Image and bandwidth stealing


Susan found an image stealing troll in her log files and promptly turned the image in question into a nice and direct "don't f*** with me" message the thieving troll will now proudly display if he doesn't change his URLs.

UPDATE on Susan's site: "Tim Stannard views his web page, comes here, and apologizes. Apology accepted. (He sounds chastened and promises to mend his ways. Good) Drinks all around!"

'Hotlinking' of images on some elses server is a very bad thing(TM) to do. Even if the copyright aspect is ignored, the bandwidth hit is not. At least put on a link back to the site the image came from!

I've had my share of troll using my artwork-thumbnails as avatars in forums or even worse advertising painted miniatures on eBay with images of my minis... that's not only theft but fraud on top of it... Sadly those people were very 'suprised' I had such an issue with them using my images... after all "everything on the net is free, no?" I am NOT making this up.

Here's my solution:

# block hotlinking of images
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^*$     [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.(gif|GIF|jpg|JPG)$

What this does is simply 'drop' any image request with an referer other than from my site. But it still allows direct access to images, only not embeded in other pages.

Why not use a nice friendly message GIF in such cases? Actually that was very tempting and the solution one usually finds on the net. But it also hints people at what's going on. Smart people then start simply copying the images. With this way, I leave them wondering. It simply doesn't work. Let them doubt their HTML skills *MuHAhaha*

Some more info on a simple Google search: hotlinking htaccess images


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