It is stealing! If you are going to repost an emoticon that someone else has posted from their own Photobucket account, be sure not to do a direct link to that picture. This is called stealing. If you hotlink to that person's account you are stealing bandwidth. Be sure to copy the picture over to your OWN account and then do your own link to that account. What is hot linking? Hot linking is like direct linking except it is linking content from someone else's Photobucket account. When content is linked from someone else's Photobucket account, it is using resources allocated to that Photobucket account. Bandwidth usage is allocated on an individual account basis and there is a limit to the bandwidth usage allowed per month for free Photobucket accounts. If you have linked content from someone else's free Photobucket account, you take the risk of having that content on your webpage replaced with a 'Bandwidth Exceeded' icon if the allotted monthly bandwidth usage is exceeded for that account. If the account owner chooses to remove that content from their Photobucket account, the links on your webpage will break. You have no control over that account and cannot do anything to resolve the issue other than remove the link from your webpage. Hotlinking (hot linking): Also see: Definition of "Direct Linking" and Free Hotlinking Checker - Test Your Hot Linking Protection "Hotlinking" (also called "hot linking", "leeching", and "bandwidth theft") is a term referring to when a web page of one website owner is direct linking to the images or other multimedia files on the web host of another website owner (usually without permission, thus stealing bandwidth). This not only causes the other person to pay for the bandwidth of the hotlinked file, but often is intellectual property theft. The term is also used loosely (a misnomer) by free image hosts which allow you to store images on their server and allow you to direct link the hosted image files on forums or other websites (sometimes altering the image to have a watermark). One of the most common occurrences of "hot linking" is when people are forum posting and they hotlink pictures from another website to use as avatars or signature images on the messageboards (forums). Some disadvantages of hot linking worth considering are that the webpage generally loads slower when you link to images stored on a different web hosting server than the webpage is hosted on, and the owner of the image has full control to disable hotlinking, or delete, rename, or worse yet, do a "switcheroo" (i.e., switching the file name to be another image which is sure to cause the hotlinker embarrassment) of the hot-linked image. Common methods of preventing hotlinking are by using an .htaccess file, using the "Hotlink Protection" offered in control panels such as Cpanel, or simply renaming image files periodically. Direct Linking: Also see: Definition of "Hotlinking" and Free Hotlinking Checker - Test Your Hot Linking Protection "Direct Linking" is a term referring to when a web page of one website owner is linking directly to the images or other multimedia files on the web host of another website owner (not just linking to a web page on their server which loads the image). If this is done without permission, it is stealing bandwidth and is also known as "hotlinking", "hot linking", "leeching", and "bandwidth theft". Here are a list of free image hosts which allow you to store images on their server at no cost (free) and allow you to direct link the hosted image files on forums (for avatars and signatures) or other websites. SOURCE This was done to me and I want to warn those that might not know that it is a crime!