Is an LJ image feed bandwidth theft?
October 6, 2004 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Is an LJ image feed bandwidth theft?
posted by brownpau to Computers & Internet (21 answers total)

The term "bandwidth theft," like spam, has become so overused that it's nearly meaningless. If you don't want people to link to it, don't put it on teh Intarweb.
posted by keswick at 10:43 AM on October 6, 2004

spam has a very definite meaning, as does bandwidth theft. it's very simple: don't send people unsolicited email, don't hotlink to an image that's not on your server. how has "overuse" diminished these definitions?

Can you define "LJ image feed"?
posted by jpoulos at 10:55 AM on October 6, 2004

[expletive-laden reply deleted because i don't feel like banging my head against the wall today.]
posted by keswick at 11:07 AM on October 6, 2004

Rephrased: When an LJ image feed (such as filmgoerjuan's) hotlinks people's images, do they have a right to complain about their images and bandwidth being leeched by a script which is a hotlinker by design?
posted by brownpau at 11:11 AM on October 6, 2004

If they're bandwidth theft, then so is So, no.
posted by ook at 11:19 AM on October 6, 2004

The problem isn't linking, the problem is inline images such as the website linked above. I think I only ever saw one LJ image feed that used actual links rather than inline image leeching. Nowadays when you post 1 image on livejournal you can sometimes have 50 of these feed websites all piling on and leeching the image within seconds of it being posted.

And it's funny how this "great" script started spreading on websites such as metafilter where one would think people are more considerate when it comes to things like image leeching.

So anyway yes, it is. I host lj images for a number of friends and it became an orgy of leeching. I ban all feed sites.
posted by yupislyr at 11:19 AM on October 6, 2004

Those aren't just hotlinked--which means they are posted with an active link back to the site from which they come--but they are source-linked--meaning that they also pull the image from the original source site. The latter is the problem; hotlinking mitigates it, a tiny bit, by at least allowing people to visit the source.

Is it bandwidth theft? No. Is discourteous? Yes. Is filmgoerjuan destined to get a bunch of nasty images showing on his feed as soon as people realize what's happening? Yes.

I have this problem myself. An image posted on my web site two years ago is linked to by another web site which source-linked it, with no hotlink. I asked for the guy to just copy the image onto his own site and link to that, but he didn't respond. So I just replaced the image he was linking to with a huge (pixel-wise, not KB-wise) advertisement for my own site.

What I really want, though, is a way to force all visitors to his page to auto-direct to my site (or something), but I don't know a way to inject that kind of code into an image.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:24 AM on October 6, 2004

It's not nearly as bad as when a LJ kid uses one your photos as a background image on their journal. That's serious leeching.
posted by smackfu at 11:25 AM on October 6, 2004

If google does it, it must be correct!

Google is different though. They capture your images and have their own local thumbnail copies. It isn't until you start clicking on pictures that you begin to use the original sites bandwidth. Which would certainly make the LJ image feeds more acceptable.
posted by yupislyr at 11:25 AM on October 6, 2004 doesn’t link your images inline, it displays a thumbnail that is stored on their server and provides a link to the page with the original image. It’s quite a different beast. And if you don’t want you images showing up on all it takes is a simple robots.txt.

On preview, what yupislyr said.
posted by Tenuki at 11:28 AM on October 6, 2004

If they're bandwidth theft, then so is So, no.

But caches the thumbnails, until you actually go to the page that contains the image.
posted by kindall at 11:29 AM on October 6, 2004

As a matter of counter-example, IRC Images (Most likely NSFW after the warning page that really isn't kidding) culls images from IRC channels and don't hotlink. They say "images are cached locally to prevent dead links, speed up load times, remove viruses, and prevent hotlinking."
posted by revgeorge at 11:36 AM on October 6, 2004

I don’t really consider it bandwidth theft, but it can lead to it. I have several people hosting images on my website and from time to time something that gets picked up by the LJ image feed is posted to multiple forums. That’s when bandwidth really starts to take a hit.
posted by Tenuki at 11:36 AM on October 6, 2004

I stand corrected. Thrice. Forgot about google's local cache.

On the other hand, these feeds link to (and display inline) each image only once, and all the ones I've seen clearly identify where the images came from (generally by linking to the site in question). I have a hard time seeing how that could be construed as bandwidth theft (which I always interpreted as displaying someone else's image as though it were part of your own site, like what smackfu describes).

Even if there are enough of these feeds that it becomes a bandwidth problem for the people hosting the images -- which it sounds like there are -- it still sounds more like a variation on slashdotting than "theft". A hairsplitting distinction, I realize.
posted by ook at 11:46 AM on October 6, 2004

I have one on my site which used to get a lot of traffic, however that's down to a few hundred reloads a day.

I have my email address on it so people can complain, however never received a single complaint.
posted by sebas at 11:50 AM on October 6, 2004

Mo Nickels, here's what you need to read up on. HTH!
posted by shepd at 12:27 PM on October 6, 2004

Keswick is wrong.
posted by websavvy at 12:46 PM on October 6, 2004

keswick is right.

If you put a picture on the web for all to see, then don't be surprised when people actually want to see it. This is oversimplified, but as a rule of thumb: as long as nobody is passing off your work as their own, but is instead linking back to your page, then it's fine.
posted by gd779 at 1:10 PM on October 6, 2004

It's not bandwidth theft but it is impolite I suppose. But that's what was invented for!
posted by substrate at 1:13 PM on October 6, 2004

I get upset when images presented within an intended context are used elsewhere (usually without permission). Also, when images start getting used on other sites without permission or links to the original site, they become anonymous, almost like generic clip art. This is VERY impolite in my opinion, bandwidth or not.
posted by ig at 2:12 PM on October 6, 2004

A few points of clarification:

1) The script that brownpau linked is intended only for my use (and of friends who don't have webspace of their own). I don't link it anywhere on my site and don't brand it as my "content" in any way.

2) It only fetches images when it's loaded, it's not run at any other time.

3) Each image loaded acts as a link to the LJ post the image comes from.

4) It uses a publicly available feed *provided by LiveJournal*.

I could see if I/others were hotlinking images onto a blog or some other page that there'd be an uproar about bandwidth theft.

Is filmgoerjuan destined to get a bunch of nasty images showing on his feed as soon as people realize what's happening? Yes.

Quite frankly, I don't care, it's not something I'm putting out there for public use where I'd be worried if someone associated an image on there with my site. God knows there's enough disturbing links on the Internet (and LiveJournal in particular) that someone goatse-ing an image on that feed would seem mild in comparison. And as I've said, I don't make this link public (thanks, brownpau) and it's not intended to be anything other than a convenient way to view the recent images feed *provided by LiveJournal themselves*.
posted by filmgoerjuan at 2:22 PM on October 6, 2004

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