There are things that they don't tell you about when you get your own website.

There are some things, though, that should be explained carefully to those who put up their own web pages to tell the world about themselves. Such as, hotlinking to someone else's graphics without their permission is considered stealing.

Imagine my surprise when, in going over the web stats for my site, I discovered a link to a website that I'd never heard of before. A quick hop over to that site showed it to be that of a twelve-year-old girl, with no active links or mentions anywhere on her page leading back to my site. Puzzling. After a bit, I noticed that my web stats also showed a particular image file name in conjunction with the link to the girl's site. And then it clicked. She'd hotlinked one of my graphic files to show up on her web page.

And the file she'd chosen to steal bandwidth for? Big drum roll, please....A 600x3 pixel black line. That's right, she stole a line. I swapped out the file for the black line with one that reads "Help me! I'm a stolen graphic!" in big red letters on a white background, which shows up very nicely on her site's dark blue background. I don't know how long it will take her to notice it, because she hasn't updated in a while. In the meantime, I'm trying to get my web host to block hotlinking to my files.

She's also got book covers on her page, of the sort that appeal to kids her age. Makes me wonder who else she's stealing bandwidth from.


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