Direct linking also known as hotlinking where a person uses the image source link on their site instead of hosting it on their own space, is a very common problem. Direct link steals not just the fact that the image was made by another person, but that very person’s bandwidth. Those that pay for their site diskspace and bandwidth have a problem as this drains their bandwidth. If they run out for the month, they face site suspension until the end of the month or paying out of their pocket for extra bandwidth.
To combat this problem, there are several ways to deal with the situation:
1. Contact the webmaster responsible for the problem and inform them that you do not allow people to direct link your images. Give them 72 hours (3 days) to correct the problem. If they do use the image, remind them to give credit back to you.
2. If you cannot contact the webmaster at all whether it is by no response back or no email address given, contact their webhost. Both paid webhosts and freeserver hosts have similar policies on stealing and will either inform the webmaster or immediately remove the problem.
3. If you own your website and have some type of control panel with a Hotlink Protection feature, use that and disbable the ability to allow others to direct link.
4. You can go the mischievous way and give your direct linker an eyeful by creating an image that says something like ‘Stop Stealing my Images’ or ‘Stop Direct Linking’ and replace the image that is being hotlinked while renaming the image that was direct linked to something else. That image will show up on the culprits site and is sure to be removed. If you cannot make a graphic or want to use something, I made the image below and use it. By the way, save it to your own computer or I can make something even cruder.
Do you have any other suggestions?