Hotlinking

I’m having a serious problem as of late. It seems a good deal of MySpace users have found my artwork from each other or search engines and are hotlinking the living crap out of it. This is beyond bad. Some of you may have noticed that I ran over my bandwidth limit for December and the entire site was offline for about five or six days. Granted, my reader count is low at this point, but I do give some of my space and bandwidth to a good friend so that affected her, too. Leanna, I’m so sorry about that.

I thought my hotlinking protection was good to go, but apparently not. Jon (my server space provider) and I looked at the problem and attempted a fix, but it did not work. I did a bit of research through Google and found that by editing my .htaccess I can prevent the problem. I followed the instructions, but it didn’t quite work out. Once I tired to the view the site, I got the beautiful 500 server error. I removed the hotlinking protection lines out of .htaccess, but that still leaves me open to hotlinking.

How can I stop these Internet morons from running my bandwidth dry? I refuse to take my art down because of the stupidity of others. Also, could I sue MySpace and the users for copyright infringement?

UPDATES:

January 3 @ 0836: Jon emailed me saying the host has got it locked down for me. I emailed him back asking what they did. I’ll update again when I get word back.

5 Responses to “Hotlinking”

  1. W3bbo Says:

    I read your post on Slashdot, you said they hotlinked about 1.5GB a week from your site.

    Dude, that’s nothing :) Right now my website serves about 15GB a day MySpace.com. :)

  2. mahldcat Says:

    …I handle many of the web applications for my company (a Microsoft shop), and this was a problem I had researched at one point…the solution I found was more ASP.Net/IIS centered so I’m not sure how to do this on apache/php…

    The idea is that you configure your web browser (for the particular website to use php/asp.net/ to handle requests for images (gif, jpg etc)….and set to fire through one central script/dll/executable…

    First step would be to merely have this script look for the real image and then pass it through whatever is set up as the a web response. Once that is working, this should give you further control…e.g. you can do things like examine the fields in the requesting http header…and filter based off them….

    As a really sneaky idea…log the full referring url and for the first few times, send the real image, but after say 4th or 5th request, instead start sending some horrible image from rotten.com or some other site…

    Hope this helps….

  3. Marcus Says:

    W3bbo,

    That is insane! I only get 2 gigs a month so you can see how angry I got when three quarters of my bandwidth went poof.

    mahldcat,

    I did see that idea on the net, but when the main part of this cluster was going on, I was in process of driving back to North Carolina from Arkansas. I just didn’t have time to do anything super sneaky. I do thank you for your idea, though. Its nice to see folks from /. saw my post and actually tried to help. Speaking of, I should check that article again.

  4. Bob Says:

    Dude, I get 50 gig on mine, and it only costs me 5.95 a month.

    Check out shadowhosting.com

  5. Marcus Says:

    I can’t complain much since I”m getting my space for free. If I keep having bandwidth problems I may stop beeing a mooch but I don’t think I’ll have that problem anymore.

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