Msg#: 4082539 posted 10:59 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)
I use the rewrite rules in the .htaccess file to replace the desired image with a different image when hot linked. I do this on a case by case basis as I find incidents of this. I might let it slide on a forum if there is also a reference to my site.
Msg#: 4082539 posted 12:57 am on Feb 18, 2010 (gmt 0)
Normally, hotlinking should be considered copyright theft. No matter how you consider it, the file is physically copied onto a client computer without permission. It should not matter that the copy is temporary (or even that it might only exist in memory) but this might be significant in some jurisdictions.
The most significant legal fact about inline linking, relative to copyright law considerations, is that the inline linker does not place a copy of the image file on its own Internet server. Rather, the inline linker places a pointer on its Internet server that points to the server on which the proprietor of the image has placed the image file. This pointer causes a user's browser to jump to the proprietor's server and fetch the image file to the user's computer. US courts have considered this a decisive fact in copyright analysis.
Thus, in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit explained why inline linking did not violate US copyright law: [read the article for more...]
Of course, there are many sources out there that are more authoritative than Wikipedia, so don't take their word for it...