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What am I saying "No" to?

  • Image harvesting
  • Hot-linking

What's that?  Well, here are some definitions, to explain what I'm talking about:

Image harvesting: Displaying someone else's online photograph(s) or image(s) (photos /images you did not take/did not create yourself) on another website or blog without the image owner's consent in advance.  In short, this is image theft.

Hot-linking:  The use of a linked image or other object at one site, for display on another site.    Also referred to as "leeching", piggy-backing, inline-linking, off-site image grabbing.  In short, without consent, this is bandwidth theftETA for clarification:  Every time you view a page, bandwidth is used. Hot-linking is a method of using one website's bandwidth (where the image or object is actually hosted) to "display" it on another.   But, if you're using another site's bandwidth to display their image on your site, you are, in effect, using their bandwidth, every time that page is loaded at your site, at their (often times increased) expense/cost, hence:  bandwidth theft.

In an effort to help me illustrate hot-linking, artists Jerri Jimenez and Jenn Balcer have granted me permission to hot-link to images on their respective blogs.  See the images shown below my signature line at the end of this blog entry.

Many individuals have been, or are finding themselves, victims of this type of theft, including myself.

Many artists devote considerable time and resources to share their creations, and other helpful information, including tutorials, online at their websites/blogs.  Some are hobbyists, and others may be professionals.

However, the courtesy of asking permission, in the interest of good netiquette, prior to taking or using someone else's images or other content from their site or blog, goes a long way in fostering good will and continued sharing among us all in the stamping and paper-crafting community, and holds true whether one is a hobbyist or a professional to the industry.

So, why did I bring this up, out of the blue?  Because, sadly, image, content and bandwidth theft are becoming increasingly rampant.

I don't want to cease sharing online because of it, but, I'll be upfront in that it has definitely affected what, how much, and how frequently I share online.

I will also say that I do believe, or want to believe, that the issue has become so problematic because  many folks are simply unaware that these practices are considered theft on the internet–a case of "everyone" is doing it, so it is assumed to be OK . . .

So, what can be done about the epidemic of image/bandwidth theft?  To be frank, the only way to stop it is to stop sharing online . . . Legally, it would not be worth the financial resources to pursue it for the average individual, either.  I might add, that just because images and content CAN be copied and pasted or hot-linked, that doesn't mean it's ethical or right to do so (without consent/permission).

Ultimately, the answer lies in all of us, by keeping in mind how our actions impact other individuals, and to treat each other with courtesy.

That's a good start!  I'm in.  Who's with me?


Links to the next articles in this series:

Images below are examples of hot-linking, courtesy of artists Jerri Jimenez, and Jenn Balcer

Basically, I'm using the bandwidth from their blogs to display their images here at my blog.

Every time someone's browser loads the page with these images,  it contacts their servers (not mine) for the image content.   Although the images are seen here, the viewing of this page causes an increase in bandwidth usage, not for my site, but for THEIR sites!  Increased bandwidth usage can often result in increased bandwidth cost.  Now, who carries the cost of this increased bandwidth usage?  Not me, if I'm "leeching" it from theirs.

I hope this better illustrates what hot-linking is and why it is it is considered deplorable netiquette.

Special thanks to Jerri and Jenn for assisting me with this illustration!

  1. Thank you so much for sharing. I was totally unaware of this hot-linking, image harvesting legal stuff. It sounds so awful when most of us just want to share each others creativity. Just make sure your gentle with those of us who are so envious and try so hard to learn from each image we view. SCRAP HAPPY!

  2. Thanks for posting this! I’ve been designing and maintaining websites for longer than I have been scrapping and stamping so I know all about hot linking and image harvesting and the headaches it causes for website owners. I think it’s great to educate the paper crafting community on things like this because not everyone realizes it’s a bad thing.

  3. I don’t have a blog…yet, but I hope to have one someday. I am glad you posted this because I know very little about computers and would have had no idea that this was costing anyone! I have often seen people refer their readers to a favorite blog they enjoy and have found many wonderful sites this way, and I really don’t know how to tell which ones are just links and which ones would steal bandwidth. But thanks to you, I will get a tutorial from my IT-guru nephew who knows EVERYTHING! Thanks!

  4. great post. I have read a lot of the comments and are hoping you answer a lot of the questions being asked as I too share the confusion of a lot of your viewers. I believe that for most of our blogging family we are honest people and truly want to do what’s right; but your right, sometimes we may be doing things innocently but someone may be getting harmed in the long run. Thanks for bringing the awareness!

  5. Okay, I am fairly new to blogging – definately a slow-learner, but have never posted anyone’s photos on it but my own…but…because I look at so many blogs, I do sometimes copy & paste a photo of an idea into an idea file in my computer (not to publish, but to reference!) so I can find it again to CASE – and because of the watermark, I knew I would have the means to identify who I cased. Guess I never thought to ask, as I thought it would be a great way to keep track and keep handy in case my server is down. if it is a no-no, please let me know!

  6. Yeah Julie for such a well written post on this touch subject matter. You know I’m ALL IN! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  7. I was referred here by Julie Buhler’s blog. WELL DONE, on your comments here, Julie!!! Think this should be an article on SCS for everyone to read as I’m sure many are not aware of this. I don’t have a blog, but it was wonderful to get this information as I wasn’t aware of the “bandwidth” theft part. Ouch!! Makes prefect sense when you think about it.

    Makes me mad to know some people do it knowingly and even madder to think that bloggers where we all get so much inspiration from will limit their creations because of it!

    Makes me wonder how many are unaware of this issue too. I’m sure some have seen it done on other blogs, start their own and have no idea they are thieving.

    Thanks for the head’s up!!

  8. I’m IN! :) Thank you so very much for this post, Julie! I’m pretty new to this whole thing but was a bit frustrated when it was first brought to my attention. Thank you for getting the word out so eloquently! :)

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