"replace the hotlinked image with something unsavoury"
It didn't need to be unsavory, but in those barely-less-civilized days, it sure seemed more fun.
I wonder if it still happens ?
An Azure consultant has lost his bid to sue Google for copyright infringement over search results that sent web users to a website run by a hotlinker who was displaying one of his photos. Christopher Wheat had previously appealed against an earlier High Court decision to throw out his claim against the American adtech monolith …
The subject does rapidly get banal, right enough; but it's important if working on images is what pays your bills. There's a bit more awareness these days thanks to many stories like this; but back in the day internet images were more-or-less universally seen as fair game.
And hotlinking is even worse, because the miscreant is making off with (and profiting by) your work AND stealing your bandwidth. Again, not so crucial these days when most people have a few spare Gb to throw around, but back in the day a big site nicking your image could be easily enough to overrun your hosts bandwidth allowance and fold your website (possibly taking out your email as well if you weren't organised).
Even though image manipulation is indoor work with no heavy lifting, it is still work; takes time to learn; and more time to produce a particular image. And the results are easily stealable. You can't wander off with - say - a day's plumbing, so plumbers don't need this sort of protection and are probably equally bored with "who owns the image" stories.
To my eyes the issue the guy has issues with the site that hotlinked his image without permission. Google just indexed that site and picked up the image from there for its search results. Perhaps because that site was ranked higher than the site where he hosted the image. Google does not know the legal status of the content it indexes, unless it is coming from a site where all the content is copyright free such as Wikipedia.
The story doesn’t say whether he had informed Google that the image was infringing through a DCMA take down notice. If he hadn't done that or taken technical steps to stop the site that was hotlinking from being able to carry on hotlinking (something that should have been trivial for an Azure consultant). Then Google can hardly be to blame.
I was indeed talking about goatse-ing; although that is kind of the lazy option; and has the additional problem that the "replacement" image will be squished to the dimensions of the hotlinked image...thereby diminishing the glory somewhat in extreme cases. The true craftsman will, of course, personalise their replacement image. At the time, it was a magnificent way of spending the couple of hours after returning from the pub.
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Am I the only one that thinks so. I used to, haven't looked recently so can't remember if its still setup, have hotlink protection on (surely as an Azure consultant he should of had the skills to code this himself back then) and the images would point to Avril Lavigne with her middle finger up. Childish? Yep. Did I find it funny? Yes. Am I still a man child? Yes.
I have withdrawn an earlier post that included comments on Google's Service agreement because new language has addressed the issue which was that:
"Google's service agreement stated plainly that users still own whatever they store, transmit, etc. However as worded it also states that by such use they give Google--and those they WORK WITH--unrestricted world wide rights to use of the content."
As noted in the withdrawn post,
"This is not a Google-specific problem. Comparable terms and conditions are dictated by the Industry on a take it or leave it basis, subject to unilateral change without notice by the company and with little or no consideration of possible unintended impact on the user."
Contracts of adhesion that can be changed at will by the dominant party have become a blight on every aspect of modern life. Nor are they simply limited to the IT sector.
Google is to be commended on two points. (1) The clarity with which they state the terms of service and privacy policies so that the problem was clear, and (2) For addressing it.
Googles terms of service now state the "Quid-pro-quo" in legal terms specifying what is licensed to both Google and to the user.
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