Wednesday, July 27, 2005

From an IP standpoint, I find this interesting:


This was, originally, an Hiernomyous Bosch image posted on someone else's blog--in fact, it's his painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights". Check it out at Google Images, or dead tree it--it's a neat picture.

The host site has decided it doesn't like "hotlinking", which I personally have never understood well--it seems unlikely that my site's modest traffic is damaging their ability to host images--but the text in the box makes it clear that this is an IP issue--they want credit for hosting this image.

But why? Isn't the URL, visible on all browsers when the image is clicked, "credit" enough? And why is the simple act of hosting an image credit-worthy anyway? It's not as though this is actually Bosch's site, and I've linked to his image, nor is it misattributed--I didn't claim that *I* painted it, after all.

It's also patently absurd that once we've moved onto the web, and are living in an era when we put images there that can be instantly downloaded to any location on earth and duplicated digitally millions of times we're arguing about credit. Not credit for creating the artwork, mind you, but "credit" for hosting--a shared act that every server on the WWW performs every day or you'd never be able to even read this site. Sure there are examples when folks can be linked to and cause massive traffic problems, but I doubt that's happening today, and if it were a possibility I would exercise some natural diligence.

In closing, I'm not generally a dick about these things--in the past, on the few occasions that anal-retentive webmasters have emailed me about so-called "hotlinks", I take them down immediately. But this is the first who snarkily changes the image to a chiding instead of simply emailing, so this is my response.