Stealing Bandwidth

Let's explain what bandwidth is, when you own a domain you have it hosted, and you are given a certain amount space to store files, you are also given a certain amount of space for visitors a month. It's the visitors that use bandwidth. It's called "bandwidth" band is the thickness of the pipe it's going through, and the width of it tells you how much of that band you are using.

What does it mean to Steal Bandwidth?

To steal someone's bandwidth means to run off another ones server, other then your own. Never link to an image or file on someone else's server. Many demo sites get thousands of hits a week. If a person gets 2000 visitors a day to their site and if only 1/10 of those visitors linked to just one file on that server, that would be 200 people per day stealing bandwidth from them. In just one month, that would be 6,000 people who have linked directly to a voiceover file, and even if they were all on low traffic sites that only got 10 visitors a day, they would be paying for the bandwidth of 60,000 hits a day for people that didn't even visit that site! Add that up over a longer period of time - for one month it would be 1,800,000 hits. That doesn't even take into account the people that link to other people's voice-over files in email. You can see why sites shut down because of the high cost of popularity. It's just not fair for anyone to expect us, the people who provide demos for everyone's enjoyment and benefit, to pay money out of our pocket for illegal linking because someone is too lazy to learn or to be bothered to do things right.

Stealing Bandwidth is Illegal. People don't realize how easily they can be caught stealing bandwidth and images. Each time a file is called from the server, it is recorded in what is called a log file. If you link to a file on someone else's server, it records the web site that the file is called from, so if you link illegally to someone else's files, each time your page is accessed by anyone, that is recorded. You may think if you signed up with a free host you can get away with it. Perhaps you used a fictitious name and address when you signed up and used a free email account too. Doesn't matter. Every time you send an email; create, modify or add to a web site, your IP address is recorded by your ISP. Your IP address can easily be tracked to your ISP, who has logs of which account has used which IP address and on what dates. You are never completely anonymous on the Internet. These are the same files the FBI uses to catch child pornographers, hackers, and other nefarious types.

In conclusion, the law states: Log files are considered legal evidence and you can be sued for stealing bandwidth (or copyrighted property for that matter). Damages are awarded up to $100,000 plus proven costs. Proof of monetary loss isn't necessary for damages to be awarded.

Another thing I would like to explain, to the many who are not sure what all this means. Sharing links via emails, linking back and/or saving a link to your favorite site does NOT constitute as bandwidth theft. All of that is perfectly legal & OK to do.

I have noticed many of you email me wondering if what they are doing is correct. Don't worry. You can share as many sites as you like as well as save them in your favorites. That's why we create pages. We want you to enjoy them. In my opinion, if one doesn't know about "direct linking" or doesn't know HTML, chances are you are NOT doing it.

Many of us who pay for our servers to host our sites sometimes pay extra for "others" who run off our servers. That is why we get upset. I personally do NOT think it is right that I or anyone else should have to pay for your pretty emails or web pages as well, when you link directly to my files. There are many FREE servers the Internet offers. Stealing Bandwidth is no different then someone who illegally hooks up to your phone line, calls all over the world & you get stuck paying for their conversations. So please, on behalf of me & many others who have sites, free or paid for, DO NOT link directly to our files. Thank You =o)

Those of you who are thinking about linking directly to my graphics & running off MY server think about this...

This server allows me to see exactly where my hits are coming from. It also tells me where my files are being pulled from. Every day I check these stats. Not because I care about my hits, but because I want to see who is STEALING MY BANDWIDTH. Recently I have decided to do something other then report these people. All I can say is, if you think the voice files you are linking too are the voice over files people are hearing when they view your site or email GUESS AGAIN & if I haven't gotten to certain ones, rest assure I will! It can be quite embarrassing to have people hear a page stating you're a "thief"

I feel this is fair warning to those who do this. If all this does not work next step is to send the information to my server, where I have been told legal action can be taken. They can also shut you down & you can loose your ISP for ever.

Now I ask you... Still plan on linking directly to my voice files?? I am not the only one with this problem & I feel anyone who creates demos for you to enjoy, you have an obligation out of respect to those people who take the time to create these files NOT to do this.

There is no excuse to those who do this. If in doubt ask or research the correct way on how to add download to your hard drive. All of us who create demos and/or make web sites will be more then happy to explain what is right & wrong. Everyone has terms, some differ, but WE ALL ask that you DO NOT link directly to our files.

Those of you who do the right thing; I thank you & appreciate you using my voice files.

This page was inspired by Sadly her site is no longer active but the page is archived and brillant!


What is bandwidth?

Think of it as (here comes the analogy) the amount of electricity used to play sound files and display images on the Internet. In the same way that a 40 watt light bulb and a frost-free freezer use different amounts of electricity, different types of files use different amounts of bandwidth.

Whenever a music or image file is linked to, the server that houses that file has to supply the bandwidth necessary to get that file to your email page or wherever else you link from. Keep in mind this means the length of time it takes you to write the letter as well as everytime that letter is read by the person you sent it to and by anyone they may have forwarded it to. In the case of newsgroups that allow active html in posts, that server is supplying their bandwith everytime someone reads a post

So, what is bandwidth theft?

Ever go to a gif and midi site and see something like, "Please transload these files to your own server. Do not link to them."? If you ignore that request and link to them anyway, that's bandwidth theft.

But it says "Free Gifs and Midis" at the site I linked to!

That means they are free in the sense that there are no copyright restrictions on them. Some websites sell original graphics. When you link to these free midis and images without permission, you are forcing someone else to pay the cost of getting that file from it's home server to your page. If any of us ever discovered that one of the neighbors had run an extention cord into our house to power up his appliances we would most likely take the matter to the police, yet we expect servers to allow us to do the same thing.

Who "owns" it and who pays for it?

Back to the electricity analogy: The electric company "owns" the electricity until you use it. Then you are billed for what you use. An ISP charges a server for the amount of bandwidth that is used monthly. The server also charges commercial website owners for the amount of bandwidth they use. Some have a monthly allotment and then are charged extra when they exceed that amount. The servers and commercial website owners pay for the bandwidth and it is up to that them how to use it.

The way most servers and site owners compensate for their "bandwidth bills" is by charging advertisers for placing ads on pages. The more traffic, or page hits, they have, the more they can charge an advertiser. That's why so many of them offer free personal homepages...more subscribers = more pages = more hits = more advertising revenue. The money made from advertising offsets the money spent for bandwidth. When someone is "remote linking" to a file the server still pays for the bandwidth, but doesn't get the page hits to justify their advertising fees. Advertising revenue decreases, but bandwidth usage keeps rising.

Remember, .com stands for commercial. These are not non-profit businesses. Many commercial sites have been forced to close because they could not afford to keep paying their increased bandwidth charges.

But I transloaded the all my files to my own account at Tripod!

And that's commendable. Your website is now free from bandwidth theft. But when you link to that file for an email signature, Tripod is once again paying for the bandwidth without any page hits to show for it.

Tripod has solved their problem by refusing access to any jpeg, midi, or wav files from anywhere off the Tripod server. GeoCities has followed suit by refusing access to midi files from off their server. Presumably, most midis you now hear in email are coming from Angelfire. It probably won't be long before they stop playing too.

Does that mean there's no way to "honestly" use graphics and music in email?

No. Some servers do allow it. In the case of your own homepage server, re-read your TOS (Terms of Service) to see if it is prohibited. When surfing through sites that offer free images choose those that SAY linking is allowed. Some companies like Pagetalk and Weather Underground want you to remote link to their do-dads and gizmos. Show off that html expertise with tables, colors, marquees and the like. Put your big extravaganza on a webpage and provide a link to it in your email. The more you use it, the faster it will be gone.