I finally realized why I was exceeding the allotted bandwidth on my website
(www.art-rageous.net) each month: images on my site are being "hotlinked" to
various Myspace pages and other websites.
In trying to figure out what was going on, I found a LOT of my flower images
on the Myspace pages of people I don't know..
While I'm flattered that people like my pictures, it's copyright
infringement if they don't have permission from me to use them. That's issue
Beyond that, however, is the more serious matter of bandwidth theft and
"hotlinking," which I just learned about.
What this means, is if you see an image online that you'd like to use on
your site (copyright issues notwithstanding!), you should "right click" to
save the image to your computer and then upload it to the photohosting site
of your choice. If you simply create a LINK to the picture, it draws on the
original host's bandwidth in order to reproduce the image on your site.
I saw an analogy today that likened it to a neighbor running an extension
cord to your house and plugging in their refrigerator without your knowledge
or permission. The refrigerator is in their house, but you're paying for the
electricity that's running it.
ANYhow, most of the "refrigerators" I'm running are from teens who
apparently like to send "flowers" or whatever to their Myspace friends.
Unfortunately, I'm the one paying the bill!
One of my Myspace friends (an artist) and I have been talking about ways to
try to prevent this from happening and there aren't any easy solutions. For
now I'm renaming some images, adding copyright info directly on some of the
most popular pictures (though I doubt that will stop anyone from using
them), and deleting others. I do have a code on some pages that disables
right clicks (though it's still pretty easy to work around that to grab
pictures) but I think most of the problem is coming from google during image
searches. From there it's pretty easy to find the url of the image and
create a link.
But check your pages and talk to your students about this when school
resumes this fall. If they're using images on Myspace, Live Journal or other
sites that they've found somewhere on the 'net, let them know that in
addition to copyright violations, "hotlinking" is a big no, no and it's
costing somebody, somewhere money!
Thanks for reading!