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OT: Why direct linking is a really bad idea

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  • OT: Why direct linking is a really bad idea

    I was going through my server logs recently and found a number of sites that are directly linking to my content. This is otherwise known as "deep linking" or "hot linking". It is a very poor practice and consumes bandwidth for which someone else is paying. It is especially bad when the site doing the stealing is a commercial site such as this one.



    You can find it here:

    http://ebookbrowse.com/gdoc.php?id=2...c62ecb3b6d13dc

    The content in question is a data sheet that explicitly allows non-commercial redistribution. It is in my datasheet archive here:

    http://ixian.ca/gallery

    I discovered that they have linked directly to a lot of my content so I wrote a short htaccess that cuts them (and others) off and replaces all access with the image above. I could be a lot less nice and get them in a lot of trouble. Think porn, for instance. In their case their system will display anything including an html page. That makes it trivial for me to write a page that would redirect to a child porn site. I would not be hosting the image or displaying it, only them.

    What idiots.
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  • #2
    lol nice.
    I recall a great story about someone who had an image they put up hot linked in dozens of (facebook? myspace? some such thing) page layouts that where being sold by 3rd partys (Stolen from his page layout, image locations included)
    He replaced the image with goatse and apparently goatse'd several thousand people.
    Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

    Comment


    • #3
      PSA - do not Google 'goatse'. If you do, be alone in the room.

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      • #4
        I have a few more images of varying degrees of, um... interest... Those go up if they continue for another week or so.
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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        • #5
          The practice of hot-linking content from one site to use on another is silly, if for no other reason than the site may be rearranged, breaking the link. After that you start talking about bandwidth, etc.

          What bugs me is folks who suggest something from a website, and provide a link........... which is nice, UNTIL you find that the link is simply to the home page of the site hosting what you were looking for......

          Now, for some things that isn't really bad..... But if you want to give someone a link to a document in, say, the Eaton Cutler-Hammer site (which you know they will use in a short time), there is nearly no way the person will ever find what they wanted..... you almost HAVE to deep-link to give them a fighting chance. (In case you don't know, Eaton is a huge company, and almost any search will come up with 50 hits, usually more like 500).

          Some sites set it up so you can NOT deep-link. Those are annoying for legitimate folks who want to point someone at the part they need, etc.
          1601

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan

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          • #6
            I've never figured out what the big deal is.

            If you want it private, put a password on it. If you make it public, the public will use it.

            If you have restricted bandwidth on your web site, then you should not post large files there for public consumption. Use instead an account that provides more bandwidth off a server at an ISP or cloud provider. You then hotlink to your pictures from your web site.

            It's not reasonable to think that you can post something with text on the page that restricts it's use. Among other things, most people do not read everything on every page that they look at, so chances are your restrictions will not be read.

            I use the simple expedient of posting pictures at an ISP that includes a few hundred MB of storage as part of the $6 a month dial up and email account. They expect me to set up a web page, but I just hotlink to my pictures there.

            Dan
            At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

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            • #7
              I've never figured out what the big deal is.
              Simple. My server is limited to 50 simultaneous connections. I put much of the content on the server for display here, not for some unrelated commercial site to leech from my server instead of serving from their server. If they use up my connections it affects my intended usage for which I am paying. Also, the images on my server are copyright. They require permission to distribute. Further, there is also copyright content that belongs to others that I use with permission. They do not have permission.

              If you make it public, the public will use it.
              The site that is leeching is not "the public". The public is free to search for the content and copy it themselves.

              If you have restricted bandwidth on your web site, then you should not post large files there for public consumption.
              I have unlimited storage and unlimited data transfer but nobody has unlimited bandwidth. That is why the server is restricted to 50 users. It maintains quality of service.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #8
                Some sites set it up so you can NOT deep-link. Those are annoying for legitimate folks who want to point someone at the part they need, etc.
                It is a matter for the site admin and owners to decide. It is their business. In my case the information I have restricted can still be deep linked from this site in other posts. This site is allowed to deep link anywhere on my site. If it were not I wouldn't be able to post pictures. If anyone else has a legitimate reason to link to my sites all they need to do is contact me and I will allow their site to link in with appropriate attribution and permission.
                Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Evan View Post
                  Originally posted by danlb
                  If you make it public, the public will use it.
                  The site that is leeching is not "the public". The public is free to search for the content and copy it themselves.
                  That is an interesting point of view. It is the public that is actually viewing the pictures, not some site. The sites don't download your pictures over and over. Some poor slob sitting at his computer is looking at them, and saying "wow, that's neat!" There is not much difference between that person and a participant of HSM.

                  But it's your choice to implement what you want to thwart those evil people who enjoy your work via some un-named commercial site while allowing the good guys doing the same thing via HSM to do exactly the same thing.

                  Dan
                  At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Evan View Post
                    I was going through my server logs recently and found a number of sites that are directly linking to my content. This is otherwise known as "deep linking" or "hot linking".
                    It is been called leeching for as long as I can remember. And that is what it is. We've used redirects to substitute another photo when the referrer site is not the current site. Sometimes that can backfire and the substitute becomes the item of interest. I've most frequently redirected to a static image of Rush Limbaugh from his site. He gets the publicity that way, and all it costs me is a htaccess redirect. I've occasionally redirected to an "image" that is actually a perl cgi script that generates an endless loop gif file. It will run until the visitor moves away or their browser crashes.

                    If a leeched object goes viral on Facebook or other social chasm it can tank your server(s). After 911 at a large stock photo site I worked at we had several images that did just that, and we thought we had a bullet-proof server farm behind Akamai caching services.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Evan View Post
                      If anyone else has a legitimate reason to link to my sites all they need to do is contact me and I will allow their site to link in with appropriate attribution and permission.
                      For you, sure... you aren't selling anything, and don't post data/catalogs/etc to which someone might need a referral.

                      For a commercial entity, when folks may need to refer someone (a client, perhaps) to data about a product on the commercial entity's site, which the "someone" may need to buy/rent/whatever from them, it is stupid and suicidal on their part to restrict linking.

                      Doing so means that either one must sieze the image by some means (screen capture if nothing else), OR give detailed instructions to the client on how to navigate to the page within the site. Both are such a pain that I make it a practice to boycott offending sites, to avoid referring anyone to such companies, if there is any other choice at all.
                      1601

                      Keep eye on ball.
                      Hashim Khan

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                      • #12
                        We've been around this roundhouse a few times. Evan's been very consistent on this topic. If I had images etc worth harvesting and I was concerned about IP or attribution, I'd probably 'shop the attribution directly into the image. There are a few different ways, some being hard to remove without spoiling the image.

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                        • #13
                          Making a mountain out of a mole hill. It's gonna happen anyways, part and parcel of what the internet is, and bandwidth isn't that much of an issue unless yahoo.com is hotlinking your images to their home page. The copyright issue you've got a point, but again, what can you do.
                          Gary


                          Appearance is Everything...

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tony Ennis View Post
                            ...I'd probably 'shop the attribution directly into the image...
                            This is the most expedient way to protect images. It only take about 10 lines of php to watermark images on the fly; no need to even run the images through photoshop.

                            If you're using mod_rewrite to capture the referer and cup-and-ball the image with another, you're not saving bandwidth. Your still serving out content to the end user. At least issue a redirect back to the referer's root domain, thus serving out the least content possible. Or simply 404 the request.

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                            • #15
                              Evan

                              An idea occurred to me. Maybe you could put a 'redirect' on those images/content and redirect them to your free gig of Google storage. Then you would only take performance hit for a small amount of headers and not for the images.

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