They Don’t Like Socialism or Handouts, but Hotlinking is OK?

Yesterday I was looking at my web stats and noticed a link from Free Republic, that wretched hive of Conservative scum and villainy. Naturally, I was curious about what someone there would be pointing at me for, so I checked it out. Turns out a guy was hotlinking one of my images (a still from the Apple ‘1984’ commercial).

Hotlinking is considered rude — you’re basically asking me to pay to host an image for you. Normally I don’t care — I have plenty of bandwidth and it’s not enough to get bent out of shape about. But this was Free Republic. And it was rude, but it provided me with a fun opportunity.

For those who don’t know, hotlinking means they’re linking to an image on my site directly, instead of copying it and hosting it themselves. It shows up where they put it, but it’s hosted on my site. Their link refers to my file by its name. What this means is, if I change the file — but keep the name — then the new file will show up instead. It’s as though they stole a t-shirt of mine and I had the power to change the t-shirt — as they’re wearing it elsewhere — to say “HI I AM A STUPID JERK WHO STEALS T-SHIRTS AND BTW HERE’S SOME TENTACLE PORN!”

As my example implies, I could have changed the image to anything, including the kind of deviant, horrific, non-Scriptural acts usually found only in the private offices of Republican congressmen. But I went a more subtle way instead:

(Some people have a hard time seeing what I did. I replaced the “1984” image with an image of text reading “When you think about it, we’re all just a bunch of whiners, aren’t we?”)

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3 Responses to They Don’t Like Socialism or Handouts, but Hotlinking is OK?

  1. Chris Williams says:

    If it’s rampant, you might check out if your site can run imagemagick to watermark these images.

    Of course, if it’s way over the top, you could always goatse them.

  2. MichaelD says: