zork - 3:08 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0) [edited by: zork at 3:22 pm (utc) on Apr 8, 2013]
I stand by my claim that we live in a new generation of file sharing and that you need to get on board or go down with the ship of the old gen.
The people here crying about their images being stolen just don't get it: whether you like it or not, whether it is legal or not, the sharing happens and will continue to happen as new and more advanced ways of sharing come out. Getting around copyright law is not the users' goal, sharing files is.
The second issue is that (due to the first issue of you distributing your images in the first place by placing them on your site for others to download) web crawlers exist. A web crawler is essentially a user: it visits your site and downloads the data from it, reads it in whatever way it wants and then does with it whatever it wants. That is how Google works, that is how most mashups work, etc.
Is it legal?
It's a gray area, as an extensive conversation with a copyright lawyer taught me a few months ago when I brought up mashups, Google and social network sites to him (and for the record, this is not the only copyright lawyer I've spoken to). The bottom line, he told me, was that as long as you are not ripping a website in its entirety (or even a substantial amount of content) and sticking to small blurbs and thumbnails, honoring *valid* DMCA requests, and producing a unique experience to the user that gives credit to the original source in a way that everyone can clearly see, you are essentially doing the same thing that thousands of web giants are doing which few judges will want to go down the route of questioning.
But, will the legality of it all stop it from happening?
ABSOLUTELY NOT. As I said above, most internet users don't care about laws, only their experience on the internet. The internet is still the wild west and, regardless of any laws that come about, people will continue to share share share. The simplest analogy I can make for anyone who still doesn't get it (and this is the analogy any lawyer will tell you) is to ask yourself how many times you've driven over the speed limit, parked in a spot you weren't supposed to, made a mixtape or CD for a friend, smoked a joint or had oral sex in a state that doesn't allow it, and never gotten caught? Laws don't stop the majority of people from committing crimes, they scare people into keeping their crimes at a minimum.
So I say again.. Once a user hits your site with your images on it, those images have been distributed by you. If you don't want your material distributed, you shouldn't put it on your site.
Until you learn that, you will forever be disgruntled, bogged down with sending DMCA notices and complaining about it on forums like this, and eventually you'll go out of business due to both consuming yourself with a war you will never win, but more importantly a lack of evolving with the rest of the internet.
[edited by: zork at 3:22 pm (utc) on Apr 8, 2013]