Leeching, also incorrectly known as "bandwidth theft", is the act of hotlinking an image from a server you don't directly control or have authorization to use. Jameth was apparently the first victim of the new secret LJ TOS provision which confuses leeching with a DMCA violation and can now be a suspendable offense.
On the other hand, if you are old school (not a n00b) then leeching is actually when you download something from a warez server and you don't upload anything back. Say you dial up a BBS and it says "No credits necessary, but please upload :):):)" or whatever, and you want to get, say, DBLANLFK.GIF so you fire up Kermit .. what the hell are you doing on my lawn get the fuck off my lawn god damn kids!1@!!! It also happens when a lazy asshole, most likely one form of basement dweller or another, decides to download torrents or P2P files without ever seeding in return. Some programs, including Limewire, have a feature that prevents leechers from downloading at all unless they share a certain amount of files.
Internet Etiquette and Leeching
Many people don't have an issue with leeching, as data transfer is now cheap and available in massive amounts through any good webhost. Most original complaints on LiveJournal concerning leeching were from those who made hundreds of blinking icons and then foolishly hosted them on free services such as Geocities or Angelfire, which rarely allow hotlinking anyway. When someone leeches these images, the accounts quickly exceed the allotted data transfer and the site becomes suspended or unavailable for a certain period of time.
Some websites, such as Something Awful, forbid leeching as well — mostly because you can't control the content that you're posting and many webmasters won't think twice about redirecting your request to goatse or some similar shock image. Others will go so far as to track where you're leeching an image and then change the file to something situation-specific in order to insult or embarrass you.
Commonly known as hotlinking, "Stealing art" by linking to it is one of the easiest ways to piss off some lesbian icon maker on LiveJournal. Nothing annoys them more, except for not crediting them for their creative masterpieces. Just find some random loser who uses Photobucket or Imageshack. Right click and copy the location, then post it as your own. This rapes the site's bandwidth, eventually causing some gay golden frog shit to come up saying your bandwidth has been exceeded or some other useless crap. Now nobody can get off to their radioactively colored pixels. Wear some armor, by the way; this will cause a lot of drama, and nobody causes drama like an icon maker except for maybe fangirls.
It was predicted that in 2008 the internets would die in an inferno because of the collective wrath of hotlinked icon artists; it is now projected that it is bullshit.
Bait and Switch
The problem with leeching is that if the image with that file name changes or goes down, everywhere the image is used will use the new/broken image. By problem we actually mean "epic opportunity for great lulz" thanks to the classic image bait and switch prank. This prank is simple: make a super cute and unoffensive meme. Adorable kittens wearing part hats, anyone? Post the image on FaceCunt, gaia or somewhere else where lazy and gullible retards hang out using a sock puppet. Wait for it to go viral as it's spread around by lazy fucks who just plain won't upload their own copy. A little after the excitement over the new meme has died upload a new image with the exact same file name at the exact same address. Make the image offensive or lulzy! Watch the butthurt roll in.
The most well-known case of an image bait-and-switch on is probably moroveus' "Operation Jour de Poisson" (French for "Day of the Fish"), in which he changed his userinfo and journal content to appear as a Christian, and created a meme supporting the phrase "under God" in the United States Pledge of Allegiance. He included code to post which linked an image on his webspace as part of the meme and allowed it time to propagate. After some time, he changed the image to one opposed to the original phrase, effectively confusing and angering many Christians and conservatives, as they suddenly found their journals advocating views opposite to theirs.
Jameth's No Niggers switch also caused much butthurt when an image of gay porn featuring black homosexuals sucking each other's dicks was swapped out to an image of a lynch mob with "NO NIGGERS" stamped across it. Bricks were shat in many adult forums and livejournals when suddenly their porn was replaced with "hate speech". The users who foolishly leeched these images were quick to take them down or meet the sting of the almighty banhammer.
Many other memes have the potential for something such as this, including the hundreds of image-based colorbars. It is a long time favorite troll on Facebook to create a group exclaiming how great it is to be Jewish, only to switch it to a Holocaust deniers group or Hitler fan club once enough people become fans to create sufficient butthurt and, therefore, lulz.
|Leeching is part of a series on Language & Communication|