A few months ago I noticed some surprising links from a site called neopets.com. Turns out a few users there had appropriated this October-themed image of Luna for their own works. In the case of one neopet user, she was labeled as “Brokenessence: darkhearted girl”. Another user at neopets even got her gender wrong and impugned her honor by declaring her some male dark demon character.
Regular readers know how I feel about demonizing black cats, but that's not what this article is about. It's about the appropriation of images and the corresponding bandwidth from this site. The image in the example above now carries the “catsynth.com” label, as do most of my own images used on this site – some of the art photos carry my name and a date, but the idea is still the same.
But the issue also extends to the images appropriated for this site from others, e.g., the many “CatSynth pics” contributed by others. They have been used at other sites not by copying them, but linking directly back here, thus I end up serving these images to their sites using my bandwidth costs. And they don't even link back here. For those who link back and bring more people to CatSynth, I'm generally OK eating the bandwidth costs. But for those who just grab images from this site, that's just plain stealing.
The worst offenders appear to be forums – blogs and other sites are usually good about copying the images to their own locations and/or linking back. It's the forums where people dash off a random post with an image from CatSynth that are the problem. And this month these forum sites are the most common “referrers”, even though they don't link back.
The biggest offenders for July are:
low-bee.com, where someone used a pic of Mimì.
punkas.com, where I'm paying for a good laugh at a lolbush pic (though I do approve of people ridiculing W).
biggie.co in New Zealand, again serving up a lolbush.
therocksalt.net – looks like lolbush again.
And of course the long-term offender detroitluv.com.
I will probably from now on post the biggest (monthly) bandwidth stealers at least once per month.
While I am happy to see people use images from this site to link back, or to ridicule “W”, I don't appreciate serving up images for free. The bandwidth so far hasn't really cost me much, but it's a lot of work to keep this site running, including the many images which make CatSynth such a rich and rewarding place to visit.
If you want to use an image from this site, please link back and give us credit. Failing that, at least copy it to your own site or one of the popular image hosting sites like photobucket or imageshack (I use ImageShack for sites where I don't have real storage space, like MySpace).