my images, and many of those images are also copyright protected (doubling the offense). Unfortunately, by introducing a lot of adolescents (most, in my experience, who engage in hot-linking) to the internet as a “fun, user-friendly” place, (most educational programs do such, to their incompetence), they encourage by not discouraging bad behavior on the internet and hot-linking images is among the worst behaviors going, just after trolling and destructive hacking, and/or parallel to. But, the few “major blogs” that are jumping on KOS about this specific incident seems to be destructive behavior in and of itself, to my view, because (1.) the problem isn’t a new one and (2.) why jump on the issue because it’s, this incident, keyed to KOS when there are so many other offenses of the same type going on affecting other sites? I am no fan of KOS — not in the least, not even remotely — but as an issue, it seems that the conservative blogs ridiculing KOS about his (admittedly, foolish comments) about an issue that is not specifically related to KOS in any unique fashion, but rather is a problem of internet use and behavior in general, are behaving also badly. I’m just saying, this happens quite a bit and if you want to protest the problem, do that, but it’s not limited to KOS or is, specifically, a “KOS created” problem nor unique characteristic. -S- August 9, 2005 What I think happens for many who engage in hotlinking image files is that they find images via a Google Image search and then link to the host address for that file. Without regard for the host address’s bandwidth…but some probably don’t perceive their hotlinking as theft because, hey, they found it on Google! It’s like people who have never been told not to do something…without proper instruction, they do what works easiest and for those who gravitate toward “public” (free) forums and journal sites, many hotlink out of cheapness and convenience. Some do it out of bad intentions, I realize, but I think the larger community of thieving hotlinkers is comprised of cheap, free, unaware or even careless users. Almost all the images of mine I find hotlinked are by people who use them on forums and/or in their freebie-hosted journals/blogs. BUT THE POINT IS, the site’s are responsible for the bad behavior unless they take steps to denounce it, prevent it, disclaim it…the notorious disclaimer, the bane of the internet. AnonymousDrivel August 9, 2005 -S-, You’ve touched on several good points and broadened the scope. I think this episode reminds us again of the scope of internet abuse and the assumption that many make that if it’s accessible on the internet, then it must be “free” and that the authors/producers of creative content intended for any such material to be readily disseminated at the whim of the viewing client. In parallel fashion, many don’t see a problem with software piracy either. These abuses are not the same in all regards, but the ease of transfer of digitized material without concomitant ethics of such manipulations saturates the industry. I would rather not diverge too much here except to say that the Kos diarist should be banned, at least temporarily, to send a message that it is an intolerable offense. I wouldn’t blame Kos for the initial transgression, but now that the offense is known, he is wholly responsible for corrective actions. If the problem persists, then the bad press becomes deserved and the onus/blame falls upon his shoulders. Such is the responsibility of the blogger no matter how significant or trivial. Son Of The Godfather August 9, 2005 Cut KOS slack?!?!?… “Screw ’em” Jay Tea August 9, 2005 ClobberGirl, I said the exact same thing when people on Kos’ website were passing around methods to cheat Kevin’s 2004 Weblog Awards, and it’s proving more and more true: “If you’re too big to act responsibly, you’re too big.” Kos might find a way to avoid LEGAL responsibility for what goes on at his site, but he has a MORAL and ETHICAL responsibility to stop unethical conduct once it’s uncovered. To simply shrug and say “I’m too busy to be bothered” is reprehensible. But then again, this is the same guy who said “screw them” when Americans were killed and their bodies hung from a bridge in Fallujah. That’s the day I mark as the one where Kos (and, by extension, his Kossacks) showed himself as irredeemable scum. Both the cheating scandal and this hot-linking incident have simply reinforced my opinion. J. -S- August 9, 2005 Uhhh…I forgot (earlier, this thread, when writing previous comments) about this, since memory of mine is now refreshed. Thus, no holds barred. -S- August 9, 2005 Ha, I see Jay Tea has also picked up on the memory theme…same issue… BR August 9, 2005 Could someone please explain what “hot linking” is to this non-techy? I looked it up in Google and came up with this definition. Am I “hot linking” by posting the url address of that site here at wizbang? If I link to articles or other blogs here, is that “hot linking”? Or, regarding pictures, if I link to Sandy Berger as a clown picture, found in a comment at FR, is that “hot linking”? -S- August 9, 2005 BR: If and when you find an image that is hosted/published on someone’s website (anyone’s other than your own), that you create (“open link here” function in Windows OS) and then paste that image link on somewhere else, such that you display that image on that somewhere else/other location, you are guilty of “hot linking” an image file or files. People with images host their own images, when they’re behaving correctly as to managing the display of image files on the internet. At least, most websites do. We purchase a domain, we pay for bandwidth and server access, storage, etc., and/or we pay a fee to someone else with a domain and hosted website and/or network to provide us with hosting services upon which we can upload image files and then display them on a website we own and/or a subdirectory of a website that we are renting (like a paid livejournal or blogger account that includes image hosting features, and provides you with a subdomain location for your “website” journal/blog on the livejournal and/or blogger domain). Unless you host your own images that you display on the internet (anywhere, by way of any link to that image), and rely on someone else’s hosting and bandwidth of an image instead, the issue of “hot linking” of image files occurs. Which is bad. And that doesn’t even include the copyright/proprietary issues involved with the images themselves. Example of hot linking: you do a Google search and find an image file cached there that you would like to display on Forum ABC, and also in yourjournal.livejournal.com (hypothetical examples, both, not actual website addresses/names). You enlarge the Google search image thumbnail from your search and you copy the webaddress that is displayed in your browser window, and then you go create an image link (” “) with that copied URL on Forum ABC and/or yourjournal.livejournal.com. And the image appears at your directive with that link information wherever you’ve created an image link to that image, BUT the image file remains hosted on someone else’s server and YOU are stealing the bandwidth and storage (not to mention the image itself) for your own amusement. Not “you” specifically, just as an example, a corporate “you.” AnonymousDrivel August 9, 2005 RE: BR’s post (August 9, 2005 06:03 AM) BR, You have not yet hot-linked. You created normal hyperlinks in the appropriate and desirable manner. A hot-link is when you create an xHTML document and “embed” someone else’s material rather than the link an access path to it. If you insert an image or an object, for example, using the appropriate markup tags, you can insert content from any computer that serves up that item and it looks like it is coming from “your” server. The xHTML code will render the page and it will be pulled from your host server. As the page gets rendered, it may then pull in images, for example, that reside on other web servers over which you may have front-end browsing access but without backend ownership. In essence the page is being built from one host’s code and another, remote host’s images or other such “borrowed” files. I don’t know if this really clears that much up for you but if you look at the source code of any web page with images, this may make more sense to you. Look for <img *> tags, for example, and note the path to the file. If the tag includes a text sequence that looks like a normal URL request (“http://www.victim.com/path/to/hotlinked/file.png”), then that is a fully qualified request that uses an external GET to retrieve the image file during page rendering. It may or may not be hotlinked, but it is one obvious sign to investigate first when looking at code. There are several things that may be hot-linked, but image binaries are usually the most bandwidth intensive (not to mention the source being harder to produce de novo) and, thus the most expensive of the thefts. -S- August 9, 2005 Typo: I wrote: “BR: If and when you find an image that is hosted/published on someone’s website (anyone’s other than your own), that you create (“open link here” function in Windows OS) and then paste that image link on somewhere else, such that you display that image on that somewhere else/other location, you are guilty of “hot linking” an image file or files….” I MEANT: If and when you find an image (hosted elsewhere, find it on someone else’s website), for which you then create a link to such that that same image will appear on another website in addition to the original location, you are guilty of “hot linking” an image file or files… UNLESS they’re your own hosted files that you create links to to other locations on the internet. If you host your own images and control them proprietarily (you own the image or the image is public domain), it’s fine and dandy to link to your own images on other websites for purposes of displaying your own images elsewhere. You’re still paying for and using your own website utilities. Bandwidth is bandwidth and is accrued regardless of where a link exists. However, worse about this issue of “hot linking” is that image files usually require large amounts of bandwidth to display, AND when they’re displayed as hot-links on places like forums and journals, they get repeated each and every time a comment is copied and pasted and republished (in the case of use as icons and/or signatures, even worse), and that only amplifies the amount of bandwidth that you force onto whoever you obtained the image from. The polite and legal thing to do is copy an image file if it’s not copyright protected and/or with the prior permission of whoever holds the copyright as to your use of the image file, then upload it to your own server (“host it yourself”) and then open a link where you want the image to appear. You’ve hosted your own image, paid your own bandwidth and not stolen the utilities (or image/s) from anyone else. “Hot linking” is the stealing behavior. -S- August 9, 2005 Worse for bandwidth thieves (those who practice “hotlinking”) is that people with hosting services can see who links to what on their account’s resources on what server. And then also see the amount of bandwidth that the thieves are costing them, and how often and when…and linked to where. I used to contact people who persisted in hotlinking my images and was surprised how nasty some were in response. Such that, now what I do is just retitle the image files when someone is hotlinking to them, resulting in their links displaying a broken image link. And continue to retitle image files as often as need be to prevent thieving hotlinkers. But the site resources used by hotlinking is substantial. [email protected]&R August 9, 2005 Hotlinking aside, I was laughing my ass off at the post itself. “Woohoo! Olbermann’s in 3rd place! Now, we only have to triple the number of viewers to reach 2nd place. Then, TRIPLE THEM AGAIN to get the #1 spot! O’Reilly & Zahn better WATCH OUT! Olbermann is ON FIRE!” Explains why the Dems were all fired up about Paul Hackett coming in 2nd and Jean Schmidt coming in next-to-last. They aspire to mediocrity BR August 11, 2005 AD and -S-, thank you for taking the time. So if the three examples I gave are not “hot linking,” then I’m relieved – since that’s all I do in comments. I’m not knowledgeable enough to create xHTML documents… so in this case, a little knowledge is safe 🙂 And yes, the Olbermann thing is hilarious, especially in light of his recent “bloody” faux pas.