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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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  • Hotlink THIS (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Nerd Systems ( 912027 ) * <.moc.smetsysdren. .ta. .neb.> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:33AM (#13468878) Homepage
    This is amazing, a major company such as Fuddruckers, with countless hits per day, linking like this to a site, without even notifying the site to verify if they have the bandwidth available, much less if the permission is there for them to use this site in the manner they are using it, to pretty much increase traffic to their site. Fuddrucker's site is currently off-line as we speak, so am assuming that they caught this effort to stop the hotlinking, and are currently redesigning their website, looking for someone else's nice work to steal while they are at it I presume. And to think, I almost went to Fuddruckers today to have a bite to eat with my fiance... here I am almost contributing to their ongoing misuse of net resources... shame on me... I better double check my site, to make sure that nobody out there hotlinks to it... don't want to see my bandwidth eaten up like this... At least my fiance's website, http://www.entertainmentwatch.com/ [entertainmentwatch.com] is set up so that you have to register to enjoy all the games... yet she actually has some pretty fun games. Battleships, Pacman, Tetris, and more... but she has them hosted on her server at least, so not using up precious bandwidth. Fuddruckers, take notice of this practice... such a hard concept... of downloading the game and HOSTING IT YOURSELF... versus stealing other's bandwidth... I wonder if in a court of law, that Fuddruckers could be sued to reclaim all that lost bandwidth that was used by this hotlinking campaign of theirs... Oh well, just my two cents on the matter :)
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:44AM (#13468922) Homepage Journal

    Fuddruckers, take notice of this practice... such a hard concept... of downloading the game and HOSTING IT YOURSELF... versus stealing other's bandwidth...

    Under some theories of netiquette, linking to an HTML page that references a Flash file is more polite than copying the Flash file to your own server because the former is normal use of the World Wide Web and the latter is copyright infringement. To put it into RIAA terms, "stealing" bandwidth is preferable to "stealing" a work of authorship.

  • and the point is... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:54AM (#13468945)
    (I suppose) it's not cool for a commercial entity to use someone's freely available document to enhance commercial value without obtaining permission or a contract or something or other.

    uhmm, you know, sort of like slashdot articles where 4 lines of incoherent mischaracteration and a link bring down some hobbyist's case mod page, thereby allowing OSTG to make bazillions from banner ads.

    How come slashdot doesn't get more slaughterhouse redirects?

    I think I would have started by sending a rather large bill to Fudruckers...
  • Re:Owned (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CountBrass ( 590228 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @02:56AM (#13468953)
    OK so maybe I'm being thick but let me see:
    1. Setup flash game on the web for people to use.
    2. Someone sends you lots of users.
    3. Get upset people are using said flash game you put up for people to use.
    4. Profit?!?
  • by starvingartist12 ( 464372 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:04AM (#13468984) Homepage

    What would have been cooler is having all the Slaughterhouse websites retaliate against the Burgertime guy and call him names for using up their content/bandwidth.

    Now that's a story =)

  • by TheComputerMutt.ca ( 907022 ) <jeremybanks@jeremybanks.ca> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:12AM (#13469009) Homepage Journal
    Yes, I am. From the looks of it, everything works. It looks like they modified their DNS info to point to Google, or something of the like.

    Seems pretty stupid to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:16AM (#13469022)
    Actually, it has already been ruled that hotlinking in such a way that the target is integrated into the linking site so that it isn't obvious to visitors that the content is not part of the site is copyright infringment.
  • Nice. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SphericalCrusher ( 739397 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:19AM (#13469028) Journal
    I've had a similar thing happen to me, although the company was not so big (it was just a single person). I think the idea that they wanted to link to him was pretty cool, because it also promotes his game, but he was right -- they should download it and host it on their site and give more linkback info to him so that people know they didn't create it themselves. It's always a funny sight to find simple vulnerabilities on the net.
  • by jred ( 111898 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:37AM (#13469073) Homepage
    with users of myspace, etc. They're constantly hotlinking my gallery. I run my personal site off my cable connection, and I can always tell when they've done it, my cs:s pings go way the fuck up. I usually turn off apache while I play, then afterwards I swap the pic w/ goatse...
  • by uberchicken ( 121048 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:22AM (#13469197)
    What a sorry bunch of people all round.

    What kind of "family" restaurant uses such an obvious spoonerism? The same kind of company that thinks it's cool to push "FCUK" right into the faces of my children in the high street.

    I also think the guy had a valid complaint, but his reaction is that of an utter tit.

    I hope they both disappear up each other's arses in a spectacular feat of Escher-like physics.
  • You are 100% wrong. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:37AM (#13469235) Journal
    This is funny, I would have done the same thing. They cannot counter sue because they had no business.

    If someone steals what I am saying, and puts it on their own site, then sues me when i change what I say, screw them!

    That is not what happened. It is more like if you have a website and post words on that website. I read your website, and put a link on my page to your page.

    Fuddruckers can sue. They have damages. This guy went out of his way to cause as much harm to Fuddruckers as he could. This guy knew about the "theft" and he did nothing, he waited for a three day weekend to show how smart he was, how he out-smarted a big company. Boo-hoo.

    There is a principle of law in the USA. Once you become aware that someone is damaging you, you have a right to tell them to stop. If you don't tell them to stop, tough crap on your part. It is no different than if there is a small river or creek on your property. It is near my property line too, but the water is on your property. One day you look out the window and see me with a pump, pumping water from the river on my garden. Instead of telling me to stop, you wait a few months, until I start getting fruit, then you put poison in the watter supply, to kill off everything.

    You have an obligation to stop whatever harm is happening as soon as you discover the wrong doing. Otherwise you are consenting. You know the action the other person is doing, and yet you don't try to stop it, you don't ask them to stop.

    A good example would be if the cable company found out you were stealing one of the premium channels. Instead of cutting off your service, the cable company lets you keep getting service, for 2 years. Then they slap you with a $500 bill for the channel. The cable company had a duty to say "no" the moment they discovered the theft.

  • by mike2R ( 721965 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:38AM (#13469386)
    As I understand it they hotlinked to his game (which he wrote himself from TFA). Normal polite practice would be to link to his page hosting the game, hotlinking is both rude and stupid.

    It's like someone on ebay hotlinking to your images from their auction - if your going to steal content, at least have the common courtesy to host it yourself.

    I think what he did was both funny and fully justified, it might even inspire me to get round to redirecting hotlinked ebay images to a banner saying "FREE FED-EX SHIPPING ON THIS ORDER"
  • by rjshields ( 719665 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:18AM (#13469456)
    Oh they just changed their DNS:
    # host www.fuddruckers.com
    www.fuddruckers.com has address
  • by Patchw0rk F0g ( 663145 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:45AM (#13469495) Journal
    If I was in the market for any software this guy was writing, he could consider himself blacklisted at this point...

    Screw that. I've had my own content stolen and misused in the past. If I was looking for a web developer, this is the kinda guy I'd want: one that can take a sneaking, thieving idiot like that and turn the tables. Kinda reminds me of baiting Nigerian email scammers... (sniffs back a tear)

    Way to go, man!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:24AM (#13469594)
    do you think he invented BurgerTime?
  • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @08:00AM (#13469657) Journal
    I definitely see where you're coming from, and the guy in the original story sounds like he was a bit of a dick about the whole situation, but as others have said, hotlinking != hyperlinking.

    If I recieved a Slashdotting aimed at a page on my site then that's fair enough - they simply directed more traffic than I was expecting to a public resource I had put up. If, however, Slashdot decided that they liked the look of one of my images and then hotlinked it from my server to use on this site, I would be a bit pissed. It's not illegal, there are measures I could take to avoid it, but nonetheless it's downright rude to take someone elses work and incorporate it into your own site rather than throwing out a link to have it displayed on the author's site, or even just asking if it's OK to copy it.
  • by ptomblin ( 1378 ) <ptomblin@xcski.com> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @08:55AM (#13469893) Homepage Journal
    When people use one of my images as their avatar on various web boards (which has happened three times that I've noticed), I redirect them to http://xcski.com/~ptomblin/leech.png [xcski.com]

    You can read about it in this blog entry [xcski.com].
  • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @11:11AM (#13470478)
    I guess this could fall under DDoS if you pay your lawyer enough. Effective or not, it caused bandwidth usage in abnormal ways (without seeing the rest of his site). There ARE precedents for bandwidth or CPU usage being considered damage but I'm not sure if hotlinking has ever been brought to court.
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @11:22AM (#13470526) Journal
    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

    And he redirected to a BURGER-RELATED site, so I don't see the problem.

    Y'know, this whole discussion has amused me. We have people vehemently arguing that one side or the other should bugger off and die due to the massive evil of their actions.

    Fudruckers could have asked permission. They chose not to. He could have made a few bucks off this. He chose not to. End of story - We can all either point and laugh, either at his stupidity or cleverness, doesn't matter which - But it pretty much ends there.

    A person I don't know did something to a company I've never heard of. Woo woo. Next story, please.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @11:31AM (#13470566) Homepage Journal

    So someone using your bandwidth is taking your property.

    Then why haven't the operators of news aggregators such as Slashdot been taken to court over their front-page links to sites? Is it a case of "it's not illegal if you don't get caught"?

  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @11:50AM (#13470662)
    I don't get it... as far as I can see from his images, they didn't "embed" his content or hotlink it per se. What they did was open it in a new window (not hotlinking), but hide the URL bar so as to "obscure" (poorly) the fact that the content was on another site entirely. So was it misleading? Yes, somewhat. Was it hotlinking, in the usual sense? No.

    Was it impolite and deceitful? Definitely, but not much more so than the response.
  • by FLEB ( 312391 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @03:09PM (#13471782) Homepage Journal
    You know, I could see a Firefox/Mozilla plugin or Greasemonkey script to determine that. Tooltips telling a "Goatse Probability Rating".

    I don't think it would be too hard to compare any given image to one particular image.
  • by esmoothie ( 838226 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:02PM (#13472112)
    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.

    The difference is that Fuddruckers embedded his flash file in their html while he redirected the visitors to the site with the slaughterhouse pics. Also, the purpose of that site is probably to make a statement about keeping people from eating food from places like Fuddruckers so it isn't unlikely that they welcomed the Fuddruckers traffic.
  • Re:Furthermore... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @04:56PM (#13472419) Journal
    He sent them to a slaughterhouse site. It's not content a burger joint wants people to see but it is hardly 'graphic'.
  • by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:41PM (#13473366) Homepage
    "People who think terms of business opportunities are the top 5% who live lavishly at the expense of others."

    In anything, from business to the arts to sports, there's going to be a top 5%. And a bottom 5%. And everything in between. But of course, your world view precludes admitting that in any of those categories those people worked to get to that position, or that they contribute anything, or that they make jobs for "hard working americans" possible.

    Profit. Yeah, the nasty p-word. Never mind that it makes future investment possible. Never mind that half the stocks in the US are owned in some fashion by the middle class, and that profits fuel pension funds and retirement plans. Heck, never mind that "profits" pay employees salaries and benefits.

    As to the "drones", that's my nickname for those guys who, in school, thought it was smart to skip class and mastered instead in high-school football. Guess what? Actions have consequences.

    There may be extenuating circumstances for some, but by and large if your career options are an auto assembly line, stockboy, the front lines of the fast food industry, or a greeter at WalMart, then you are in all probability reaping that which you've sown.

  • by ThinkThis ( 912378 ) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @11:04PM (#13474098)
    View the source and you will see that most of links are back to fuddruckers.com. This page is merely a hacked copy of Google's home page. e.g. compare: href="http://news.fuddruckers.com/nwshp?hl=en&tab= wn" onClick="return qs to href="http://news.google.com/nwshp?hl=en&tab=wn" onClick="return qs

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