What am I saying "No" to?
- Image harvesting
What's that? Well, here are some definitions, to explain what I'm talking about:
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 theft. ETA 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:
- More on hot-linking (Just say "No", Part II)
- Just say "No", Part III
- Discussion: Q &A on hot-linking/image use
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!