Sgt_Kickaxe - 7:29 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)
What others do can and does impact your site, regardless of what you've heard.
example: If you hotlink a competitors image onto a domain that has content which requires safe search to be off to see the image falls from the 'safe search moderate' setting to the 'safe search off' setting for BOTH sites. Regular visitors with the default safe search moderate setting will no longer see the image, regardless of what's on it.
I don't know how long that change lasts or if Google does further investigation, but it does knock the image out of the default results completely, still.
I refuse to turn off hotlink protection off because of that.