Hotlinking to free downloads?

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The guidelines say to use “as close as possible to a direct link” but what about hot linking?

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I took the liberty of moving this to its own topic, since I feel this is something that warrants wider discussion/more eyes on it. Or at least a statement by/from @reosarevok.

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Hmm. When someone links “get the score” to the IMSLP pdf rather than the IMSLP page I change it, but that’s as close as I currently have to a clear opinion. Interested to hear what others think :slight_smile:

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I’d interpret what you are doing as removing hotlinking. (Which is the direction I mildly favour.)

Can you describe why you change from the pdf link to the score page?

I am also against this, in too many cases determining the “hot” URL is far too troublesome to be worthwhile for the guidelines.

  1. In many cases, the direct links are CDN URLs, which means they are significantly less stable than download pages (which the site operators have an interest in keeping as stable as possible).
  2. Direct URLs like this probably do not get archived as well, the download page would probably be preserved (even if not functional), but the direct link will be skipped by all but the most aggressive crawlers.

As this is links that are available to download for free the copyright questions on deep linking it should not make a difference but if you are interested see wikipedia

For the EU article 17 seems to have an exception for wikipedia and I would expect musicbrainz to be by this exception.

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In general, because the page usually has a lot of useful information that would be lost with direct hotlinking (plus the copyright info which says if, say, a specific file is still in copyright in some countries) :slight_smile:


In the specific example that triggered this (see link above), all those information are preserved due to an additional artist -> URL relationship.

By having the ‘parent’ URL still linked to the artist (or often even release), it is trivial to fix broken links.

My main motivation for direct links is that they allow for scripts using the MB API to actually download the music without requiring to parse through web pages or do it manually.

Hotlinking - great for the user, lousy for the hoster. Hotlinking makes my job as a user easy as it is one click to get the track, but as @chaban noted in that thread it means the hosting company makes zero from the advertising they need to pay for their hosting.

Personally I think we should respect the hosting companies wishes and link to their landing page. Maybe leave a direct link in an edit note if need to be clever.

I also like going to a landing page as it is usually a first step on discovering more about that artist. Not only by what is on the page, but the links it supplies to elsewhere on that site. I have found some very interesting related websites this way.


This is interesting!

Shouldn’t we just have both links? Assuming that every host and artist hates hotlinking is a bit limiting, surely some of them genuinely just want the music out there. Of course if a there’s evidence that the host or artist in this case doesn’t want it then we shouldn’t.

Edit: To clarify, I think a set-in-stone “no hotlinking, ever” decision wouldn’t always be for the best.

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