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What is hot-linking?

Hot linking is the process of directly placing a link to an image or download on someone else's server on your web site. Popular usage restricts usage of the term "hot-linking" to doing this without obtaining prior permission.

Why is hot-linking bad?

When renting web space, people usually pay for the amount of data ("traffic") that comes through. When you hot-link to someone else's image files or downloads, they pay for the amount of data caused by this link.

Again, why is that bad?

Because the site the person themselves had may be small and thus not cause a lot of traffic. When you hot-link to their image from a forum or a more popular web site, they suddenly pay substantially more. Moreover, they don't pay that money for the people their site was created for, but for others. And finally, if you cause too much traffic on their site, they may not be able to afford running the site anymore and just take down those images that you liked so much.

What can I do to be nice?

Only use images on your own server. Get some web space and put images you want to use on your web site or in forum posts up there. Some forums also allow uploading images to their servers. That way, you (or the forum owner) pays for the traffic.

Note that all images on the web (actually, even off-web) that aren't explicitly labelled as not being copyrighted are subject to Copyright, and you may not just copy them for your own web site. Ask the owner of the site for permission to be on the safe side.

Is hot-linking illegal?

Copyright allows the creator of an image to control where an image they created will be shown and used. Hot-linking can thus constitute a violation of Copyright.
Created: 2006-03-04 @059 Last change: 2006-05-23 @160 | Home | Admin | Edit
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