I don’t enjoy tracking hotlinks to my image files nor exchaning hotlinked image files with the default “STUPID BANDWIDTH THIEF” image I store for these very occurences. Worst of all, when image files that I host are hotlinked and are of a Christian content, I have been allowing those to linger here without complaint — after a bit of examination of conscience today, I decided to no longer allow these Christian-content hotlinks to remain intact while making complaint known about all other image files, concluding that it’s worse when the hotlinkers (or, bandwidth thieves) present as Christian and worse, too, that their actions remain uncriticised, unremedied (meaning, that I’ve been tolerating them all this time and I now conclude it’s not credible to do so, that whoever hotlinks ANY image file should stop it).
My image files have — literally — been hotlinked many thousands of times and for every single hotlinked image file, I have to: (1.) modify file names on the original hotlinked file; (2.) track down the original publish date and modify my own links; and, (3.) upload the replacement default BANDWIDTH THIEF image file.
It requires a lot of daily work to remedy the theft by others and it’s remarkable to me how many people either hotlink without regard for whoever hosts a file (not to mention reprint restrictions and/or requirements but hotlinking is never acceptable, regardless) and/or are unknowledgeable that their hotlinking is theft. And it’s “daily work” because of the extent of the ongoing hotlinks — daily, multiple image files, year ’round. If I let it go even for a few days, I reapproach the site stats and discover many dozens more hotlinks and then there’s even more work required to remedy the problem, when and as possible.
Accounts on myspace.com are the most notorious as to hotlinking, followed by various forums where the thieves seem to congregate behind forum mismanagement (or no management at all, which is the case with most forums, in my experience with this issue). While myspace.com does follow-up with complaints about hotlinks, I still have to go through a lot of work to modify each and every hotlink, write to myspace.com and then wait for them to remove the hotlink — at least they respond to the emailed requests and take actions once complaints are made but the activity is the highest volume with myspace users and I have no idea why that is, other than the domain hosts a whole lot of irresponsible users.
There’s some issue with the MovableType site templates that this site uses for publishing that prevents the correct display of the site templates when I disallow hotlinking on the server that hosts this site — and so far, I have no idea why that is — and, the hotlink prevention setting on my server also competes with my site’s .htaccess file, so I can’t take advantage of my server’s hotlink-prevention method while simultaneously also enabling a .htaccess file (and I opt to protect the .htaccess file instead, since chosing between the two functions is currently necessary — again, I don’t know why but that’s the case).
One tart forum responded to a complaint about a hotlink on their domain with advising me to enable hotlink protection (see above), while, the point seems to me that people are engaged in theft when they hotlink and it’s bad behavior and should not be tolerated on the internet (and I know very few sites that do tolerate it, but many of us, as I do at times, just live with it until it becomes rampant and in my site’s case, the problem is rampant, particularly by forums and myspace.com). I understand that it’s every site’s responsibility to manage it’s own content, but with hotlinking, it’s just downright foolish, inconsiderate behavior by careless people who see an image and snag the host’s link without regard for their own, individual image hosting requirements. It’s the work of people who don’t account for their own expenses and worse, don’t seem to consider who is paying for them.
In my experience, hotlinking is present on many forums because they’re not moderated nor even attended to by whoever alleges to register the domain. I make this statement because many forums — the vast majority of them that I’ve attempted to contact — post false domain registration information and don’t provide accurate contact information on their sites otherwise. Thus, the users of many of these irresponsible hangouts post whatever from wherever without regard for whose content it is nor who is hosting the files, and especially not with permissions to hotlink, if such a thing even exists.
Thus, the story as to the huge problem that hotlinking of my image files creates. If I was to publish the vast extent of the hotlinks here, perhaps I’d make my point visually by hotlink volume but what’s the point: the fault lies with irresponsible use of the internet by reckless and/or careless users. I just wish they’d knock it off.