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Say you have a website that has a gallery of many, many high quality images that you want to provide to your users. Because the images are high quality with large dimensions, their filesizes are huge.

If you wanted to reduce the load on your own server, especially if people download many images many times everyday, you could theoretically upload the images somewhere else, such as imgur, and use the links for your gallery.

Would this be OK to do, or are there any legal repercussions?

  • This is exactly what StackExchange does, they use Imgur to host the pictures, I'm sure that they have some kind of agreement with imgur to do that. – Ron Beyer Apr 3 at 14:45
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That depends on the terms of service of the "somewhere else". Many hosting sites specifically prohibit such use specifically to avoid this use case. I have no idea if imgur in particular, permits such use. If the site owner can find a host site which clearly permits such use, there is nothing illegal about it.

I don't know why the site owner would be providing such high-resolution images. Most online users will not need, perhaps not even want, overly high-res images. If the site owner scales the images down, and provides a separate link to a high res version, most users will perhaps not follow that link, saving much bandwidth. But that depends on the specific purpose of the site and the images -- if most users will want/need the full resolution, this would not help. There are free programs that will do image rescaling in bulk.

  • I am not criticizing either of your answers, but what terms of service don't allow this? – Putvi Apr 4 at 18:40
  • @Putvi Services which are intended to have people view images on their site, where they can also display ads to fund their business. Wikipedia also prohibits such use. I think pintrest does. I have no idea about imagr. – David Siegel Apr 4 at 18:46
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It depends on the service.

If you're hosting the image on a content distribution network, (e.g. Amazon S3 or CloudFlare) most if not all of their terms of service disclaim any ownership or liability for the content they host.

On the other hand, if you host images on a service like Google Photos or 500px, their terms of service may include the right to reuse content you post to their service.

  • I am not criticizing either of your answers, but what terms of service don't allow this? – Putvi Apr 4 at 18:40
  • if you are referring to CDN terms of service, I'm only familiar with a handful (none of which claim ownership of content). I didn't want to make a broad generalization without knowing for sure. – Capt Bob A. Lou Apr 4 at 22:20

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