At my communities, we are proactive when it comes to defending the rights of others, in fairly clear cut matters. There are people out there who are tickled to allow hotlinking, mass copying and pasting of copyrighted articles and blog posts and unbelievable piracy, just as long as no one calls them on it. When they are called on it, they act. But, until then, they are happy to have the traffic. Not me.

One good example of this is our handling of hotlinked or direct linked images. I use hotlinking as an umbrella for when someone embeds or directly links (such as posting the link without permission from the person who is hosting the photo.

We make a reasonable effort to ensure that the person is using a free file host that allows it, a website that has permitted it or their own web space. One site that pops up, from time to time, is Flickr. Flickr’s community guidelines are clear. You can link or embed an image on their server, but you must link to the actual image page on Flickr, as well. So, for example, if you post a link to or embed, you must link to A common and acceptable way to do this is like this:

As you can see, I have embedded the image here from Flickr’s servers. When you click it, it goes to their photo page. Another way to do this is simply to provide a “photo source” link below the photo. Either way, you are accomplishing the objective and respecting Flickr’s wishes and requirements.

We had a person sign up for one of my sites just the other day and start posting multiple links to images on Flickr’s servers, apparently to photos on his account. Not embedding them, but linking directly to the .jpgs. No big deal, we’ve seen it before, many times. Post removed, documented in our staff area and a kind and polite private message (PM), explaining the problem, is dispatched.

The next day, the guy does it again and adds a question, why was his other thread deleted? (Which, of course, violates our guidelines as referencing administrative decisions). So, again, it was removed and a kind and polite PM was sent, explaining the situation once again.

Now, my moderator – the moderator who handled all of this – did a wonderful job and is a super nice person (as all of my moderators are). With that in mind, here is what the member sends back (note: this isn’t the exact PM, but it is basically a rephrasing of what he said, except with better grammar):


I linked to Flickr. Flickr is a FREE host of pictures and videos that allows you to upload your pictures and videos for their blogs and websites. Again, FREE. So you know, Flickr is very large and tons of people use it for direct linking of pictures on their blogs. There’s nothing illegal about it. [Editor’s note: no one told him it was illegal]. Furthermore, the pictures are MINE. I downloaded from them Google and I uploaded them to Flickr MYSELF. You got it now? If not, go to Flickr. Actually, here are their guidelines:

Thanks for your NICE message. PERIOD.

So, basically, he was a jerk to my moderator. But, this message is pretty funny and the actual one killed me. He probably violated Flickr’s TOS by downloading images from Google and uploading them to their server. That’s nothing to be bragging about.

But, the real gold is in the fact that he linked to Flickr’s guidelines. If you go to the page, you will see that they clearly state:

Do link back to Flickr when you post your Flickr content elsewhere.
The Flickr service makes it possible to post content hosted on Flickr to outside web sites. However, pages on other web sites that display content hosted on must provide a link from each photo or video back to its page on Flickr.

My moderator sent him back a very nice message, showing him this excerpt and I ended up banning the fellow. But, that message was just too good not to share. There’s a certain hilarity when someone like this links to the page that shows that he is, in fact, mistaken.