Tom over at themediadrop has been scratching his head about hotlinking lately. Why is it that sites such as the heavily trafficated Drudge report gets away with both bandwidth theft (in the form of hotlinking) and copyright infringement when little known blogs would get kicked off their webhosts for less? In his post "Hotlinking: It's obviously legit, right? (wrong.)" he shares some comments he received when he asked about the practice at the newspapers that Drudge was hotlinking to. A Times spokesperson got back to the Media Drop with the reply: "We took a look but Mr. Drudge had no photos up in the manner you had described in your e-mail." revealing their pale grasp of how the web works, not viewing the source or right-clicking an image to see it's "properties".
The images Drudge showed from the Times were hosted at the Times website, infringing the photographers copyright (and/or the papers) and piggy-backing on their bandwidth in one go. That is, unless Drudge had permission to do so, which none of the papers asked said that he had.
Previously Tom Tomorrow slammed Drudge for nicking images off his site here, which we all know is a no-no, don't we?
It doesn't end there though, the site ArtYears.com seems to be stealing all of their content from other sites! What an original business idea! Saves a great deal of time when one doesn't have to create any content or fuss with scans, even the site design looks like a screenshot from the Panther release of OSX.
Films are from AdAge, with the watermark intact and articles like this one about caring for freelancers are copy-pasted straight from CreativePro, and despite having this blatant disregard of their own copyright notice pointed out to them, CreativePro doesn't seem to care one bit. Don't we feel like schmucks for doing the right thing and simply linking to their articles. Adage seems to care less as well, no C&D's have been sent to ArtYears yet.
Is this the green light for everyone out there to simply steal all watermarked films from the big sites and re-host them elsewhere? Couple it with some google-text ads and you might even make cold hard cash on other peoples content. What a deal!
It's a sad day when the infamous quote from the News Editor of The Daily Star "You can't copyright anything on the internet." begins to ring true only because the old media big guns couldn't care less - or simply don't understand - that they can and should protect their rights to their own bandwidth and their own content. AP photographs grace tens of thousands of blogs in hotlinked form and the photographers never see their paycheck for it - all the while AP pays for the bandwidth spent.
Dictionary: Hotlinking - the practice of embedding a file (jpg, mov, mp3) into your webpage that is actually hosted on someone elses page - thus using up the bandwidth from the other page to serve said file, leaving them to foot the bill. The long word for regular text-links that take you to another web page were called hyperlinks last time we checked.
See also Hotlink in the Wikipedia.