What is Hot linking - Direct linking or Bandwidth stealing. It means to right click - copy an image and then paste it into a message board, blog, email or web site. By doing this you create a link back to the web host server and technically you are stealing bandwidth that the site owner is paying for. The site owner can trace who is doing this by checking on the web stats and can delete that graphic and then rename it.
It has also been known to replace hotlinked animation on a website with something really horrible by changing the image but keeping the same name. An example is below. It is possible to stop hotlinking by modifying the .htacess file on an apache server or using the control panel hotlinking protection facility supplied by many web hosting companies.
This website now has hotlinking protection in place, we wish we could allow hotlinking but it would work out too expensive to maintain so you will need to download our animations to your hard drive.
If you click copy on the angel and then paste it into a blog or webpage it would be possible for me to upload the monkey to my server and overwrite the angel animation but keep the same name. The monkey would appear on your webpage instead of the angel.
Of course the proper way to do it is to right click and then "save picture as" to a file on your hard drive and then copy it to your web site, email or message board.
If you want to set up a personal profile or post a image on a message board (or similar) and the only way to do it is to hotlink to the image, download the image from the website to a folder on your hard drive and then upload it to a free image hosting companies that allows direct linking such as