Video Page/Battling Image Theft And Digital Piracy

Retail Theft Statistics: Retail theft globally is estimated to be a $100 billion problem annually. Normally retail theft is viewed in a brick-and-mortar context: a shopper may steal an item from a Big-Box retail store such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Sears, Kmart or others, for instance. Smaller retailers and "Mom and Pop" stores also lose money through retail theft.

Employee theft also may be considered retail theft: a warehouse worker at Sam's Club or Costco might walk off with items from a back room, for example. Or maybe a cashier tucks a candy bar in his or her pocket and steps outside to eat it in the parking lot.

Retail theft, however, is not limited to traditional, offline businesses. It also occurs online. Digital products such as eBooks, software, reports and graphics frequently are stolen. Some are posted in shady, "make money" discussion forums, and some make their way to online file-sharing sites. Stolen products and intellectual property even are made available for free. Even if they're not provided free, the owners of the digital merchandise and intellectual property are denied profits that should flow from the fruits of their labor.

In extreme cases the merchandise can be used to fund terrorism or to fund groups and individuals that specialize in digital piracy.

The videos on this page are designed to educate viewers about the problems of hotlinking. Hotlinking affects virtually all industries that conduct business online. Companies large and small can be affected. And since it it very difficult to detect, the owners of intellectual property that has been digitized often don't know hotlinking is occurring.

The Problem: Unlike an outdoor billboard that may include an image of a company's logo, digital images are portable. They are easily copied, for example. Even if they're not copied, however, they can be pulled from a company's webhost or server and displayed on websites worldwide.

Lost profits and brand dilution are the inevitable results of hotlinking. Some malicious hotlinkers even adopt the brand identities of companies and individuals they've stolen from, leading to customer confusion, unexpected requests for Support and refunds, and lost consumer confidence.

With the advent of free webhosting and blogging, it's not unusual for hotlinkers to scape content by copying html code from sites that suit their purposees, and then pretend to be the legitimate business from which the material was stolen.

Hotlinking can be controlled if a person has experience in creating server-based .htaccess files. Normally, though, only people with specialized knowledge can set up an .htacess file to guard against theft of digital images and other files from websites. Working with an .htaccess file generally is not within the skill set of most online merchants, even though most webhosting companies provide instruction through wikis or access to a Knowledge Base.

The short videos below are designed to educate viewers about Hotlink ALARM, a software product designed to detect hotlinking as it occurs and notify users via email that their intellectual property is being used without authorization. HotlinkALARM detects hotlinking automatically and informs users instantly that their digital property is at risk.


Video: Demonstration Of Hotlink Alarm Detecting And Sending An Alert Email



Video: Case Study: Hotlink Alarm Detects 284 Hotlinks, Exposes Malware Site



Video: Hotlink Alarm Back Office Basics



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