Why is unauthorized hotlinking wrong?
There are many reasons but the simplest is
this: it is theft. It is theft on two levels.
It costs someone money just to have a file
sitting on the internet. It doesn't matter if it's a pdf,
mp3, or .html file. If I want to park it on the net, I need
to find a place to park it. Most of the time, it costs money
to park it. I pay more for a bigger parking space.
But another thing I pay for is 'bandwidth'.
Every time someone looks at an image, downloads an mp3 file,
or opens an html web page, it uses bandwidth. Sometimes,
when a predetermined amount of purchased bandwidth is
exceeded, the site essentially shuts down for a time.
Sometimes, when that predetermined amount is exceeded, a
'overdraft protection' kicks in and more is added at a
If an image on my site is being displayed in
someone's footer at a forum somewhere, my site is charged
for bandwidth usage everytime that footer is displayed.
Everytime you view a post with a hotlinked picture in it,
you just depleted some of that remote site's allotted
If the image you are hotlinking to was an
original creation, then hotlinking is stealing their
'creation'. It might be hard to imagine this as theft if
your living is not made by the sale of your creative
talents. But if the item you create is a product of an
investment on your part of education, practice, time, and
experience, then you should have the final say in how that
product is used, where it's used, and to what benefit that
use is to you.
Some of the benefit a creator might achieve
is to have people visiting their site... increased traffic,
so to speak. Even if you credit the originator of the
item/image, the display of their
work does not result in
this increased traffic on their site. You want people 'in
the store' and looking around.
But... but... everyone does it:
Well, everyone doesn't do it and TORn asks
that you not do it. I leave the rest up to you. There are
many things you can 'get away with' in life... matters in
which you have to police yourself. This is just one of them.