Why you shouldn’t hotlink pictures – ZDnet France busted

Disclaimer: Probably somewhat NSFW (not suitable for work). Very mildy in any case. A French reporter for ZDnet France named Laurent Dupin has been busted for hotlinking images from Bryant Choung. Apparently, Bryant had this nice XBOX image that was being used because the ZDNet reporter was either too lazy to actually host the picture on the ZDnet servers or didn’t know how (if so, then he shouldn’t be working for ZDnet).
Amusingly enough, Bryant had the last laugh replacing the XBOX image with Laurent’s face on a … well.. just go to Bryant’s site to see what he did to ZDnet.
BryantChoung < ZDNet.FR

  • Choung site is copyrighted. Are you suggesting that Dupin should have copied Choung’s copyrighted picture to ZDnet servers?

  • Choung site is copyrighted. Are you suggesting that Dupin should have copied Choung’s copyrighted picture to ZDnet servers?

  • Nope. hotlinking is when you do an img tag with the URL in it from someone else and thereby using directing the image bandwidth to the other user. In all technicality, this opens you up to litigation for bandwidth theft if you ever generated enough traffic.
    ZDnet France hotlinked an XBOX360 image from Bryant Choung. So instead of chasing after it with litigation, they replaced the image.

  • darkmoon

    Nope. hotlinking is when you do an img tag with the URL in it from someone else and thereby using directing the image bandwidth to the other user. In all technicality, this opens you up to litigation for bandwidth theft if you ever generated enough traffic.
    ZDnet France hotlinked an XBOX360 image from Bryant Choung. So instead of chasing after it with litigation, they replaced the image.

  • Laurent DUPIN

    Thanks for your technical advice, about what one’s got to know on IT matters in an internet media. Don’t know this allow to give a kind of HR advice…
    My answer to BC, as it was put on his blog on the 22/12 :
    “Hi everybody, I must say that reading all the comments here took me some time… Here is my answer to Bryant, and to the rest of you who have followed this (long) story.
    – First of all, sorry for any trouble created on your server Bryant. I was calling the image from your server because of a bad use of the edit system, without knowing precisely the consequences of the “click” button for “image to add”. In this case, there was no intentional “leaching”. I used many others platforms before, on personal blogs, and never had any problem nor complaint on that point & servers matters…
    – About my so called lack of reaction, just notice it is Christmas time, and that I am on vacation, not connected all time.
    – Also, there are many other ways to inform us about the situation, like sending a mail to me or directly to ZDNet.fr, or adding a proper comment to the page. You could have chosen that, and we would have reach back to you immediatly.
    – Concerning insults & violent comments (you keep online on your blog) about French people & others… my god, what could I say to those types of arguments…? Just thanks to your readers who posted more peaceful & rational comments.
    If you would read french, you would see in the post & in the whole blog that my goal is to talk about IT news and behaviours. Your feedback would have been appreciated in this case; in lack of that step, thanks already for giving me inspiration for my next thoughts upon the IT community.
    I hope now that the situation is clear for both of us.”

  • Laurent DUPIN

    Thanks for your technical advice, about what one’s got to know on IT matters in an internet media. Don’t know this allow to give a kind of HR advice…
    My answer to BC, as it was put on his blog on the 22/12 :
    “Hi everybody, I must say that reading all the comments here took me some time… Here is my answer to Bryant, and to the rest of you who have followed this (long) story.
    – First of all, sorry for any trouble created on your server Bryant. I was calling the image from your server because of a bad use of the edit system, without knowing precisely the consequences of the “click” button for “image to add”. In this case, there was no intentional “leaching”. I used many others platforms before, on personal blogs, and never had any problem nor complaint on that point & servers matters…
    – About my so called lack of reaction, just notice it is Christmas time, and that I am on vacation, not connected all time.
    – Also, there are many other ways to inform us about the situation, like sending a mail to me or directly to ZDNet.fr, or adding a proper comment to the page. You could have chosen that, and we would have reach back to you immediatly.
    – Concerning insults & violent comments (you keep online on your blog) about French people & others… my god, what could I say to those types of arguments…? Just thanks to your readers who posted more peaceful & rational comments.
    If you would read french, you would see in the post & in the whole blog that my goal is to talk about IT news and behaviours. Your feedback would have been appreciated in this case; in lack of that step, thanks already for giving me inspiration for my next thoughts upon the IT community.
    I hope now that the situation is clear for both of us.”

  • So, no copying images to one’s own server and no hotlinking — unless I’m missing something, your position seems to disallow any kind of excerpting that includes images. Yes? No?

  • So, no copying images to one’s own server and no hotlinking — unless I’m missing something, your position seems to disallow any kind of excerpting that includes images. Yes? No?

  • No. Two different issues. Sue brought up a totally different issue on OWOV. What OWOV is doing currently is taking care of copyright by giving credit to those that took the picture.
    Hotlinking is bandwidth theft. OWOV still does that.
    So in essence, you have to give credit where it’s due for pictures, but also copying them to your server to host the image if it’s available for PD use. CNN and the rest of the news sites have watermarks, so they’re PD but credit should still be given. Hotlinking shouldn’t be done ever. I’m not saying that no one’s ever committed it (since I have) but I wouldn’t on any sort of growth site unless you’re looking to get busted (either in lawsuit, or shock like ZDnet France)

  • darkmoon

    No. Two different issues. Sue brought up a totally different issue on OWOV. What OWOV is doing currently is taking care of copyright by giving credit to those that took the picture.
    Hotlinking is bandwidth theft. OWOV still does that.
    So in essence, you have to give credit where it’s due for pictures, but also copying them to your server to host the image if it’s available for PD use. CNN and the rest of the news sites have watermarks, so they’re PD but credit should still be given. Hotlinking shouldn’t be done ever. I’m not saying that no one’s ever committed it (since I have) but I wouldn’t on any sort of growth site unless you’re looking to get busted (either in lawsuit, or shock like ZDnet France)

  • Simply giving credit does not absolve one of copyright restrictions. In fact, I’d venture to say one is more likely to get sued for copying an image to one’s server than for hotlinking. Hotlinking is not against the law.

  • Simply giving credit does not absolve one of copyright restrictions. In fact, I’d venture to say one is more likely to get sued for copying an image to one’s server than for hotlinking. Hotlinking is not against the law.

  • You’re completely missing the point. I said “if it’s for PD use”. You give credit when it’s in the public domain. Just like you give credit due to bloggers when journalists rip their stories.
    Hotlinking is unethical. Most hotlinking issues get shadowed by copyright so legality of it becomes intellectual property.
    Of course, since doesn’t seem to matter for some, I’m calling a few friends at EFF to find out if and which laws would cover a topic such as hotlinking.

  • darkmoon

    You’re completely missing the point. I said “if it’s for PD use”. You give credit when it’s in the public domain. Just like you give credit due to bloggers when journalists rip their stories.
    Hotlinking is unethical. Most hotlinking issues get shadowed by copyright so legality of it becomes intellectual property.
    Of course, since doesn’t seem to matter for some, I’m calling a few friends at EFF to find out if and which laws would cover a topic such as hotlinking.

  • Here we go. Cory says that it’s not illegal or immoral.
    I still say that you could still win the argument of theft depending on traffic usage since cybercrime is in its infancy at best. But that’s up to a good attorney and how the law is worded. As far as I can tell from US federal code, there is nothing that pertains to bandwidth theft.
    Totally unethical imho, but oh well. I suppose some people don’t really care about ethics in this day and age.

  • darkmoon

    Here we go. Cory says that it’s not illegal or immoral.
    I still say that you could still win the argument of theft depending on traffic usage since cybercrime is in its infancy at best. But that’s up to a good attorney and how the law is worded. As far as I can tell from US federal code, there is nothing that pertains to bandwidth theft.
    Totally unethical imho, but oh well. I suppose some people don’t really care about ethics in this day and age.