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Fuddruckers Called Out on Hotlinking 668

naught writes "Fuddruckers, a hamburger chain, hotlinked to a flash game developer's Burgertime clone on their 'Fuddrockers' page. When the developer noticed an abnormal amount of traffic coming from their website, he decided to let the company know how he felt -- and maybe teach them about hotlinking.." From the post: "So, I redirected everything coming from Fuddruckers.com. (learned all about .htaccess files also... neat!) Wrote a nice little message pointing out how incredibly stupid their web developer is. And then redirected the main page to a pleasant little website showing photographs of slaughterhouses. And also opened up some more popups, for those that don't have popup blockers."
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Fuddruckers Called Out on Hotlinking

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  • What am I missing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by coupland ( 160334 ) * <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (esahcd)> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:35AM (#13468888) Journal
    Wait a minute... So someone is punishing another person for using a hotlink on the web? Someone has spent too much time sniffing the corporate glue of "we own everything!". The web is *about* linking, and open data structures, and access to information. How does information suddenly become inviolate if it's not splashed with corporate logos? If you don't want it to be seen by the world, don't publish it to the world...
  • by thegoogler ( 792786 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:35AM (#13468892)
    wasn't the POINT of the internet to be able to link anywhere at any time? /. has bashed sites before for there linking policies and legal action over "deeplinking", so whats the problem with this instance?
  • by PipOC ( 886408 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:39AM (#13468905) Homepage
    Fuddruckers did this without so much as giving credit to the author, let alone using their own bandwidth to host it. They passed it off as their own material.
  • by benna ( 614220 ) * <mimenarrator@g m a i l .com> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:40AM (#13468909) Journal
    The problem is that the way fuddruckers did the link, it looked like it was part of their site.
  • by XaXXon ( 202882 ) <xaxxon@gmail.cBOYSENom minus berry> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:43AM (#13468916) Homepage
    No one is saying that Fuddruckers can't link to someone else's site.


    When you do that, you're pointing people at someone else's content that they can choose to change at any time.

    Sure, it's your "right" to link to someone else's page (or else the web wouldn't work), but make sure you don't piss them off or you never know what you'll be pointing to in the future.
  • by kilolima ( 653825 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:51AM (#13468937)
    I don't understand. From the screenshot of the fuddruckers site, it clearly gives the url and email of the flash game site... so how is this stealing content? Wouldn't a small-time flash developer want this sort of exposure? Doing some sort of goatse move to poor kids who are expecting to play a game is just wrong. This guy should be taken to court or soemthing for indecent exposure.
  • Ass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MattW ( 97290 ) <matt@ender.com> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:53AM (#13468941) Homepage
    Note to flash guy: you're an ass and a publicity hound.

    (1) Your game has a URL tag on it, so it's impossible for fuddrucker's to represent it as their own.

    (2) Fuddrucker's accounted for only a small portion of total hits, and yet you're complaining about the bandwidth usage?

    (3) Despite the evidence that the link was not particularly stressful nor malicious in any way, you went way out of your way to do something incredibly malicious back.

    How... bad.
  • by TheStupidOne ( 872664 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:54AM (#13468944)
    A) Corporate entity used someone's work without their permission, solely to gain traffic.
    B) Corporate entity hotlinked said work so that the creator would have to foot the bandwidth bill

    I don't think the creator would have mind much if he had his work used with permission and was hosted on Fuddrucker's servers. Hell, I would have taken it as an honor. This isn't a random teenager hotlinking some crazy photoshop on his Angelfire site, this is a major corporation stealing someone's work and bandwidth. Fuddruckers not only stole his work and claimed it as their own, but they stole his bandwidth at the same time. And they profited from their theft, while he was left with the bandwidth expenses.

    Information should be free, but people's hard work and creativity should be rewarded. If someone is profiting off someone else's work, then the creater deserves compensation, unless he specifically allows it. I even ask permission from the site owner or creator before taking things and using them on my site. It's common curtesy. Just because it's on the Internet doesn't mean it's free to just take and profit from.
  • by mixmasterjake ( 745969 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:57AM (#13468954)
    Because all information should be free. Uh, except MY information, I mean. My work is copyrighted so keep your damn links away! All corporate information should be free, though. That's what I mean. Screw the man!
  • Hrmmm..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toastyman ( 23954 ) <toasty@dragondata.com> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:58AM (#13468962) Homepage
    So, you're upset someone is using something you created without giving you credit or asking permission, but you copied the gameplay and name from another company's game without crediting them in any way or getting permission?
  • by tmoertel ( 38456 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:59AM (#13468963) Homepage Journal
    Let me get this straight. This guy is outraged that a high-traffic site would link to him, chewing up his bandwidth, and his "solution" is to redirect all of that traffic to some other sites that host pictures of slaughterhouses, driving those poor guys into ground:
    EDIT: Apparently the slaughterhouse sites are getting hammered... they might take a while to load.
    I guess his Golden Rule reads like this: Feel free to do unto others what has been done to you.

    Apparently, his sense of moral outrage is not transitive.

  • Furthermore... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CarbonJackson ( 540580 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:59AM (#13468965) Homepage
    He has the URL of his website right there on the opening screen. So while they're stealing what looked to be 5% of his traffic, they're also directing people to his website. Wow, someone in corporate America assumed a little bit too much, what would have been wrong with a polite to the webmaster? And why not just change the URL? Instead he decides to expose people to graphic images because they made the mistake of going to the Fudrucker's website? Sheesh. Chill out.
  • cute (Score:3, Insightful)

    by X_Caffeine ( 451624 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:01AM (#13468973)
    cute, but isn't this guy now stealing bandwidth from slaughterhouses?
  • by AnonymousCactus ( 810364 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:03AM (#13468977)
    I host some websites, some flash, some other stuff. I don't care how I get eyeballs, as long as people don't steal my content, I can make money from ads. This guy is an idiot.
  • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 ) <icebalm&icebalm,com> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:04AM (#13468986)
    The credit to the author is in the titlescreen of the game, even his own URL. Why duplicate work?

    If you don't want people accessing resources you make publicly available on the public internet then don't make them publicly available.
  • Hmmmmmmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Descalzo ( 898339 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:05AM (#13468990) Journal
    My sentiments exactly.

    So what's the difference between what Fuddruckers did to him and what he did to the slaughterhouses?

  • Re:Ass (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shipud ( 685171 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:08AM (#13468996)
    Note to flash guy: you're an ass and a publicity hound.

    (1) Your game has a URL tag on it, so it's impossible for fuddrucker's to represent it as their own.

    Yet they did. Nota bene: not everyone is as sophisticated as a /.r. Most people do not realize that a different URL tag means someone else created it. And they cannibalized it for their own gain

    (2) Fuddrucker's accounted for only a small portion of total hits, and yet you're complaining about the bandwidth usage?

    His bandwidth, it's his to complain about. Fuddruckers should pay him for that portion. Or at least ask nicely.

    (3) Despite the evidence that the link was not particularly stressful nor malicious in any way, you went way out of your way to do something incredibly malicious back.

    Plagiarism and stealing bandwidth. They could have asked nicely AND did a better job of giving credit.

    Plagiarism for profit purposes is greedy, shows undue pride, obviously Fuddrucker's web designer was envious of the Flash programmer's skill, but too slothful to acquire or implement them. Four deadly sins right there.

  • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 ) <icebalm&icebalm,com> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:10AM (#13469002)
    Errr... if I put up a file, for me and my friends, and Yahoo decides to put it up on their front page, (without permission or credit) then I'm out (depending on the size of the file) several thousand dollars. (Due to hosting costs) this is wrong.

    The only thing wrong about it is you failing to use technical means to keep this file private for only you and your friends via password or some such, as well as negotiating a poor hosting contract with your provider which would make you liable for something of this magnatude.

    You gamble that a file you post will not be downloaded much, but it's only a gamble. If you put something out there for public consumption and the public consumes it then it is not the publics fault for doing so for how is the public to know what contract you have with your hosting provider? How is the public to know you will be harmed if the public accesses resources you explicitly provide to the public? It's rediculous.

    The whole idea of "bandwidth theft" is a fallacy on its face.
  • What the fuck? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mirkon ( 618432 ) <mirkon&gmail,com> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:10AM (#13469005) Homepage
    Talk about "incredibly stupid" web developers, how about a guy who redirects unsuspecting consumers to his personal diatribe and some intrusive pop-ups?

    FFS, complain to the company, move the file, restrict access from that referrer - but jesus, this is the kind of jackassery that makes people hate the Web.
  • by The Empiricist ( 854346 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:13AM (#13469015)
    Most of the comments seem to focus on the morality of what the Fuddruckers webmaster (of html-peon) did or on what Mr. Briggs did. I think I even saw a comment on how stupid Fuddruckers must be.

    What I haven't seen is the suggestion that perhaps Mr. Briggs passed up a modestly lucrative opportunity to profit a bit from his originally selfless efforts. After all, it's obvious that someone at Fuddruckers liked his game. He might have been able to convince them to legally purchase the rights, or at least agree to indemnify him if the original creators of the BurgerTime game ever decided to sue Mr. Briggs based on copyright infringement. Perhaps he might have convinced them to purchase a tweaked version of the game, customized for Fuddruckkers.

    Instead, he decided to make a rather malicious effort to embarrass them, poisoning any potential commercial relationship. But, the opportunity to rant and show off modest technological l33t skillz was apparently enough to offset the potential of acquiring base, material crap such as money.
  • by Motherfucking Shit ( 636021 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:14AM (#13469017) Journal
    So someone is punishing another person for using a hotlink on the web?
    I imagine you, like me, recall the day when "hotlink" was just another term for "link." Back then, having as many "hotlinks" to you as possible was a great thing.

    People have gradually redefined the word, though, and now it no longer carries positive connotations. The current definition of "hotlink" is something like "to embed content in your web site which references an absolute URI on another web site." This practice used to be called image stealing or bandwidth stealing, but I guess those weren't buzzword-worthy enough.

    I guess even with that definition, what Fuddrucker's did doesn't really qualify. What they're really guilty of is just plain asshattery, and it's possible that the "victim" is just perpetrating more of the same. His LiveJournal post includes this edit:

    EDIT: Apparently the slaughterhouse sites are getting hammered... they might take a while to load.
    So, presumably, he's not hosting the slaughterhouse images himself, but he's redirecting Fuddrucker's traffic to innocent third parties... The very thing he's pissed off at Fuddrucker's for doing.
  • by nEoN nOoDlE ( 27594 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:24AM (#13469040) Homepage
    So the link to the originating website at the bottom of the pop-up window isn't "credit?" Yeah, it's stupid of a large restaurant chain to link to another site because the content may change, but I think he overreacted. On his little bandwidth graph, fuddruckers was far from being the worst bandwidth hog. He could have just sent them a letter and if it was anything other than a large restaurant chain, he probably would have.
  • by noisymime ( 816237 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:26AM (#13469043) Homepage
    this guy didn't fail to use technical means, its just that his technical means was redirecting to another (public, freely accessible etc) website.
  • by dreold ( 827386 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:27AM (#13469045)
    The argument that Fuddruckers should have made it more evident that this was not their work, I can see. That is not nice but in the end the Flash game includes credits, so one could argue that no blatant plagiarism took place.

    Now as to the whole bandwidth stealing thing:

    If you put it on the web, they will come...one way or another.

    If you don't want them to come, build in an authentication/sign-up scheme like one of the previous posters suggested. I don't see this as being worse from anything anyone does on the web.

    /.ers regulary link to nytimes and wired stories directly, depriving those sites of many, many hits that could be ad revenue relevant. The only saving grace here is that /. indicates the domain after the link.

  • by Wieland ( 830777 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:28AM (#13469050) Homepage
    If fuddruckers had just included a LINK ("check out this great game on briggster.com"), that would be OK, because that's indeed what the web is all about.
    But this isn't just direct linking, it's embedding the game into your own site as if it were part of your own site, while making someone else do all the work, and pay the bill.
    Linking is not the same as hotlinking. The former is what makes the web, the latter is stealing.
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:31AM (#13469058) Homepage
    The exact wording might be incorrect, but the quote which springs to mind readily is this one:

    "To have the right to do something is not the same as being right to do it"

    I agree Fuddruckers has the right to link to his site. I agree he has the right to change his content. I completely disagree that he was right to change his content in such a manner.

    I mean, this company has just given him a compliment. "Hey", they said. "This game is cool". And how does the complimentee respond? By kicking virtual sand in their face because it generates too much interest. Something wrong with just putting a static 'Thanks for the interest, but we can't cope with the bandwidth right now' message up? Ie. being pleasant and polite?

    And since the guy's getting so self-righteous, I assume he has permission from the copyright holders of Burgertime to clone their game and shove it up on the web for free in the first place, right? I mean, a person so certain of right and wrong must> have done that first, musn't he.


  • by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:33AM (#13469062)
    In the first place, Fuddruckers' page leaves guests with the impression that they did the game themselves. Meanwhile, they make money off of somebody else's work, without credit, acknowledgement, a link to allow visitors to return traffic to the host's site. But wait, there's more...

    There is a quite obvious URL and credits in the flash game itself. They're not giving anybody the impression that they did it themselves.

    Was it appropriate to hotlink the file, making it harder for users to get to his site? No. Is anybody being fooled about where it is coming from? No.

    This isn't nearly so big a deal as you or even the original author is making it to be (He isn't even seeing much traffic/bandwidth from them). At worst it is a lack of curtesy that could have been easily solved by contacting the site hosting it and requesting they link to the HTML page instead of the flash file directly.

    The author chose, instead of the proper thing (contacting these "fuddruckers" people), posting graphic images. The author is now just as guilty as the people doing the hotlinking were, because he mishandled the situation so badly.
  • by croddy ( 659025 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:50AM (#13469105)
    that's exactly right. while fuddrucker's failure to ask permission was poor netiquette, there is nothing ethically or legally (afaik) wrong with linking content from another server. that's what the world wide web was designed to do, and it does it very well. plus, there's a good argument to be made that caching a local copy and redistributing it would have constituted copyright infringement.

    of course, the poor webmaster whose server got slammed also did the right thing. the challenge of people "hotlinking" your content and "stealing" your bandwidth is best countered by technological measures -- not by rules, laws, or complaints. by employing the tools contained in a vast, featureful web server, he was able to stop fuddrucker's from using his content in a way he didn't approve, as well as solve a technological problem using the appropriate means -- not by making threats and demands.

    on the internet, controlling the use of your content is simple. configure your software to transmit it only to those whom you'd like to have it.

  • exactly, paypal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by samjam ( 256347 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:58AM (#13469123) Homepage Journal
    He should have put up a paypal page to get people to pay $1 to play the game if they came from the Fud.

    What an opportunity wasted for a developer.

    He could have sold branded exhanced versions of the game to fudruckers to put on their own side, with burger discounts for folk who reach new high scores etc.

    He sure missed the (3) ??? and therefore the (4) profit.

    Shame! He shoulda read slashdot more often, then he would have known what to do.

  • by patio11 ( 857072 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:59AM (#13469126)
    Exactly. Why couldn't he have made a five minute phone call? "Hiya, glad you like my flash game. I was wondering if you'd be interested in purchasing a special Fuddruckers branded version? Given that I already have the game mostly ready, this could be done for very, very cheaply next to your website budget -- you feel free to make an offer, but I'm thinking mid four figures would do nicely. Of course, if you don't take me up on this offer, I'm going to have to ask that you not link directly to my game. It costs me bandwidth, you realize, and you're the only one who benefits." Heck, given that you get someone different from the HTML peon they might be happy to send you money just to eliminate the threat of you suing them.
  • by martian67 ( 892569 ) <martian67@gmaBALDWINil.com minus author> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:02AM (#13469134)
    If you would take the time to read the article, you would notice that the games author had his website embeded inside the flash file (free advertising), and that it was not a large or even a particualrly stressful amount of bandwidth, but yet he chose to do something incredibly malicious back to them without even bothering to ask them to remove link. And the fact he take others content and does not give credit, but yet gets angry when the same is done to him is more than a little hypocrytical....
  • Hypocrite? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by kilox ( 774253 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:06AM (#13469148)
    Quote = EDIT: Apparently the slaughterhouse sites are getting hammered... they might take a while to load.

    Did he just redirect them to hot-linked images on someone else's site?
  • by xirtam_work ( 560625 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:09AM (#13469155)
    I'm sorry to say that the game that the Flash developer created is based upon a copyrighted arcade game (by Namco I think). He has not credited the owner of the copyright nor asked permission to make his own re-creation of their game. He even used the exact same name. If he wants to be so righteous about it he can first either get permission or remove the game from the web.

    The same would go for a Tetris or Pacman 'clone. Sorry to say that many of the games that we all think of as generic were designed and programmed by someone and they own it.

    As for his actions simply denying access and popping up a message saying that the content is unauthorised due to hot-linking policies asking Fuddruckers to contact him would have been a lot more productive. Was he within his rights to do what he did - yes. Was it a professional thing to do - no. As it stands he is either immature or looking for publicity.

  • Re:Ass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:10AM (#13469160) Homepage Journal
    It's the Slashdot ethic. You're allowed to be an asshole in reaction to other assholes.

    This guy could have sent a note to Fuddruckers telling them to stop. He could have changed the URL and broken their links. He could even have redirected them back to themselves. Instead he decided to be an asshole. Thus the presence of the story on Slashdot.
  • by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:26AM (#13469207) Journal
    from the idiots website: But did I do this right away? No! I waited until the Friday evening before a three-day weekend. So either it'll be up for three days, or someone is going to have to go in during their vacation to fix it.

    You couldn't email them to find out what was going on? You knew they were "stealing" your game, but you waited? So between the time you knew they were "stealing" and the time you got even, did you give them permission to use your game?

    Yeah, that's right. They didn't even bother to download the game and host it themselves. They linked to my game, using my game and my bandwidth to promote their restaurant.

    Let me get this right. They put a link on their website. They did not steal your code. They did not pass off the game as their own. I see at the bottom of the game, in BIG LETTERS your email of games@briggster.com. And I see the URL of your webiste.

    Since when is putting up a link stealing. I can understand if they put an image on your website and hotlink it, that is theft. But since when is linking the same as stealing?

    So, if I put a link on my website to The Onion, am I stealing from The Onion every time someone who visits my page then goes to visit theirs? Because I see you link to a ton of stuff from your blog. Did you get permission from each and every place before you linked to their website?

    And how much traffic did Fudruckkers send your way? Looking at that pie graph, it looks like 2% or so. Who is that Saionji.net? They are "stealing" far more from you.

    This guy should be arrested. He knew that Fuddruckers was linking. He did nothing about it. He waited until he could hurt Fuddruckers the most.

    This is no different than if I see a neighbors kid walking on MY lawn. It is MY property. But I don't tell the kid to stop doing it. Instead I wait the day before the kids family has their summer vacation trip, with paid airline tickets. Then I dig a small hole, and cover it up with leaves. I put nails all over, and cover them up. I put stuff out for the kid to trip on and get cut up. HA! That will teach them, the family will loose their vacation and I'll have shown them.

    This guy is a waste of a human life. In days with people suffering because of Katrina, this guy wants to cause a little more suffering. Instead of being proud that someone thought his game was good enough to link to, this guy decided to be a dick. He is no different than the looters who steal 40 pairs of shoes. He had an oppertunity to hurt someone, and he did it. He did not take even one effort to try and resolve his issue in a civilized way. Hell, Fuddruckers is a fairly large company, if he would have complained nicely, they might have paid him for any bandwith they used. Fuddruckers would not want the bad press. But now, Fuddruckers comes out as the victims, and this guy comes out as the dick. There is a moral to this story that kids should learn.

    I am going to laugh when the follow-up story comes out on slashdot, about how Fuddruckers sues his ass.

  • by shellbeach ( 610559 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:31AM (#13469217)
    And how does the complimentee respond? By kicking virtual sand in their face because it generates too much interest. Something wrong with just putting a static 'Thanks for the interest, but we can't cope with the bandwidth right now' message up? Ie. being pleasant and polite?

    The funniest thing of all is that the amount of bandwidth fuddruckers was taking up was 5% or less, judging by the graph on his site. I mean, sheesh, what a loser this guy is - not only does he get upset that someone thought his work worthwhile enough to link to, but then he actually thinks his response was not only justified but also pretty damn clever. He writes - and you can see him smirking all the way - "But did I do this right away? No! I waited until the Friday evening before a three-day weekend. So either it'll be up for three days, or someone is going to have to go in during their vacation to fix it. My only hope is that an executive from Fuddruckers finds out about it before that happens. Because, really, stupidity like that deserves losing your job over."

    So, yes, Fuddruckers should have sent the guy an email out of courtesy, but that's the only way that I can see that they did anything wrong. An acknowledgement on their website would also have been nice, but considering the game clearly states on the main page who it was written by that's hardly necessary. But these things didn't seem to upset the game's author anyway - what he seemed most pissed off about was that Fuddruckers had linked to his game, rather than copying it and hosting it on their site. Now, there's no obvious copyright on the games and nothing to suggest that they're open source or public domain ... so surely it would have been much worse if Fuddruckers had copied the game and placed it on their site!? That would have been a possible breach of copyright, after all!
  • by JonXP ( 850946 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:39AM (#13469242)
    I find making a HUGE single color gif image, like 1px tall and billions across, is just as effective, except it has the added benefits of hanging firefox on low memory machines, and being extremely low bandwidth (due to the way gifs are compressed).
  • Re:Ass (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:47AM (#13469257)
    His bandwidth, it's his to complain about. Fuddruckers should pay him for that portion. Or at least ask nicely.

    And I hope that the owners of the slaughterhouse sites make sure to take it out of his wallet for their unexpected bandwidth costs. Better yet, I'd like to see Data East go after him for blatant trademark infringement for the Burgertime trademark.

    Plagiarism for profit purposes is greedy, shows undue pride, obviously Fuddrucker's web designer was envious of the Flash programmer's skill, but too slothful to acquire or implement them. Four deadly sins right there.

    You could say the same thing about the flash game developer and the original developers of Burgertime in terms of their ability to conceive of such a clever game concept. Perhaps, just perhaps, Fuddrucker's site was put together on a shoe-string budget by some poor bastard in an tiny web shop somewhere who happened to dig this guys' flash games and thought it'd be cool to hotlink to it. It's less sneaky to do that instead of copying the file to your own servers because usage will show up in their logs, implicitly imforming them of your use. You assume that people are not just devious but completely evil. That's a mistake in judgement and it makes the world a worse place, starting with your judgemental ass.

    Yup, some poor bastard will lose their job over this, and that flash developer will now have a reputation as a petulant child.
  • by Nogami_Saeko ( 466595 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:50AM (#13469262)
    Indeed. Very juvenile...

    A polite email to the company webmonkey would likely have accomplished the same thing.

    There's something to be said for taking the higher ground. Heck, I would've just let them link the game directly, but re-written the game to serve some ads too, and made some additional revenue from it, and probably gained some additional marketing for my software products.

    If I was in the market for any software this guy was writing, he could consider himself blacklisted at this point...

  • by Steeltoe ( 98226 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:16AM (#13469334) Homepage
    Not only that, but he hotlinked to another site himself. Did he ask permission first?

    Sometimes, people don't stop and think things through.

  • Waaay overboard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flakac ( 307921 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:24AM (#13469351)
    This guy needs to chill out. Instead of reacting in a knee-jerk, vindictive fashion, he could have:
    1. Simply restricted access to the game for all requests with a referrer of fuddruckers.com by configuring the web server.
    2. Contacted the webmaster and politely discuss options for hosting and credit. Who knows if he could have even made some money and publicity out of the deal.
    3. Redirected requests coming from fuddruckers.com to a page explaining why he thinks hotlinking is wrong.
    Instead, he decides to show the world that he's an immature jerk, and in so doing reinforce public opinion of geeks as being primarily anti-social losers.
  • by mikeswi ( 658619 ) * on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:29AM (#13469362) Homepage Journal
    First of all, learn the difference between hyperlinking and hotlinking. Hyperlinking means you link to another site from your own, which is what you were talking about. Hotlinking means you load something on your site that is located on someone else's site. The other site has to deal with the bandwidth use of both sites. That's THEFT.

    Second, your analogy is about as relevent to the story as the price of bat shit in Trinidad.

    Finally, Fuddruckers doesn't come out as a victim in any imaginable way and they don't have a legal case good enough to survive the first court hearing.

    The flash file was his. It was located on his server. What he chooses to do with the files on his own server is his own business.
  • Re:What the fuck? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lxs ( 131946 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:34AM (#13469375)
    I'm not in the US, so people here aren't suffering the kind of moral panic you seem to have succumbed to.

    Television serves up sex and violence on a daily basis and children are exposed to many of the things the "guardians of morality" are decrying. Society hasn't broken down, my country has very low teenage pregnancy rates and a low crime rate. Children do get to see the bad / strange side of the world and that tends to make them more socially engaged, more tolerant and better informed.

    There is nothing wrong with showing the customers where meat comes from, even the children. If they can't handle that truth, they shouldn't be eating meat in the first place.
    I'm not a vegetarian, I eat meat on a daily basis, but I believe in treating the animals well in life, killing them quickly and slaughtering them efficiently.

    Oh and by the way, the word 'cunt' is the most widely used expletive in my language (only it's an adjective around here) it's bandied about by everybody both in real life and on television day and night, even in polite conversation. It lost it's power to shock twenty years ago.
  • by rjshields ( 719665 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:53AM (#13469414)
    The author chose, instead of the proper thing (contacting these "fuddruckers" people), posting graphic images. The author is now just as guilty as the people doing the hotlinking were, because he mishandled the situation so badly.
    Nonsense, the author is in *no way* guilty. He can do whatever the hell he wants with his own content hosted on his own server, as long as he's not breaking any laws.

    The web developer at fuddruckers got exactly what he deserved for being such a fool.
  • Tips (Score:3, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:04AM (#13469437) Journal
    For anyone in a similar situation, remember to follow the simple 6 steps:

    1. Is your content stolen are copyrighted by someone else itself? If so, tread carefully or use this as an excuse to say you were complying and removing copyrighted material from your site. Don't attempt to modify the content however

    2. Is the hot-linker outside your country? This will add another layer of covering your ass, if not then be careful about what you put up

    3. Is your website linked to your real identity? obviously if it is you want to bare that in mind, for your reputation and your legal protection.

    4. Subtlety is good, if you can make it look like an accident then all the better, but if you want to put your own personal touch in so they know who they are dealing with. Shock tactics (goatse.cx) are great but remember that is likely to lead to legal action when one of their customers tries to sue them so be careful and follow step 5:

    5. Use pop-ups if you want plausible deniability. Most people use IE and most IE users have pop-up infested machines anyway - you could always blame it on that and most non-technical people wont challenge it. BTW I said pop-ups, I didn't say how big they should be, take advantage.

    6. Don't abuse the target pages copyrighted material, logos etc, don't use javascript to attack their page in any way outside of the given construct of the hot-link, that might be seen as breaking in somehow

    I think the most effective thing would have been to replace the game with a single image of a burger being made with a turd.
  • by fistynuts ( 457323 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:09AM (#13469448)
    Yup, I totally agree with this. I mean, this guy puts this BURGER-RELATED game on his website (presumably for others to play) then gets annoyed when a BURGER company likes it and wants its BURGER-EATING customers to play it. Shit, they might've hired him to produce more branded Flash titles.

    Tip: If you put content on the web, expect visitors.
  • Uhh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by msormune ( 808119 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:21AM (#13469460)
    So the guy just retaliated with out FIRST contacting Fuddruckers? That's the way to do it. You must be proud.
  • Re:Furthermore... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jamu ( 852752 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:52AM (#13469513)
    Keep in mind that Fuddsuckers decided to expose it's viewers to content outside of their control while presenting it as their own. It wasn't a simple link to another site. Not that I'm saying what he did was the right thing to do in the circumstances.
  • by David Horn ( 772985 ) <david@@@pocketgamer...org> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:27AM (#13469599) Homepage
    You'll notice that at the bottom of the page where they link to the game that they say who it's made by and provide a link to his site.

    True, it's not very polite, but the author took an extremely juvenile response. I would think twice about commissioning him to write software for me in future.
  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:29AM (#13469601) Journal
    "but people's hard work and creativity should be rewarded. "

    Ah yes, especially the hard work of someone who is stealing and copying from the creators of burgertime.

    "while he was left with the bandwidth expenses."

    And somehow his hotlinking to the slaughterhouse images from another host who now has to foot the bill is somehow ok?

    Weird sense of morality you have. Fudruckers should not have hotlinked to his site. But face it, by any measure this guy is a total asshole for trying to shock and offend people. There is an appropriate adult action to take in that situation by anyone with even the slightest bit of maturity. He decided to act like a pissed off 14 year old. What a complete douchebag.
  • by tang ( 179356 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:35AM (#13469612)
    >Do you have evidence for this, because if you do it would >certainly turn the tables on him...

    Well, he did write a Burgertime clone, was he the original Burgertime creator? Does he have a notice posted giving the original creators of Burgertime credit? Nope.

    >As for "...he chose to do something incredibly malicious..." well >I disagree. If someone stole something from me
    Noone stole from him. They LINKED to a game on his website. That game still had a splash with his website URL and contact info.

    >If Fuddruckers had an ounce of decency they should reimburse >the expenses this guy has incurred on their behalf (while not >his major referred, they still consumed finite resources).
    He put content on the WWW. Fuddruckers LINKED to it. They did not do anything wrong! That is the way the internet works. You put things on the internet, people find them and link to them. Just because a company did it they need to reimburse someone ,when sites like slashdot and fark link to tons of sites, should they be paying bandwidth to every site they link?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 03, 2005 @08:12AM (#13469706)

    Stealing means taking someone else's property. And bandwidth *is* property. You hand over xxx dollars for yyy gigabytes of bandwidth. You trade one type of property (your money) for another type of property (your bandwidth).

    So someone using your bandwidth is taking your property.

    It's stealing.

  • by passthecrackpipe ( 598773 ) * <passthecrackpipe@hotmail . c om> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @08:22AM (#13469755)
    You are confusing issues. Publishing a link to someone's site (in the way /. and fark and many others do) is the way the web works. This is not what fuckrudders did - they simply presented the content as their own, without reference to the guy at all. They stole his content - bad enough in itself - and then also stole his bandwith while they were at it.

    The guy is *totally* in his rights to change the content on his site to anything he likes, including pictures of slaughterhouses, if he desires to do so. Morevoer, he is totally in his rights to do this for a selective portion of his audience. He did nothing wrong! This is the way the internet works. You put things on the internet, people find them, link to them, you don't like some of the people linking to them, and so you replace it with something else.

    You are seriously on the wrong side of this particular debate. Did something similar yourself, perhaps?
  • by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @08:35AM (#13469810) Journal
    No, ripping off someone else's copyrighted work and reimplementing it in another medium (flash) doesn't give you any (copy-)rights on the result.

    That depends on what you do, actually. If you copy any of their work (graphics, music, etc.), then you are infringing copyright. If on the other hand you reimplement the thing from scratch, draw all your own artwork that only resembles theirs in the sense that any picture of a burger will look like a burger, write your own music, and basically just reproduce the game without copying anything but the basic idea, then actually you do have all the copyright on it, and there's not a thing they can do to stop you.

    Copyright protects an implementation, not an idea.

    If someday you feel bored and decide to reimplement Monopoly(TM) into flash and put it on your website, I can guarantee you'll get sued out of existence.

    That depends how you do it, actually. If you produce anything with "opoly" in its name you'll certainly get attention from lawyers, but that will be because you may be infringing on trademark rights in the "Monopoly" name. If you produce something that has identical rules, you may possibly be sued for that, because IIRC an exact set of game rules can be copyrighted.

    But if you produce a game that merely happens to involve moving counters round the edge of a board, whereon are depicted various properties, which can be purchased by the first player to land on each thus requiring subsequent players to make a payment to that player upon landing on that square, then you're in the clear. It could even look and play essentially identically to Monopoly(r). As long as you didn't call it Foobaropoly, and the rules weren't actually identical.

    Because copyright protects an implementation, not an idea.

    And the actual patents on Monopoly(r), which protected the actual idea, must have expired about 60 years ago.
  • by peterjhill2002 ( 578023 ) <peterjhill.cmu@edu> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @08:37AM (#13469815) Journal
    When people get /.'d they often change their content... It happens all the time...

    Now they are pointing the www.fuddruckers.com to an individual vip on google... not even a cname pointing to www.google.com.. so now one cluster of google servers is getting more traffic then others since they are bypassing any layer 3 load balancing that google might be doing...

    What kind of IT staff do they have? Are they contracting out all this stuff?

    In my view, what the Burgertime clone guy did was the fast way to get a company that probably has one guy who does the entire website, to change their behaviour as quickly as possible... Would they have even responded to an email message to their webmaster@? I doubt it...

    If fudruckers is allowed to hotlink, then I say that the other guy is free to change the content of the destination of that link.. they had no formal business agreement... hell it was the guys personal site... fud them.
  • by DMadCat ( 643046 ) <dmadcat AT moondans DOT com> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @09:01AM (#13469908)
    A polite email from the company webmonkey in the first place asking if they could use the content would have been preferable.

    IF the "company webmonkey" even acknowledged his email how long do you think it would have taken them to change the site. In my experience corporate entities (I work in IT for a fairly large one) take quite a bit of time to do much of anything that doesn't affect their bottom line.

    Perhaps you might want to take a look at his site. Something tells me he isn't really looking for marketing revenue. If you look closely you'll see he has no advertising on what appears to be a personal website.

    His way, while possibly juvenile, was also a much quicker way of resolving the issue.

    I'm sure he's falling all over himself in a panic that you're unwilling to hire him as a software guy, though.
  • by shellbeach ( 610559 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @09:25AM (#13469981)
    I think what he didn't like was the fact that they used his game to promote their website, in a way (judging from the screenshots) that made it seem like they created the game - without mentioning that they didn't, and without linking back to his actual site, and of course, hot-linking the game, too.

    They didn't really hot-link the game, though, did they? It's just a link - it's not like the game's embedded in the page, any more than this is [briggster.com] ... There, now - am I guilty of hot-linking too??

    And I don't think the company was intentionally claiming the game as theirs - it was probably more a case of the webmaster finding a clone of burgertime, thinking that'd be a fun thing to have a link to and providing the link. It seems an unlikely thing to have been done out of malice, it's much more likely to be the result of thoughtlessness. After all, the start screen of the game provides a prominent link to the author's page - perhaps they thought that that was enough? Sadly, the game's author didn't take the time to find out what their intentions were before launching his all-out attack ...

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely defending Fuddruckers - they certainly should have acknowledged the authorship of the game, and a polite email to the guy asking if they could link to his game would have been nice as well. It's just that none of the above warranted anything remotely like his response ...
  • by Alcoholist ( 160427 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @09:26AM (#13469987) Homepage
    Also, completely stupid. A couple of polite emails would have likely cleared the whole thing up. Does he suppose this burger company will want anything to do with him now?

    Here is a fellow, in a moment of juveline petulance, destroyed a potential business opportunity (eg. "I'll write you an even better game for $$$"), to say nothing about damaging his reputation. The Internet is just full of people who react without thinking. . . He forgets the great rule of everything -- two stupids don't make a smart.

    He didn't have to do anything more complicated than take content down and write a polite email.
  • by Jekler ( 626699 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @09:57AM (#13470116)
    Jim: "You know the problem with our site Bob?"

    Bob: "What's that Jim?"

    Jim: "Too many visitors. It's like they all want something we have and I don't got a dang clue why."

    Bob: "So what're we gonna do? Sell them stuff?"

    Jim: "Heck no! Let's investigate web technology and find a way to get rid of them. I mean if we start selling them stuff, they're just gonna be back. Before you know it we'll have customers all over us like bees on honey! No no, we've gotta nip this in the bud!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 03, 2005 @09:59AM (#13470124)
    You are an idiot.
  • by HD Webdev ( 247266 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @10:46AM (#13470356) Homepage Journal
    He put content on the WWW. Fuddruckers LINKED to it. They did not do anything wrong! That is the way the internet works. You put things on the internet, people find them and link to them. Just because a company did it they need to reimburse someone ,when sites like slashdot and fark link to tons of sites, should they be paying bandwidth to every site they link?

    Not to mention, at the linked site it says "EDIT: Apparently the slaughterhouse sites are getting hammered... they might take a while to load."

    Does this mean that he's stealing bandwidth from slaughterhouse sites by not even bothering to host the pictures himself?

    That's what I think. After all, he says that those sites are getting hammered now with the valid assumption that it's because of him.

    Pot, kettle, blacker.
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @11:00AM (#13470422) Homepage
    A polite email to the company webmonkey would likely have accomplished the same thing.

    Likewise a simple phone call from the Fuddruckers web developer could have resulted in a win for both organizations. I've gotten permission for music, pictures, articles, movies all kinds of stuff just for asking. Most times it's worked out well for both of us and more than once I made contacts that were useful on future projects.

    Personal communication, what a concept, huh?

  • by Motherfucking Shit ( 636021 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @11:05AM (#13470450) Journal
    Uhm, no. He's *redirecting* to the sites. Fuddruckers's were embedding one file from his site. There's a big difference.
    Fuddrucker's wasn't embedding anything, the guy's blog entry makes it clear that this was a case of them linking to his Flash game; he's even posted a screenshot of it. The game isn't embedded into any page at fuddruckers.com. There was a link on fuddruckers.com that pointed to the Flash file, and if you clicked the link, it loaded the game from this guy's website.

    Tacky, yes. "Stealing" bandwidth, no. "Hotlinking," even by its newspeak definition, definitely not. If you object to a commercial operation linking to a Flash game on somebody else's website, I can't possibly understand your rationale for hanging out here. Slashdot melts more servers and generates more hosting bandwidth overage bills in an hour than Fuddrucker's will do before they go bankrupt.

    I'm not trying to defend Fuddrucker's, I'd never heard of them prior to tonight (I've heard of Fudpucker's but I'm not going to waste the time looking up who ripped off whom). However, there are much more tactful ways of dealing with this sort of transgression. The "victim" should have uploaded one of the slaughterhouse photos to his own webspace, and used a rewrite directive to send requests for the Flash game with a fuddruckers.com referer to the gory photo.

    Cockerham got this right years ago when some idiot snarfed his Burning Man photo to use for eBay, and certainly while his case was high-profile, even he wasn't the first to figure it out. You (perhaps temporarily) alter the file that you believe is being abused, either to zero it out, or to humiliate the perceived abuser. Hosting it should remain your responsibility; don't complicate the problem by generating popups to load websites that have nothing to do with the situation.
  • by EvilFrog ( 559066 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @11:08AM (#13470463)
    The problem is, your bandwidth is available to the public. By posting it on the web you're effectively giving people permission to link to and access your stuff.

    It's kind of like printing out your website and putting it in a box you leave downtown that says "FREE" on it. Do you have any right to complain about people taking multiple copies and telling their friends?

    Likewise, this is Slashdot. Any complaint about linking to peoples' sites and using up bandwidth is pure hypocrisy as you're currently on a site that does nothing but that.
  • by psyon1 ( 572136 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @11:39AM (#13470601) Homepage
    Domain.com [domain.com]

    With a hyperlink, the owner of a site acknowledges Domain.com as the creator of content, and links to the site to show people its content.


    With hotlinking, the visitor never knows that domain.com is the provider of the image used. Domain.com gets no exposure, has no opportunity to generate revenue, and has to foot a bill for bandwidth.

    A few posters have mentioned that the game authors email and url were on the front of the game, but that is honestly irrelevant. Would Fudruckers have linked to him if he did not have the URL on his game? Also, if Fudruckers would have linked to an HTML page on his site, he would have had an opportunity to place banner ads on his page to generate some revenue. By displaying the game directly, only 1% of the visitors might actually click that link, which gives him less of an opportunity to generate revenue.

    Nobody has the right to hotlink to content. Yes, there are ways to block hotlinking, but a webmaster should not be obligated to prevent people from doing so. If I leave my house unlocked, that does not give the public the right to walk in.
  • by aaronl ( 43811 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @11:42AM (#13470617) Homepage
    That's not theft, that's you being ignorant and part of the problem. If you publish something on the web, you are allowing people to link to it. That's just how it works, and it's how it was intended to work. You don't like it, and that's tough for you. Don't publish on the web, then.

    As for his files on his server, what I choose to do with my files on my server is my business, too. And one of the things I can decide to do is place a line of text in one of *my* files that causes the site visiter to download one of *his* files. Still my files on my server, and his files on his server. According to *yours own* logic, that makes what Fuddruckers did just peachy.
  • by coolgeek ( 140561 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @12:23PM (#13470839) Homepage
    So, by your theory, our very own Slashdot has performed such theft, what, tens of thousands of times. Hardly anybody ever invites the /. effect.
  • by FLEB ( 312391 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @01:50PM (#13471306) Homepage Journal
    Taking is not always stealing. If I ask Port 80, and Port 80 says "yes", then there's nothing stealing about it. Without that assumption, the Internet would be mostly useless.

    As it stands, it's a matter of courtesy (of the linker) and technological controls (of the linked).
  • by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:02PM (#13471361)

    Hotlinking is theft? You've got to be kidding me.

    Perhaps you're not aware of this, but bandwidth costs money. Having a website hosted costs money. This will probably come as a surprise to you, but hosting companies do not generally provide their services and bandwidth for free. This means that when A embeds B's content into A's website, B pays for it.

    Since you think it's not theft, can I come hook up to your telephone line at the junction box and make calls and just let you pay the bill? It's basically the same thing, I'm sure you won't mind! (Or is that suddenly different now because it's your money we're talking about?)

  • by brentyl2 ( 877919 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:20PM (#13471470)
    I understand completely that Fuddrucker's should have asked the BurgerTime guy for his permission to link to his site, or at least given him a head's up that they intended to do so. It's a matter of common courtesy. BUT, the BurgerTime guy handled the situation like a tool.

    Who wouldn't want the traffic to their blog/site/whatever? Bump your ad revenue! That's the missing ???? step to profit.

    As has been noted, the Fudd's traffic was roughly 5% of his bandwidth, so spare us the "excessive bandwidth charges" sob story.

    If you didn't want the traffic, just block it. Redirect it back to Fudd's. Whatever. Don't react like a 13 year old.

    And finally: For me this is the best part. He ranted about being hotlinked without notice... this is EXACTLY what he did to the slaughterhouse folks, and even noted with apparent amusement that their sites were being "hammered" (his words). Don't bitch about netiquette and then hose the next guy in exactly the same manner.

    Fuddrucker's did nothing fundamentally wrong. They lacked some social graces and failed the common coutesy test, but did nothing malicious, immoral or illegal. The BurgerTime guy trumped all of that.
  • by Kompressor ( 595513 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:41PM (#13471585)
    Note: I haven't bothered to read the article.

    It would be one thing if Fudruckers was linking to his main site, either in the orriginal window, or in a new window. As I understand, they simply linked to the content on his webserver and displayed it embedded in their site or opened the game on its own. So his bandwith was consumed and he got no exposure for the rest of his site or any advertizing revenue he might have generated.

    Slashdot, on the other hand, links to the website or article itself. The creaters of the site get all the recognition and exposure that they deserve, so there's no real loss on their part.

    If Fudruckers had linked directly to a page on his site, providing all the exposure that he deserved, then his actions would be juvenile and crude. Removing his content and replacing it with a message stating that he couldn't afford the bandwidth would have been the more mature route to take in either case, but I can forgive his actions in this instance.

  • by KillShill ( 877105 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:57PM (#13472080)
    on the internet, you DON'T control the use of your content, simple.

    don't put it up without password authentication if you want some measure of "control".

    fuddruckers and anyone else on the web have a right to link to whatever they want.

    that's what the web is all about.

    and talk about netequette.. the poor webmaster redirected the output to a virtual goatse picture or whatever.

    they both messed up but the webmaster of the site in question is clearly unhappy that the hippie communists have the nerve and daring to link to his precious content.

    if it's available to the public, you have every right to link to it. there is no STEALING involved here whatsoever. NETequette is a different matter.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"