What is Hotlinking
When you copy and paste the url of a graphic from any webite to yours, you are STEALING!!.
If the image you are using points to webspace that is not owned by you, or that you don't have permission to link to, this is hotlinking.
For example, say your website is http://www.thisisme.com and an image you are using has the url http://whisperingworlds.com/images/hotlink.jpg, just by the url of the image, its obvious the image isn't hosted on your webspace, as it would contain your site name (url), by the url you can see the image is hosted on my webspace, therefore, you are "HOT LINKING" and stealing my bandwidth.
Every website owner pays for a specific amount of bandwidth or data transfer on a monthly basis.
If they use more than their allowable amount, the website owner is required to pay for extra bandwidth or risk their website not being available until a new month begins or the website is shut down by the hosting company.
Every time an image is viewed on a html/php/xml page, several kilobytes are used. If an image is 30 kilobytes and is viewed 10 times 300 kB are used. Webmasters expect a certain amount of data usage per pageview.
When you copy and paste an image to a messageboard that is viewed 1000 times per day, that image is pulling 30000kB of bandwidth from the original server. If 20 of those people then snag it by copying & pasting to their posts, then over 615Megabytes of bandwidth are being stolen on a daily basis.
Don't get burnt!! image filenames can be changed, leaving you with an ugly blank space or an alternative image showing that you are are hotlinking or worse. As you can see the image at the top of this page is the image i use to replace images people are hot linking to.
Alternativley a cease and desist letter can be sent to YOUR ISP or web host This can get you banned or risk having your site shut down. So as a user of graphics, what can you do? If you use them on a messageboard or website, try some of the free hosting companies listed:
To save to an image to your computer
"right click on an image and choose the save as option"