JS_Harris - 8:32 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)
I'm not sure how to more clearly explain it than this:
- My images, and your images, and everyone's images are hotlinked by Google.com's image search engine. Your images, your servers and your bandwidth is used to display images to visitors on Google's website.
And I am not asking how to stop that from happening, I'm telling you that if you employ hotlink protection that your images will STILL be in Google image search however they will be linked from Google's copy on their own server instead. That solves the scraper problem as the cache copies are lower resolution and the source url scraper bots get from Google's copy is Google's, not yours.
Back on topic: To make hotlink protection work against Google you need to remove the blank referrer condition in htaccess, Google does not provide you with a referrer when loading your images for their visitors. Besides Google, who else might be affected by that?