Support » Everything else WordPress » Linking to other people's images? Allowed?

  • 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??

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  • 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.



    Forum Moderator

    It’s considered highly unethical.

    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?

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.



    Forum Moderator

    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.

    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.

    Hotlinking is illegal without permission.


    That’s theft.

    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 which case you still need to check the licenses.)

    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.

    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.



    Forum Moderator

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

    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.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 30 total)
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