[Foundation-l] discussion about banning external hotlinking

Simetrical Simetrical+wikilist at gmail.com
Mon Jul 28 15:22:29 UTC 2008

This proposal is completely wrong-headed.  Wikimedia's goal is to
provide free information, to everyone.  If it can do this helpfully
and at reasonable cost by providing free image hotlinking of images it
happens to have anyway, it should do so.  As for arguments about
costing Wikimedia money, please see
 If the sysadmins think it's a problem they'll handle it, and it's

If some of the images people are hot-linking are non-free, it's up to
the ones hotlinking them to determine whether their particular use
meets the requirements of fair use -- Wikimedia need not police
third-party use of its resources unless there's a complaint.  Others
have a right to use copyrighted works under fair use, and Wikimedia
should not stand in their way.  And if people are uploading images
that are useless to us so they can hotlink them (which I haven't heard
is a big problem), just delete the images.

There's no need for selfishness here.  Wikimedia's goal is advanced
about as much if third-party sites can use its information directly as
if they have to direct people to Wikimedia's sites to get it.  The
point is to disseminate the information, not to disseminate it with a
Wikimedia-owned logo in the top left corner of the page.

Essentially the same arguments apply to watermarking and other overly
protective measures.  The status quo is perfectly fine with respect to
third-party use of Wikimedia images.  I've hotlinked Wikimedia images
myself on more than one occasion.

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