Leeching images and the leechers who leech them

Posted on June 29, 2005 at 01:24 AM

Being the stat whore that I am, I was going through my logs for this website tonight and found something a bit unusual. At first it looked as though JoeSchmidt.com had a great day for site visits. But delving further into my stats found that not to be the case. It appears that one of the most popular blogs on the internet is leeching a teletubbies image from my site.

For those of you who don't know, leeching is the practice of linking to an image on someone else's site instead of having the image reside on your own server. In other words, let's say Dick has a picture displayed on his web page, but that picture doesn't reside on his server, it sits on Joe's server. So when someone visits Dick's website they see the image but the bandwidth to download the image is being unknowingly provided by Joe. What this boils down to is bandwidth theft. A practice which is looked down upon heavily on the internet.

This mess all started with my post on computer pranks to liven up the cube farm. I had found a teletubbies image via Google and downloaded it to my site. I went on to talk about how it would be funny to mess with someone on April Fool's day by replacing their computer's desktop wallpaper with something like an image of the teletubbies. Accordingly, I provided a reasonably sized image for the reader to download and use for that purpose.

What I didn't expect was the popularity of people searching for teletubbie images on the internet. I began to notice an increase of people finding this site based on the search string teletubbies. In an act of desperation to find the source of this new found interest in my site, I blogged about the teletubbie phenomenon. For the life of me I couldn't locate my site in any search engine results for the query teletubbies.

Since then the situation has only gotten worse. The top referrers to my blog are web forums in which people have leeched the teletubbie image from this site. (you can see for yourself by clicking here) So tonight when I found that the Daily Kos is leeching that same image from me in a post on their site, it truly was the straw that broke this blog's back.

So what do I do in a situation like this? Do I email the sites and ask them to politely stop leeching the image from me? That route could take days and would most likely not even garner a response. I find that it's much easier (and amusing) to be an asshole and take matters into my own hands.

Since the image is on my site, I have complete control over it's content, meaning I could add something to the picture to change it's appearance. So by modifying the image, people who go to those sites and see the leeched image will find it to be in it's new, modified form. What I ended up doing was taking that teletubbies image into photoshop and added the words "THIS IMAGE LEECHED FROM JOESCHMIDT.COM" across the image and then uploaded it to my site. So now when someone goes to a website that leeches the teletubbie image from me they will find a little surprise.

An example:

Here is what the teletubbie image leeched from my site looked like on Daily Kos before:

The daily kos before

And here is the newly modified teletubbie image on the Daily Kos:

The daily kos after

You can go to the page and see my handy work for yourself, but I thought I should also provide some proof. Reason being is that once they see the new image I'm sure they will correct the mistake.

Now, I can't hold the Daily Kos entirely accountable for the leeching because the article was written by someone named Grand Moff Texan. And, as it happens, the post that they wrote also appears on their own site momentoftriumph.blogspot.com. So it seems that I'm killing two birds with one stone.

Here's what the momentoftriumph site looked like before and after I modified the image.

There are of course other anti-leeching tactics out there, many of them involve using an .htaccess file to stop the leeching or having it replace the leeched image in question with a predefined error image when viewed on the leecher's site. The only problem with this solution was that I found some negative feedback involving this tactic. The two reasons being that it may not completely stop the leeching and it could prevent someone who is legitimately viewing my site from seeing any of my images. I'll try my solution and see what happens.

Hopefully by doing this all of this I may finally put an end to this teletubbie nonsense I've been dealing with for the past few months. So if you're looking for a teletubbie image, do a Google image search, because you won't like the new and improved teletubbie image found on JoeSchmidt.com.

And to think, I was all prepared to blog about taking the head of my legal department to see Tony Hawk's Boom Boom Huck Jam tonight and tell you what a great show it was. And even throw some video I took of it up on this site. Looks like that post will have to wait for tomorrow. Damn you, leechers!

In closing, I don't own the trademark to the teletubbies or the image that sits on my website. I found it just like anyone else would via a search engine. I'm not mad that they found the image on my site, I'm just thoroughly pissed about my bandwidth being stolen (if you couldn't tell). All of this could have been easily avoided if the author of that post would have copied the image from my site instead of taking the easy route and leeched it.

To be nice, I would gladly email the owner of either site the original teletubbie image to host on their OWN server if they requested it.

See, I'm not a total asshole.

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Thanks for outing yourself as a stupid asshole. Get over yourself, already.

Hilsen, The

Posted by: Theophrastus Bombastus von Hoehenheim den Sidste | December 5, 2008 03:31 PM

Good for you, Joe! While I like what you did, I think you were a bit tame. You could have changed the image completely to something almost, but not completely, vulgar and let the leechers know you're watching.

Good job, nonetheless!

Walt D in LV

Posted by: Walt D in LV | August 26, 2009 08:44 PM

If anyone leeches from my site, i think about it as free advertising, it means i can display anything i like within the image, prime example we had someone leeching images of some computer RAM, we changed the image and link to it on our website and added to the image that was being leeched "much cheaper at computer-adviser.com"

After checking we were getting around 20 visitors a week from this site, they steal images, we steal their visitors, lol

If you have lots of images being leeched it could be quite profitable.

Posted by: self build conservatories | August 19, 2011 06:01 PM

Great idea, though as has been said, a bit tame. I would have rathered you change the picture to something x-rated.

To this day, six years later, that picture STILL resides on their webpage, though Grand Moff Texan's page has been removed.

Good catch on your part, though.

Posted by: Walt D in LV | September 28, 2011 12:43 PM

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