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Location: California, United States

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Bandwidth Thieves

I really debated with myself about posting this acidic diatribe. But I won the argument (or lost, depending on your own half-full/half-empty view of life) and decided to vent a little bit.

There is a process called Hot-Linking. This is where a person on one website can display an image (or video or flash object) on their site that actually resides on another website that is not their own. Most all websites have a limit to the amount of traffic, or bandwidth, that they can handle. The site that has been hot-linked has to bear the bandwidth cost for the pirating site that is displaying their image. For the people or companies that own their own sites, this is considered bad form, rude, and yes, it amounts to theft. Pure & simple.

Since I have moved to my own site-location, I have a bit more control over the hot-linking issue. Yes, I hot-link myself. BUT I'm only hot-linking from my own site, and then most always for my participation in the few forums I suscribe to. I can also keep a close watch on my site to see who is trying to hot-link from me. Of course, the control I now exercise prohibits the image pirate from being successful at it. A broken image icon is the most they can expect out of my site.

IMHO, online forums and the MySpace site not only allow this kind of behavior, they actually encourage it. Well, not really encourage, but they don't seem to have any policy concerning hot-linking. Hot-linking is just plain rude behaviour. I'm being shoplifted behind my back, and these pirates somhow believe they have to RIGHT to do it.

Now if I'm contacted by somebody that asks me nicely if they can hot-link images from my site, I'd be much more inclined to work with them to produce something that would benefit us both. Heck, even if they were to copy/download/steal my images to their own site, I couldn't stop that. At least they wouldn't be a bandwidth vampire on my site. I don't have any outside advertising here, so that means that I pay for all of this myself.

heh heh! Just because I don't have any advertising, doesn't mean that there won't be. I just haven't been approached with anything yet that tempts me.

Anyway, since I've been keeping close tabs on the access to my site, I've amounted a small list of names that are trying to hot-link to me. And I'm gonna out them, too. Here's the list...

Paul Halpin - July 26, 2006 [Self-Loathing Comics #1]
Just trying to show a comic cover in his StumbleUpon site.

sympatheticdevil - July 28, 2006 [Cherry's Jubilee #1]
Trying to use the image as a forum avatar.

alfredo - July 28, 2006 [Oat Willie #1]
Part of a forum posting.

My Pet Robot - August 9, 2006 [American Splendor #16]
Announcing his acquisition of this comix by hot-linking mine.

Seattle Hempfest 2006 - August 18, 2006 [Hemp for Victory]
Showing a collection of hemp related images. Probably ALL of them hot-linked.

billyleopard - August 27, 2006 [Every Cherry Poptart cover I've got]
His homage to a defunct comic store.
Apparently after seeing that his theft wasn't working, he removed that post.

C'mon folks. Ask nice. I'm a reasonable guy. But I'm not a Caspar Milquetoast.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What did you draw the Cherry Poptart covers or something? Or did you scan in copies you own? Gee, sorry if I gave you free publicity. I make no money on the myspace site... so, I'm not really seeing the theft thing... unless you want people to pay you for jpgs or something, which is kinda lame.

Love Ya, Billy

1:01 PM  
Blogger Sir Real said...

Heya Billy,
Let me see if I can clear up some misconceptions and make things clearer...

No, I did not draw the Cherry Poptart covers, and I did scan in copies that I own. If I remember correctly, you did not give me any free publicity. I usually check the html code very closely. I don't make any money on my site, either. But, then again, you're on MySpace, so you're not paying anything for your site. I, however, do pay for my webspace. As with any hosted site, I pay for how much traffic is pulled from my site per month. Simply put, if 100 people look at a single image that is 100k in size, then that amounts to 10mb's of traffic. I have a limit of how many megabytes, or gigabytes (every hosting site has different levels) that I'm allowed to use each month. The theft part comes in when that image is being linked from another site. Suddenly that 10mb of traffic, which I paid for, is being used behind my back, without my permission or knowledge. Read the Wikipedia entry on Hot-Linking for a more in-depth look at it.

And no, I don't want or expect people to pay me for the jpg's. That is kinda lame. For those that want to use the images on my site, you've got two options...

1. Steal them! That's right, just go ahead and take them. Its not difficult to do. Right-click on the picture, and save to your local computer. From there you can upload it somewhere else, resize it, anything you like. I don't really have a problem with that.

2. Hot-Link with Permission! Just ask me. I'll set up a special folder so you can do just that. The only thing I ask in return is to make the images that you're using href back to the comix-page where they came from. That's all. This way I can monitor exactly the bandwidth that you're pulling. Of course, if your site gets wildly net-popular, and the bandwidth that is being pulled begins to infringe on my own use, we'd have to renegotiate that use.

So, that's it in a nutshell. So c'mon, ask me. I don't really mind.

2:00 PM  

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