This is something we feel very strongly about and many people don't know that is wrong, or even what it is, so we're going to explain. Any time you link to another person's graphic that is not inside your own website, and that in the HTML you call as:
You are being bandwidth bandit! What should be seen is:
<IMG SRC="picture.gif"> or <IMG SRC="pics/picture.gif">
or anything else, as long as it is inside your own site, not linked from another. Some things must be linked to, and you are given permission to do so, for example, a counter on your website. As long as you have permission, it is OK.
Many webspace providers charge more to its customers (like the A11 Clipart Network), when more bandwidth gets used within a monthly period. Bandwidth is really just a technical term for the amount of data being transferred between their files and someone else's. The fees are sent to the original site owner, not the person directly linking. These fees, depending on the popularity of the site, and the price of the provider, can reach into the thousands of dollars.
Now, take a moment to think about what this could mean to the website who's work is being taken. For example if our graphics site gets 1000 visitors/week and 1/10 of the visitors link to our graphics, and take only two images (we'll be fair in this estimate, but there are some that directly link to 10 or more), and the sites that direct file link get 100 visitors/week... That week's hits alone on the our site goes to 20,000 hits that they we get absolutely nothing for, except a higher server bill! This will not be tolerated in any way!
OK, How can I do it properly?
PC-Users: right-click on any image that you want, move down to "Save Image as..." and click the left mouse button.
Mac-Users: click and hold on the image you want, move down the menu to "Save Image as..." and release the mouse button.
Either way, you'll get a box asking where you would like to store it, choose whichever file you'd like.
Feel free to rename the image if you want, but be sure not to change the file name ending (.gif or .jpg). To upload them to your own webpage, simply send them as you would your other files, either by browser or FTP.
(AOL users, make sure you don't have the file compression feature enabled, visit Web Guard for more info on how to fix that.
What's in it for me?
Beyond the obvious advantage of having art work available..PLENTY!!
First of all, most webspace providers don't allow bandwidth theft, and you can lose your site instantly. We have a direct file link notification program running continuously, that reports sites directly linking to our images. We will eventually be contacting you or your site's administrators in regards to this, so save this from happening and from losing your account, by not directly link to our images.
It will slow down your page because it has to go farther to get that information. People have a very short attention span, and aren't likely to wait more than about 20 second for a page to load.
If the original site changes their path or deletes the picture you will just have a broken graphic image on a page you probably worked very hard on. With no way of getting that graphic that you must have liked enough to want on your site in the first place.
Not only that, but many are capable of finding out which graphic has been snatched (as we pointed out above), and they may just put another graphic in the same spot with the same name and you could get a very nasty surprise. Many people, ourselves included, will send a picture up that says exactly what you did and where the original graphic came from.
Last but, very much not least, if you use someone else's files without permission, they can always sue if they are particularly angry about it. (It has been done)
HELP! I think I've been thieved!!
If you suspect you may have a problem of people linking to your graphics, here's an easy way to find out who and where, go to AltaVista Search engine and type: image:www.yoursite.com in the search box. It will give you more than enough info to track them down. It will, however, only tell you about sites that are listed in the AltaVista search files. For other ways to defend yourself, contact your web hosting company and inquire if they have the Apache Web Server mod_rewrite module installed. This module is what we use to prevent other sites from successfully directly linking to our images, and stealing our bandwidth.
Now that you understand the importance of this, the solution is simple... please don't directly link to images. Thank you very much for reading this whole page. If you want more information, or want to spread the word about this, please email us.
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