On Mar 31, 2006, at 12:44 AM, Jonathan Rochkind wrote:

> Those hypothetical teenage girls could have copied the image
> files and put them on their own web server. Instead, they
> are linking directly to the image files on Eric's server.
> Either way it would be a use of Eric's intellectual property
> (if it is his!); either way it would be allowed 'personal
> use' under Roy's policy for use of his IP.  But if so many
> people are linking to your files on your server (for their
> own purposes that have nothing to do with yours), that it
> causes bandwidth or CPU problems for you, that's what I'd be
> concerned about. They're kind of using your hardware as
> their own personal web server.
> Many websites will refuse to serve images to a request with an
> external referrer for just this reason.

Yep, this is exactly what is happening.

People are linking to images directly from my site. They are sort of
"hijacking" the images, and when loaded they use my hard disk, my
processing power, and my network connection to make it happen. This
reduces the amount of resources for my machine's more primary tasks.
Mind you, it would be difficult for me to measure the resource usage,
and as a librarian, I might say, "So what?" On the other hand
sometimes people make fun of me and my images. Other times the images
are put into an undesirable context too gross to even mention on a
mailing list.

Here is a less inocuous instance. Below is a URL. It describes some
sort of mortgage service. On the page is a picture of a house. I took
that picture and titled it "first home". When you search Google
Images for "first home" this picture shows up as item #2:

To what degree are the people at taking
advantage of me and the system? To what degree are the norms of
Internet behavior too new to determine the answer to that question?
What about those other people who link to me for "personal use?"
While it isn't scholarship, maybe I should be "cited" and have a link
back to my home page and be granted attribution. Does anybody else
remember an Internet adage that said, "If you don't want it copied,
then don't put it on the Internet."

These are things I wonder about.

Finally, I consider refusing to serving images to external
referrer's, but again, some of my professional ethics get in the way.
(BTW, how would I go about doing such a thing?)

Eric Morgan