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Hotlinking to a copyrighted image?

 9:05 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have an image on my site that I created, and it's copyrighted. If someone is hotlinking to that image, is that a violation of copyright?

Thanks for any replies.



 9:29 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes, copyright violation and bandwidth theft.
I would swap it out by file name for a big hairy butt image or block the hot linking with .htaccess.


 9:54 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I believe that the answer is no. That's unless you're in the Netherlands where it has apparently been ruled (just recently) that hotlinking is indeed an infringement.


 10:23 pm on Feb 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Copyright will depend on local law.
Substitute a picture of a person without any clothes on and complain to the site's hosting service about the "adult" content.


 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.


 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.



 9:20 am on Feb 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Dickbaker, I'm presuming that you're in the USA. If not, my apologies.

Two pages from Wikipedia shed some light on the subject of copyright relative to linking and hotlinking:



The latter states that:

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.,[5] 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...

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