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Image Use

Note: This page talks about images, but it applies to other files as well, such as sound files.

What is direct linking?
What should I do instead of direct linking?
      Putting images on your website
      Posting on a forum
Why is direct linking such a no-no?
What about unlimited bandwidth?
Give credit for images used.

I don't mind if you use some of the images on this site, within reason. However, it is very important that you do not direct link to the images on my server. This is called bandwidth theft, and it costs me money.

What is direct linking?   Direct linking (also called hot linking or remote linking) is when you display an image from one site on a different site (such as on a forum, or on your own site). For example, if you make a post in a forum that allows image use, and you include one of our images like this: [img][/img] — that's direct linking. Or, if you display an image on your site like this: <img src=""> — that's direct linking. Basically, if appears in the image URL, you're direct linking to an image on our server. (Or, if appears in the URL, you're direct linking to an image on IMDb's site. You get the idea.)


What should I do instead of direct linking?   The key is saving the image to your own computer, and then uploading it to your own site.

  • If you want to use an image on your website, you first need to save the image to your computer. You can do this by right-clicking on the image and choosing "Save Picture As" (Explorer) or "Save Image" (Netscape). Then, you'll need to upload the image to your website, in the same way that you upload your other files. Finally, include the image on your page as you normally would, such as: <img src=""> or <img src="images/image.jpg">

  • If you're posting on a forum and you want to put an image in your post (or your profile), and you have a website of your own, you can save it, upload it to your site, and then include the image in your post/profile by using the image URL on your site, such as: [img][/img]

    Of course, many people don't have their own websites. In this case, you need to do the next best thing — instead of direct linking to the image itself (including the image directly in your post), place a link to the page the image is on. This way, at least we get something in return for the bandwidth used — people who click on your link will see the image you intended, as well as seeing our site, and any applicable advertisements. Since the advertisements offset the costs of the bandwidth, this is more fair and is acceptable. What this means for you is that instead of copying the direct image URL (such as, you need to copy the URL of the page you saw the image on (such as or You can easily copy the page URL from your browser's address bar. Then, you should be able to use markup to create a link to the URL, such as [url][/url].


Why is direct linking such a no-no?   There are a few reasons. Some of them are more important from your point of view, and some are more important from my point of view.

  • Bandwidth Theft is the big reason from my point of view. Bandwidth is basically data transferred from one computer to the next. When you loaded this page, it used some bandwidth by sending the data from my server to your computer. It's sort of like electricity — when you turn on a light, it uses electricity. When you view a web page or image, download a sound file, or access any other file on the internet, it uses bandwidth. (Click here for further explanation on what bandwidth is.)

    For some sites, bandwidth is free. Many sites on the internet are small, and are hosted by free web hosts. These hosts do limit the amount of bandwidth the sites can use, but most sites don't use enough bandwidth to ever exceed this limit, so they never have to pay for bandwidth. So, your theft of their bandwidth won't cost them money, but if other sites direct link to their files, they might go over their bandwidth limit, and get kicked off their host!

    Moreover, large/busy sites cannot be hosted by free web hosts — these webmasters have to pay for web hosting. Generally, they pay a set amount per month which will include a set amount of bandwidth. (The more bandwidth your account allows, the more your monthly fee will be.) Plus, if a site uses more than the allowed amount of bandwidth in any given month, they have to pay extra fees, which can be very high. So, sites direct linking to their files will cause their total bandwidth to go up, and may cost them money!

    If your neighbor secretly ran an extension cord to your electric outlet to run his appliances, this would be stealing your electricity, and your electric bill would go up — you'd be paying to keep his house running, and you would NOT be pleased. This is much like bandwidth theft — if you direct link to an image on my server, it uses my bandwidth, and I have to pay the bill for your site! This is obviously not okay. And it's actually pointless, since most of the sites that direct link are small sites on free hosts, so it's not as if they need to save bandwidth — for them, it's free, but for me, it's quite expensive!

  • Broken Images (or worse) is a reason not to direct link from your point of view. You have no control over files hosted on someone else's server, so you never know when your page might suddenly be full of broken images! The site you're linking from might move, or their server might go down, or they might delete/move/rename their images. Sometimes webmasters will even replace the stolen image with a different one to intentionally make you look silly/bad. (For example, they might replace an image of Britney Spears with one of a pig or of something pornographic, or they might replace it with an image stating "Bandwidth Theif!") If you save the files to your own server, nobody but you can touch them!

  • Longer Download Times is another reason. Telling a web browser to draw files from multiple servers can make your page take ages to load. When you link to servers other than your own, web browsers have to waste time that could have been spent downloading looking for the new server. This can really slow down or even halt the loading time of your own web page.

  • Consequences! If your misuse of the internet is costing someone else money, you can bet they're going to take issue with you! They may contact you demanding that you remove the files, they may delete or replace the files as mentioned above, they may go straight to your web host and have your site shut down, or they could even sue you. Why take the chance?

Here are some links if you'd like even more information:

What about unlimited bandwidth?   If you've hosted a website or looked around at web hosts, you might have heard the term "unlimited bandwidth." This does NOT exist — there is no such thing as unlimited. Think about it: if you could get unlimited bandwidth for around $20.00 a month or less, why wouldn't Yahoo or Microsoft be hosted there? Search the fine print in the terms and conditions — you'll find the secret limit there. Some say, "sites with more than 5 Gb of bandwidth per month do not qualify for the unlimited bandwidth offer." Some say, "no more than 25% of your bandwidth can come from images." Some appear to say nothing, but hide behind a generic "we restrict the right to terminate your account for any reason," and when the site's bandwidth use gets to high, the account is terminated without warning and the site is shut down. I could rant on for quite a while about the "unlimited bandwidth" lie and what I think of hosts that use it, but instead I'll give you a few links:


Giving Credit for Images Used   If you use any of the images from this site (or any other content, for that matter), credit (with link) is required. I've put my time into collecting, scanning, modifying, getting screen caps, etc., which saves you time, so I don't think this is unreasonable. If you have a "Credits" page, the credit can appear on that page. Otherwise, the credit should appear on the page(s) using the images. If you're using images on a variety of pages, you can put the credit on your main (home) page or on an applicable section entry page (for example, if you're using a selection of images in your image galleries, then you could put the credit on the main image gallery entrance page). Credit should look something like:

Some images provided by <a href="" target="_top"></a>.


Images courtesy of <a href="" target="_top"></a>.


Permission   If you just want to use a fairly small selection of images, I don't require that you ask permission first — just go ahead (but DON'T direct link, and you MUST give credit/link). However, if you're going to use a lot (about 40 or more), please DO ask permission first by . Please let me know where your site is (the URL), roughly how many images you plan to use, and which ones they are.

If you'd like to save any images for your own personal use on your own computer, please feel free.


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