When I scrolled through my Reading page just now I saw a post about someone's new tumblr so I clicked through and saw all the pictures on it are hotlinked. All of them. One is linked directly from Yale, another from NASA, still another from Panoramio (a Google property), a few more from Wikipedia and the rest from other people's tumblrs. It's quite a collection for a brand-new blog. So I immediately removed the person who stole all these images from my DW Reading list. That's how shocked and disgusted I was by their theft. I never want to read anything this person posts again (and this person is Web-famous and gets published all over the damn place but I think her writing sucks, if not her topics so much, so I don't care if I ever see another post from her or not).
And this after getting off of another DW that I visited earlier tonight which said something like this in its profile: "I hotlink the images in my posts but we ALL do that, nothing new here, so if you don't like it then just ask and I'll take the image you think you own down but otherwise ha ha, just forget it", which really is a joke since anyone seeing a hotlink coming from her DW can't access it since she locks all of her posts, as in every last one of them. So in order to ask her to take down a hotlinked image? "Um, while I can't see it, it seems you're hotlinking an image of mine from http://bandwidththeft.dreamwidth.org/
Luckily this person is not on my Reading list, so I don't have to delete him or her from it, too. But if I ever do get around to making (and sticking to) rules for whom I will and won't subscribe to, and who among you can and can't subscribe to me (but honestly, I probably never will: I hate making and sticking to rules that much) one of my first rules will be that if you hotlink to any images not just on your DW but on any space you own or drop into (including mine, if you do so while leaving me a comment) then you have my blessing to go get hit by a car. Multiple fucking times.
If you can't link to something correctly, either for lack of know-how or lack of permission, then just don't link to it at all. Is that so hard? In the last five years or so bandwidth has become more prodigious and much cheaper but that doesn't mean any website, no matter how vast and powerful its servers are, is obligated to subsidize your bandwidth usage. NASA, Wikipedia, your friend at the http://idontstealyourbandwidth.
Some of you surely can't fathom where I'm coming from, so I'll explain. I first got online when bandwidth for the Internet's use was rather expensive, when dial-up was the norm and offered rather limited bandwidth itself, and when bandwidth thieves were routinely embarrassed in many ways for what was considered an extremely dumb move back then. In that culture - totally foreign to today's culture of freewheeling free everything and if it's not free then just steal it already - I was scared out of hotlinking long before it ever became a habit. I was so thoroughly aghast by how hated it was and what an actual crime it was considered to be that to this day a sudden shock runs up my spine if I see anyone engaged in it - especially theft as blatant as that which I saw tonight.