[closed] Linking to other people's images? Allowed? (31 posts)

  1. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    I have a new blog, and I have simply been going to Google images to find appropriate images for my posts. SO, the image shows up on my blog, uncredited, yet is being served up by his host, since I am just adding a hyperlink to that image in my post. What is the fair use internet policy on this??

  2. The general feeling is that Hotlinking is Bad. Don't Do It.

    Hotlinking, or embedding other people's images from their server in your posts, is theft. You're stealing their image and their bandwidth, incurring more traffic on their site without the readership payoff.


    Don't do it. If you're going to nick their image, upload it to your site and provide a link back to the source.

  3. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 5 years ago #

    It's considered highly unethical.

  4. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Is it unethical to do what Ip suggested? SaveAs to my own drive, then host the image myself? Actually, that seems to be outright illegal copyright imfringment. Worse than hotlinking.

    Does making the image link back to the source even solve anything? It just might direct "lost" traffic back to the source site, which he may not even want (even more bandwidth wasted) For example, the source page may have nothing to do with my blog post. (For example, I copy an image of the sun from a global warming site, yet my site is about sunglasses) The lick back is totally irrelevant to my own blog, if the user clicks the picture for some reason.

    So, outright nicking them is illegal, as per the Wiki link above. And making the image link back seems pointless.

    Is there a better, more standardized way to credit image sources?

  5. Either way, use of the image without permission is unethical and theft.

    IF you're going to steal someone's image:

    1) Host it on your own server
    2) Link back to the source and credit them

    Best would be to use public domain or free content, that is, images and other media files that can be used by anyone, anytime, for any purpose.

    Obviously no one can stop you from stealing images, but if you're going to steal, don't steal the image AND the bandwidth. When people do that to me, I replace the image with XXX rated ones as revenge sometimes.

  6. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    I get it, but what about the illegal aspect of it? It's more legal to hotlink than to host the image myself. I am not sure which is worse.

  7. Is it more legal to break my door or my window? :) Would I rather have my left leg or right leg cut off?

    Hot-linking is worse, IMO, because you're stealing image (work) and bandwidth. Also if you hot-link, I can change the image on you to screw you over for screwing with me. And yes, I'm not the only person who does that.

    Fair Use of images is touchy, and the short answer is that unless the image source says 'You can use this' then you can't. I link back to my sources when applicable to thank them and send them traffic, which hopefully translates into business.

  8. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    How do you link back to them? By making the image link back to the source page it came from? Do you find blog owners are receptive to this? Odds are, it simply directs random traffic to their page, costing them more bandwith.

    Also, if you want to be technical, hotlinking is not worse, b/c it's legal. Nicking the image, trying to save the source bandwidth is actually straight up illegal. Sure, if you want to do the right thing and save him bandwidth, you can host it youself, but AT a greater risk to yourself.

  9. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 5 years ago #

    By making the image link back to the source page it came from?

    That would be a start.

    Do you find blog owners are receptive to this?

    Try asking them. At the end of the day, this all boils down to copyrights and permissions. Just don't steal their images and their bandwidth.

    hotlinking is not worse, b/c it's legal

    It unequivocally is not - unless you have prior permission from the copyright owner.

  10. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    For ethical reasons, I am hyperlinking all the hotlinked images to the source website. If anyone complains, I will remove the image.

    However, I am not going to host the image myself, as that is ILLEGAL, and would be absolutely stupid for me to do. It is unequivocally safer to hotlink than to host the image. Period. The latter is outright theft, and much worse, in terms of the law. It doesn't matter if it saves him bandwidth, EVEN if he prefer this. This is semantics, but one clearly is more risky than the other.

  11. Hotlinking is illegal without permission.


    That's theft.

  12. However, I am not going to host the image myself, as that is ILLEGAL, and would be absolutely stupid for me to do.

    If you're including images that have CC licenses on them, no it is not.

    Check the license on the images themselves. But do NOT hotlink (unless they are on an image-sharing site like Flick.in which case you still need to check the licenses.)

  13. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Wrong. You didn't read the wiki link I posted. While copy/self-hosting is the more "ethical" thing to do, it is also illegal. Hotlinking, while more damaging to the source, is ironically viewed as less harmful under the law.

    In other news, killing your baby is perfectly legal. But hitting it will land you in jail.

  14. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    How can you check the license on the image itself? All I have been doing is going to Google images and using something that fits the subject of my blog.

  15. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Put it this way - you display my images on your site without my permission and I can sue you for breach of copyright.

  16. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    By the way, the hyperlinking suggestion doesn't address the main concern here. Even if I hyperlink, I am still "stealing" bandwidth. So, I assume many owners are not going to care about the hyperlink back to them. Not sure this is going to solve anything, but I will add links to all my images in "good faith", despite the fact that I am still stealing bandwidth.

  17. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    esmi, no you actually can't. That is my entire point. One is illegal, while the other isn't. Weird, I know. Read the wiki link I posted.

  18. One is theft of work (images - a copyright issue) and one is theft of services (bandwidth - a usage issue).

    Image theft needs me to prove copyright and ownership. Bandwidth just needs me to show your ISP that you are linking to my site without my permission. You steal my bandwidth, I get your site shut down. And yes, I have before.

    Which is more illegal: Taking my camera, or using my phone and making overseas calls?

    (seriously, esmi knows what she's saying. Hotlinking isn't illegal in the case of copyright contentions. It's still illegal.)

  19. Kim Parsell
    WP Mom
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Dude, I'll put it as clearly as I can.

    Hotlinking is illegal, for all the reasons listed above by Ipstenu, Andrea_r, and esmi. Don't do it. Period.

    Stealing images from other sites and reusing them without permission is also illegal. I'm a photographer, and get very angry when I find my images being used without my permission. I'm not the only photographer who feels that way, and some get very vindictive when they catch someone. So don't do that either.

    If you find an image you would like to use, contact the website owner and ask them if it is their image and, if so, would they mind if you used it on your site. Follow whatever conditions they give you for reuse if they agree. If they don't agree, then look somewhere else.

    Copyright infringement complaints directed to your host can/will get your site yanked offline and your hosting account suspended/terminated. And yes, you can also get sued. Wikipedia is not the end-all/be-all for legal advice.

    Stop playing word games. You asked for advice and you've been given said advice from some smart people. Now follow it.

  20. Then go search flick for fair use photos and use their links. Googling for random images where you cannot check the license is a bad idea, however you wind up embedding them in your posts.

    Why yes, I do publish photos at flickr with a CC license and very carefully picked my options.

    A wiki article cannot cover all circumstances and does not constitute legal advice.

  21. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Again, since people refuse to read the link, this discussion has hit a dead end. I do thank you for your time on this.

    I will follow the advice given by esmi, which is to link, and use the source's bandwidth. However, this is justified by adding a hyperlink on the image back to the source. While this makes little sense to me, as I have unlimited bandwidth, this appears to be the approach suggested by esmi and wiki. This is also the only legal way to do it, as copying the images is illegal, while linking is not, despite the latter being doubly damaging to the source. Ironic.

    I will also look under some open source images, and switch out as many as possible. What are the best places to look for open source images?

  22. We did read the link. The link says:

    Rather, the inline linker places a pointer on its Internet server that points to the server on which the proprietor of the image has placed the image file. This pointer causes a user's browser to jump to the proprietor's server and fetch the image file to the user's computer. US courts have considered this a decisive fact in copyright analysis.

    Did you read what I bolded?

    Do you get that bandwidth theft is not a copyright issue but a theft of services issue?

    So congrats, you may not be breaking the law for copyvio, but you're still breaking A law.

    What are the best places to look for open source images?

    Flickr, as andrea_r said, has SOME public domain images.

    WikiCommons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

    These: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain_image_resources

  23. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    The article doesn't address bandwidth theft anywhere. While it may be poor form, can you cite a source that says hotlinking is illegal? Also, I have been advised here to hotlink and provide a back link. Seems like splitting hairs to me. I'd prefer to host myself, but don't want to do anything illegal, first and foremost.

  24. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Thanks, I will try to replace as many images as I can from wiki commons. What's the best way to implement this? Do I need to credit wiki commons? Or, just save the image and host it myself, saving wiki the bandwidth ?

  25. What's the best way to implement this? Do I need to credit wiki commons? Or, just save the image and host it myself, saving wiki the bandwidth ?

    1) Credit is always good :) Put it in the attributes (alt tag and/or captions)
    2) Always host it yourself UNLESS the site says you can hotlink.
    3) If they don't say you can hotlink, assume you can NOT.

    The article doesn't address bandwidth theft anywhere. While it may be poor form, can you cite a source that says hotlinking is illegal?

    Actually the article DID mention it under "Controversial uses of inline linking"

    Hotlinking's legality, purely in regard to bandwidth theft:

    I can go on. I could hit up lexis nexis if you need.

    Everyone in this post who has told you it's illegal is an experienced webmaster who probably remembers Geocities being popular. Intellectual property theft (i.e. the reuse of images) is just as bad as theft of services (i.e. hotlinking to images and stealing bandwidth).

  26. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Sorry, but the links you provided are not "law". They are just bloggers using the phrase "bandwidth theft", and explaining what hotlinking is, just as you have done. Yes, please pull up a Lexis/Nexis case where hotlinking is illegal. I have not seen a shred of evidence that hotlinking is illegal (rather than poor form) Do you even understand the difference?

    Also, I have read "Controversial uses of inline linking". Please show me where it says that hotlinking is illegal.

    Sorry, but I am starting to think you don't know how to actually read and/or know nothing about what "laws" even are.

  27. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Ok, your #2 and #3 above make no sense to me. I am talking about wiki commons. Why would this policy vary by image? Wiki explicitly states you can either host yourself or hotlink. So, what "permission" are you even referring to in #2/#3 ? By definition, I have permission. That is the entire point.

  28. Wikipedia isn't law either, for that matter.

    Here ya go: http://definitions.uslegal.com/t/theft-of-services/

    having control over the disposition of services of others to which the person is not entitled, the person knowingly diverts those services to the person's own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled to them

    Want a wikipedia link?


    Theft of services is the legal term for a crime which is committed when a person obtains valuable services — as opposed to goods — by deception, force, threat or other unlawful means, i.e., without lawfully compensating the provider of said services.

    (The three rules I gave you are rules for all sites, wikipedia or not. If you'd bothered to do any of your own research, you could have found this: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Reusing_content_outside_Wikimedia which tells you what you want to know for Wikimedia stuff)

  29. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Where do you get the idea that hotlinking is theft of services? You are making this connection in your mind. Or simply assuming it's true. You have not proven anything except that it's "poor form". I have seen nothing about it being illegal, however. Unfortunately, this is turning into a big waste of time. I am in the process of replacing my images to wiki, and contacting site owners. I do thank you for the help.

  30. mathwriter
    Posted 5 years ago #

    The rule for all sites is that hotlinking is legal, and hosting is illegal. End of discussion. If you do not understand this still, please re-read the thread. For wiki, I already stated that either one is acceptable. No need for that link, if you actually read my post above it. Thank you again for trying to help.

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