My blog was hacked. It's been devastating, a huge mess and in working on the clean-up... one thing I am dealing with is several websites are "using" (actually STEALING since I never gave permission) my images. I spend more time formatting my blog images than I do writing so when people use them with out my permission (usually not even linking/crediting my blog) it's very upsetting. And illegal! If I do use stock photography, not that that makes it OK to take, I have paid for it.
Just becasue something is on the web, does not mean it's "public domain" and free for the taking. It's not something that is done maliciously but it's common and something that is probably happening to a lot of you (or you are unknowingly doing it). So I wanted to to start a thread here about it. Many of us have pics of our kids in our blogs so those images are especially important to protect. I've read many member posts who were really upset about discovering their childrens images were being used on other peoples posts! I'd be sick if I found that.What is hotlinking?
If you take an image from a website and use it on your blog or website, using the same image URL as where you found it, you are hotlinking (in addition to other naughty things if you don't have permission). Hotlinking is also referred to as bandwidth theft. For my blog, I pay a monthly hosting fee for a certain amount of bandwidth. When someone hotlinks one of my graphics, they are stealing my bandwidth. So, yes it is theft.
One way to deal with this, if your feeling saucy, is to switch out the image that's being hotlinked with something else. Here is an excellent post about detering hotlinking with a very creative solution from DavidAirey.Com
. Here's someone
who found their images on Ebay and what he did.
For a more traditional way, use your .htaccess file or cpanel (if your hosting package gives you acess to it). For me, I allow people to use my badge (given in html form) so I didn't want to completly disallow all hotlinking. I just want to dissallow certain domains who were making a habbit of lifting my images and a few who had completly copied my sites template. So I followed this tutorial
which also gives instructions on redirecting hotlinked images with a different image.
If you want to block all access from outside domains and have a cpanel, there is a tutorial here
or to directly edit your .htaccess file, see this great tutorial here
If you have a wordpress blog, there are several plugins available. Here's one
(but I don't use wordpress so you would probably want to check out a few others