You have a shop and the store on the other side of the road puts up this beautiful poster in their window. You can’t afford such a nice poster but you get this great idea. You put a mirror in your own shop reflecting that particular beautiful poster from the other side.
This is a great idea until the shop on the other side change the poster to something that you really, really don’t want in your window.
Recently I went trough the raw traffic logs of eirikso.com. The logs from my hosting company that show all kinds of activity on my server.
This log will show me if anyone is stealing images and bandwidth from me.
Let me explain
If someone find a nice picture on your web site that they want to use on their own page they can do it in two different ways.
1. Include the picture in their page linking directly to the source picture on the original website. This gives the benefit of the fact that all bandwidth and storage space needed to show that stolen picture is eaten from the original owner of the picture. Meaning that the owner pay for the bandwidth used to show the picture on another site.
Every time someone ask for a page at the site that have stolen the picture it is loaded from the original servers.
2. Copy the picture to their own server and link to it there. Then they have to pay for the bandwidth and storage space themselves.
I have marked this blog with a creative commons license allowing non commercial use of everything here as long as you give me credit and stamp your new work with the same creative commons license.
I have also allowed some types of commercial use if it would drive traffic to my site in form of a link or an article.
But some people don’t care about that and use pictures from my site without asking and without linking back giving credit. Because they don’t know better or because they deliberately want to steal bandwidth. But that’s the nature of the internet. It’s how it work. Publishing something on the net gives other people quite a bit of control of your content.
But, when people steal images using method number one described above you have a way of getting your revenge. Yes, it sounds smart to let the place where you steal your images also pay for the bandwidth, but it is a seriously risky business.
You practically gives the original site total control of a window in your site. If I change the picture on my server it will also change on all the sites that have stolen it linking directly to me.
The picture of the TV
Currently, if you do an image search for “tv” in Google Images, a picture that I have made is number three of more than four million. Several people have stolen this and a lot of them link directly back to me. Giving me full control of that picture on their web page.
I have insane amounts of bandwidth available with Dreamhost so currently this problem is not very big. So for this picture I simply added “eirikso.com” to the picture to get a little attention on the sites that have used that picture.
The political joke
But one case was just begging for a practical joke. I discover that a Norwegian blogger with a political very strong left wing message has used a picture of a glass of white wine from my blog. I am not voting extreme left, nor do I vote extreme right, but this case was screaming for some good old and very geeky fun.
So, right now there is a huge picture begging for people to vote right wing on this guys web site. On my server I exchanged the picture of the glass of white wine with a picture saying “Vote for FRP” with the logo of FRP (Fremskrittspartiet), the right wing party in Norway.
The message here is a graphic that practically scream “Vote right wing!” in the middle of this left wing blogger’s web site. ROFL!
The bottom line
If you enter this world of citizen journalism and utilize the fact that even your mother can have a web page on Blogger, please do your homework anyway.
Just like in the real world. If you go to Bangkok without doing any research at all you’ll probably get ripped off by a tuktuk driver pretty fast.
If you publish on the net without having any idea of what you are doing or who you are stealing from, then you’ll probably be victim of some arrogant geek fooling around with your site.
The side effect
This left wing blogger is not the only one using my picture of a glass of wine. So now a couple of other sites look pretty stupid as well. New York blogger Amanda is suddenly doing commercials for the Norwegian right wing party as well.
Personally I really don’t like this party, so as soon as this left wing Elvis Bling Laden guy fix his page and destroy my practical joke I will change this picture to something else.
Do you have any suggestions? Leave out the obvious offensive pictures that I could have put in there. I want to be more subtle than that.
Digg this story here.