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soloset
04-30-2005, 12:23 AM
Question for you all, since I'm not very board savvy.

I was under the impression that copying an image or image link from another site and pasting it into your post (as opposed to using "Insert Image" or a picture on a server you control), resulting in the display of a picture, is direct linking and hurts the person who is hosting it by using up their bandwidth whenever the page is displayed.

Not to mention the trauma that can result if the image owner replaces the innocent picture with a hideous or obscene one.

So, my question is, am I completely confused about direct linking? Does the URL I get from right clicking on an image on the boards and selecting "Properties" or "Block Images From..." mean anything? Is it safest to always, unless it's your image you're linking to, use the "insert image" button? Any help would be appreciated! :)

E.G. Gammon
04-30-2005, 08:19 AM
Question for you all, since I'm not very board savvy.

I was under the impression that copying an image or image link from another site and pasting it into your post (as opposed to using "Insert Image" or a picture on a server you control), resulting in the display of a picture, is direct linking and hurts the person who is hosting it by using up their bandwidth whenever the page is displayed.

Not to mention the trauma that can result if the image owner replaces the innocent picture with a hideous or obscene one.

So, my question is, am I completely confused about direct linking? Does the URL I get from right clicking on an image on the boards and selecting "Properties" or "Block Images From..." mean anything? Is it safest to always, unless it's your image you're linking to, use the "insert image" button? Any help would be appreciated! :)

Yeah, a lot of people do that - hot link (or direct link to an image hosted by another website). It's not a nice thing to do, because the people who own those websites have to pay for the bandwidth it takes for the image to be downloaded and seen by however many people see it on a message board (which can be a lot!). I have dabbled in web design for years and I know how frustrating it is to pay for a certain amount of bandwidth and then find out, it's being used to host an image someone is linking to somewhere else. A lot of websites install codes in their web page, to prevent hotlinking, but many sites don't.

Now, there are websites that provide you with free space and the ability to hotlink images (for message board avatars/signatures, blogs, etc...) but a lot of people don't take the time to download an image from someone's server, save it to their account and link from THAT one. They just link directly from the original image. An example of a site that allows hotlinking is photobucket.com. You store images, and you can use the URL OF that image on their server, to post the picture somewhere else. Example:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v344/eggammon/profilepic.jpg

The above image of your's truely, is located in my photobucket account and I don't have to pay for the bandwidth it takes for you (and everyone else on the board) to see it. But, if I linked from my own server, I'd be paying quite a bit towards bandwidth - depending on how many people read this post (imagine if every one of the 2000+ members of this message board read this message, and the above image was hosted on my own server - that'd be A LOT of bandwidth I'd have to pay for).

And about a webmaster replacing the image with a hideous or obscene picture - that would be pretty rare. If the original version of the image wasn't obscene, then the chances of a webmaster uploading an obscene image in its place, with the same name as the original image, are pretty slim.

So, yes, direct linking is bad, if the person who owns the site where it is hosted doesn't know or doesn't like their images to be hotlinked. But, there will be people out there who will do it anyway. The only way to prevent that is for the webmaster to install a script on his/her site that disables hotlinking.

I'm confused on why you asked this question. Are you considering adding an image to a post or your signature? Or are you just curious?

soloset
04-30-2005, 11:49 PM
Thank you for the confirmation! :)


And about a webmaster replacing the image with a hideous or obscene picture - that would be pretty rare. If the original version of the image wasn't obscene, then the chances of a webmaster uploading an obscene image in its place, with the same name as the original image, are pretty slim.

Oh, I've definitely seen this -- all the person has to do is rename the original graphic first (say, instead of "cutedog.gif" to "cutedog1.gif") and point the link on their own page to the new name. Then it's a simple matter of renaming a scary picture the original name ("ugly.gif" to "cutedog.gif") and uploading it to the server. I've only seen obscene ones once or twice, though -- usually it's a banner saying "Bandwidth thief!" or something similar. It'd probably be a lot easier for the original webmaster just to block direct linking altogether like geocities does.


I'm confused on why you asked this question. Are you considering adding an image to a post or your signature? Or are you just curious?

Mostly just curious. In another thread, there were a number of pictures posted, some with "attached" boxes around them and some without. One of the pictures had a copyright stamp on it, which always catches my eye (I used to work in photography).

I noticed that mozilla's right click gives me an off-site url for the non-attached files and an AW url for the attached ones. I was chatting with a very nice person about it, and it occurred to me, since I've never used forums that much before, to wonder if the same issues as, say, hotlinking to a personal website held true for forums, too.

I imagine that's a hard thing to stop, given than there are so many personal photo hosting sites (I also use photobucket) and who's to say the image doesn't belong to the person using it? But I figured, hey, I'll ask, and that'll help those who don't know the issues know 'em and help me personally avoid it.

Unique
05-01-2005, 02:18 AM
Yeah, a lot of people do that - hot link (or direct link to an image hosted by another website). It's not a nice thing to do, because the people who own those websites have to pay for the bandwidth it takes for the image to be downloaded and seen by however many people see it on a message board (which can be a lot!). I have dabbled in web design for years and I know how frustrating it is to pay for a certain amount of bandwidth and then find out, it's being used to host an image someone is linking to somewhere else. A lot of websites install codes in their web page, to prevent hotlinking, but many sites don't.

Or are you just curious?

OMG - is what you two have just said mean - whenever I 'right click' 'copy' 'paste' a pic or some text from one site to a Word doc. or an email somebody else is paying for my sending that pic? Is that what you mean?

Geez, Louise, I feel dumber by the day. I think I'll crawl back under the bed now.......

E.G. Gammon
05-01-2005, 03:48 AM
OMG - is what you two have just said mean - whenever I 'right click' 'copy' 'paste' a pic or some text from one site to a Word doc. or an email somebody else is paying for my sending that pic? Is that what you mean?

Geez, Louise, I feel dumber by the day. I think I'll crawl back under the bed now.......

The only way they would be paying for it is if you right clicked the image, copy and pasted the URL that comes up, and sent it that way (or posted it that way on the message board).

Take the AW logo banner at the top of the forum. Let's say I wanted to use that banner on my own website, to help promote the site and to provide visitors a link to this message board I frequent. I have two options:

1) Save the image to my computer and upload it to my OWN server - which will mean I would be paying for the bandwidth.

OR

2) I could use http://www.absolutewrite.com/images/AWBannerStaticBest.gif that link, obviously a DIRECT link to the image hosted here. If I used this link, the image would show up on my website, but I would be stealing Jenna's bandwidth. The same goes for message boards. If I posted the image on another message board, using the above URL, I would still be stealing Jenna's bandwidth.

Now, if you copy and paste an image into a Word Document, it isn't stealing bandwidth, because the word document isn't the internet. But, the email thing might. It depends. Most email services have an "attachment" feature, so you can attach images from your own computer. If you are writing your email and want to add a picture, you can either save the image you want to send in the email to your own computer and use the attachment feature, or you can hot link/direct link to the picture hosted somewhere else (which would be stealing bandwidth).

No matter where you are posting the picture - a message board, email, blog or your own personal website - the rule is the same: If you didn't upload it to the internet in some way (through upload or attachment), you are taking someone's bandwidth. (Some sites allow this, like emoticon websites or sites like photobucket, but most sites would rather you save the image to your own computer and upload it yourself, to save them having to pay for the bandwidth it would take for someone else to see it on the internet through message boards, emails, blogs, personal websites, etc...)

Unique
05-01-2005, 05:15 AM
Thanks! I'm such a TechnoNot......:Hammer: This is me when the Help button doesn't help.

soloset
05-02-2005, 01:31 AM
This is how I check -- I do whatever method I'm going to to put the picture in my email, document, web page, or post. Then I right-click on it.

In mozilla, there's the option to "block pictures from..." with the url of the picture's location. That's the person who is most likely paying for you to display your picture.

Most other programs will have a 'properties' choice when you right click on an image. Click on this properties choice, and in the window that pops up, if 'location' isn't your computer or a server you control (like photobucket or your own web page) than that's a bad thing.

Apparently, on forums, it works the same way. So if the properties location isn't AW (which means the poster didn't use 'insert image'), then some poor guy somewhere is wondering where all his bandwidth is going.

I just tested the copy & paste technique with google's logo, and it looks like all that does, on the forums, anyway, is link to the original image just like a text link.

Word seems to convert it to a local picture (not a direct link), at least 2003 does. I'm hiding from my email right now or I'd check that for you too -- I'd expect it stays a link, though. :D

And please, don't feel badly if you didn't know -- nobody springs forth onto the internet fully knowledgeable and skilled.