[Foundation-l] discussion about banning external hotlinking

Simetrical Simetrical+wikilist at gmail.com
Mon Jul 28 16:12:46 UTC 2008

On Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 11:32 AM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
> Although, as it stands right now we're really encouraging unattributed
> use. ... Our thumbnailing even strips EXIF copyright information. :(

Well, that at least could probably be fixed easily enough.  Of course,
even if they just hotlink the thumbnail with no comment, you can still
look at the URL and track down its contributors, if you know how.
Rather like how in Wikipedia articles, the images are used without
clear attribution, and you have to know to click the image to track
down the contributors . . . although there's a difference of degree
here, it's true.

> I strongly suspect that an overwhelming majority of the hotlinkers are
> not following the rules. If we can't get that turned around then we
> *should* disable hotlinking because leaving it there is an attractive
> nuisance which is both disrespectful to our contributors, and
> potentially bad for PR (imagine if some Wikimedia contributors start
> aggressively DMCA noticing hotlinkers who don't provide attribution).

Which is kind of like saying that if an overwhelming majority of
third-party reusers of Wikipedia dumps are not following the rules, we
should stop providing the dumps.  Wikimedia needs to stay within what
is legal and moral itself.  It doesn't need to punish legitimate
reusers because of a majority's illegal or immoral actions.  If
contributors want to DMCA hotlinkers who don't provide attribution,
that sounds like a good idea to me.

> But ... I don't think we should limit hotlinking.
> Rather, I think we should encourage it... but we should encourage
> doing it right by promoting extensions that provide links back to the
> image pages, and by having mediawiki provide example HTML copy and
> past which does the right thing.

Now there's a good idea.  Every other image-upload software package
does that.  Let me see if I can't code that up right now.

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