A New York Liberty Blog

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Discontinuing Hotlinking

Performance Piece to come later. This is something on a different note.

As a new blogger, I am unaware of a lot of protocol (both literal and figurative) for what goes and what doesn't go on the web. Due to this, I have stepped on a few toes here and there, but most of the people who I have crossed were gracious enough to point out what I was doing as a mistake of a newb and let it go at that. I've removed a few images, edited a few things here and there, and things are at a good point.

However, I only recently became aware of the term "hot-linking." For those not in the know, hot-linking refers to directly linking a piece of media (in my case, images) from another site while bypassing the original site. I did not know that what I was doing was specifically called "hot-linking" nor that it pisses so many people off. However, I now am, and must consider the ramifications.

The reasons for the anger on the part of many are two-fold. One, it steals bandwith from another site. It's not that big a deal on Blogger, where it's all free as long as one doesn't exceed a certain limit, but on other sites that people pay for (usually in terms of monthly usage), it can place an unasked burden upon the webmasters. Two, it bypasses what a person may be saying about a certain image as well as possibly infringing on their copyright.

This was purposely designed by the creators of HTML. They wanted the internet to be a forum for knowledge, where one can give and receive information for the purposes of advancement, amusement, and betterment, without specific ideas of profit forced upon it (the internet has evolved to a different point, but that's an argument for later). Because of this, I am not sure that I entirely oppose hot-linking, in that the internet is supposed to be about the free exchange of ideas and that what is posted is free game. Few amateur websites "own" the photos they place on their website (in terms of copyright), but copy and paste them for their own purposes. This certainly (to me) makes calls of intellectual property theft (problem number two, above) ring hollow.

However, I do not like the idea of making people spend more for their hobby (in bandwith usage) so that I can be funny and lazy. It takes a lot longer (and is more involved) to post one's own uploaded images on Blogger, which is why my early posts (before I learned about hot-linking) tended to be more concise. I simply didn't (and don't now) have the time to find, save, crop, and upload a huge amount of images. I found out how to directly link to images, I discovered that my productivity could increase several fold while actually cutting down on time posting. As a Christian (a Friend, specifically), however, I am uncomfortable with the idea of stealing and making people angry when I am perfectly capable of an alternative means. I am not worried about being sued, but I don't want to cost people money without compensation, both monetarily and intellectually.

Henceforth, then, I will discontinue hot-linking. Images I post will now come directly from my own bandwith allowance from Blogger. My posts will thus be more wordy, shorter, and without pictures, but I cannot, in good conscience, continue my practice of this term until something a little more permanent (legally and ethically) comes about. I will not take down older posts with hot-linked images in them at this moment, but I will allow them to scroll off my front page until one can only view them via the Archive. This will decrease bandwith usage for others without making a scar on the site. When the season is over (only a few weeks away), I will decide between taking down all of the images (when I have the time to do so) and either replacing them with jpegs of my own or leaving them off the site permanently. If this site continues in the next season (and with the amount of people viewing, there's a strong possibility of that occuring), I might chalk this season up as a learning experience, wipe it all from the site, and start over again.

I will continue posting, so don't worry about that. My site will evolve, however, to meet this new format. Based on what I am now allowed to do, it could become more serious (something the Liberty desperately need, as mainstream coverage is slim), or it could stay funny, but in a more text-based (and thus, dry) way. It could be something completely different, but that's neither here nor there. As the season is almost over, it doesn't matter much in the short term, but in the long term, it means (at least, to me) a great deal.

Once again, Performance Piece up in a bit. Until then?

See ya, Space Cowboy...


m3 said...

Although they do not store the images forever, you could use Photobucket or ImageShack to "transload" the images. You find the image you want, get its address, paste it into PB, click a button, and it goes and gets the image and stores it on its own servers. Then it gives you a new address to use, and voila, you're not stealing anyone's bandwidth. Both sites are free, and the process takes like 10 seconds max.

Maybe you could use those sites during the season when you're actively posting, and then do the whole download-crop-upload-to-Blogger thing during the offseason. A pain in the a&& to be sure, but a more permanent solution as long as you're not overly concerned about the copyright issues.

Rebecca said...

I do appreciate the less image-heavy posts to come. I admit that I skim a lot more than I read when you do the image-heavy posts because it's so much harder to find actual content.

In accordance with the Fair Use Copyright Law, The Libertine uses logos and registered trademarks of the WNBA to inform fans (and the public at large). Not all photos on the rest of the site, however, are used with permission. If you own a specific image on this site, and want it removed, please e-mail The Writer (stf210@hotmail.com, but please include "Libertine" in the title; otherwise, it will be deleted) and he will be more than happy to remove it, with apologies. The Libertine is a non-profit blog.