I discovered this morning that one of my clients had an image from their website used on the website of a “major news organization’s” website. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue but 1) this was an original image created by the client, 2) they used the image directly from the client site using the original HTML so it used the client’s bandwidth from their account, 3) they used a whole lot of said bandwidth within a short period of time, and 4) no link back, credit, or even mention of where the image from from or who did it was given on the news site.
I would think most people would be of one of three opinions on what to do in this case. The first would be “Sue the Bastards!” I have to admit that that was my first thought. The image was used without permission or credit. Her copyright was abused.
The second thought would be to ask for a correction and an online apology. That’s the nice response I would think most of us would take. Of course, if you work retail, you know that rarely happens now a days. Even online.
Third would be to blow it off, not worry about it, move on and forget it. Considering that we’re talking about a “major news organization,” that’s probably what’s going to happen since getting them to fess up is a rarity. Sure, some news organizations print corrections when they mess up or find an error. Not all though.
The fourth would be to replace the image with a different one. Something rather large, hard to download, and possibly embarrassing to the other site. This is what the more technically inclined would do or even prevent hotlinking altogether. It’s a bit technical to set up and doesn’t always work.
As bloggers, we run into this issue when we discover our RSS feed or portions of our context found on other sites. Not all of us put our content under Creative Commons for reuse. I, for example, consider my work to be under my own copyright. Some feel that if you offer a RSS feed, it’s free to use by others. And even if you declare your works to be under CC, it may not be so black and white.
I got curious this morning. I took a look at my logs and discovered 11 sites using images directly pulled from this site. Only one of them linked back while some of them linked back to the specific image being used. All of them got messages suggesting that since they were using my bandwidth, a link should also be provided as a courtesy. I would think that would be fair.
Image from here. See? I’m a good boy. 🙂