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Hotlinking and Bandwidth Theft Explained

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Hotlinking and Bandwidth Theft Explained

Postby SifGreyWillow on Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:03 pm

Hotlinking and Bandwidth Theft Explained

Bandwidth refers to the amount of data transferred from a web site to a user's computer. When you view a web page, you are using that site's bandwidth to display the files. Since web hosts charge based on the amount of data transferred, bandwidth is an issue. If a site is over its monthly bandwidth, it's billed for the extra data or taken offline.

Laymans terms:
Copying and pasting ANY graphic from ANY site other than your own is hotlinking/bandwidth theft unless you have permission from the creator to do so.

When you copy n paste someone's images you are using up their bandwidth...this means you are possibly causing them money if they pay for their hosting accounts. If their bandwidth is exceeded, not only will they have to pay more for their images to show up in the future---but you will start seeing red x's or "image not found" messages where ever you have copied n pasted the tags.

What can happen to you if you hotlink?? Most websites do NOT allow hotlinking (again they are paying for that space) and there's no telling what kind of email you will get or any thing else that they might try to do to you. But in the case of tags and such...If I knew someone was intentionally hotlinking my images, I would delete the image they hotlinked--put a new image with the exact same file name with a nasty message..that way everywhere they copied n pasted my tags--they would see that message and NOT the tag they planned on. Is that nasty? yea, but if you were expecting a "Welcome" tag and instead got a "Kiss My Butt" tag, you would think twice about doing it again, right?

Hotlinking and bandwidth theft is NEVER the right thing to do...NEVER. If you see an image on a site that you want, first of all make sure the site is giving you permission to snag the images--and secondly save it to your computer and upload it via your MSN photo album, Photobucket, or whichever hoster you use. If you are not going to take the time to read web site rules, then you really should not be snagging in the first place.

How can you tell if an image has been hotlinked??
You can right click on any image and hit Properties..that gives you the HTTP addy of where the image is hosted. For example it would look like
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v517/ ... eRules.gif
I can tell thats hotlinked because it clearly states BAMAVAMP1155 in the http addy, thus it is hotlinking and using up my bandwidth.

In the case of MSN photos that are shared, its a little trickier to tell if its been copied n pasted, but same thing applies, right click, properties and if the image ends in the same letters/numbers as the original image--then its been hotlinked. Although MSN doesnt keep up with bandwidth and has no rules about hotlinking, if you do copy n paste someone elses tags/images your liable to end up with Red X's when they delete those images from their msn space.

Think about it like this...if everyone in MSN groups snagged a tag, then copied n pasted it without saving to their own computer first, how many tags would actually show up as they were intended too?? Only those tags hosted on MSN more than likely.

Bandwidth theft is NEVER the right thing to do. Pass it on!

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