WebTV: Using Graphics
In my experience operating Webrings, I have had many WebTV users write me in frustration because I would not "just send the HTML for the graphic". I have written dozens of emails attempting to explain the concepts and the process. I finally decided to create this page.
I cannot be sure, but it appears that many WebTV users do not understand how graphics are processed on the web. It isn't their fault. Part of the problem is that the WebTV documentation tries to "simplify" the process. This simplification increases the misunderstanding.
In addition, there are issues of Bandwidth Theft and Copyright Infringement. And, WebTV users, have as much confusion over these issues as their PC based colleagues.
This page is an attempt to explain all of these in language targeted specifically at WebTV users.
I welcome feedback and suggestions for improving this information. Email me.
1. Why do I have to know all this? Why don't you just send me the HTML for the graphics?
Bare with me a bit. I think I can explain it all.
As I'll explain on this page, the problem is that the actual HTML for displaying the graphic on your page is different to the HTML for displaying the graphic on someone else's page.
2. How are graphics processed on web pages?
The first misconception is that a graphic is somehow "on" a web page. We use language like this because it is convenient. But it is technically inaccurate.
Graphics do not exist on a web page.
Graphics (images of all kinds) are a file. They might be a GIF file or a JPG file or a PNG file. These files exist separately from the web page.
The graphic is not embedded in the web page. Instead, HTML codes for the page describe where to get the graphic file and where to display it.
3. Can you give an example?
Sure. Look at this page. At the top of this page is my JSH logo. This logo is actually a file called jshlogo5.gif. It is not a part of the web page. It is a separate file.
4. If it is not a part of the web page, why does it look like it is a part of the web page?
The web page includes HTML code that says
This code tells the browser (like Internet explorer or Netscape Navigator) to go and get the file called "jshlogo5.gif" and to put it there on the page. It also tells the browser to make the graphic 66 pixels wide and 82 pixels high.
5. But when I use WebTV Page Builder it doesn't make me do all that HTML. I just tell it to add the picture to the page. Doesn't it add the picture to the page?
Again, we say that we have added the picture to the page. It is a convenient shortcut language. What Page Builder really does is to add HTML code to the page to reference the picture and to tell the browser where to get the picture.
Page Builder does it automatically. You normally don't have to worry about it. But it helps to understand what is really happening.
6. Where can a web page get graphics from?
Once you understand that a web page doesn't really include a graphic, that it really just "points to" the graphic, the next question is "where is the graphic?"
The graphic can be in one of two general places:
Many WebTV users just use graphics on someone else's web space. Unless you have specific permission to do this, it is wrong.
7. But the other web owner said I could use his graphics. It is still wrong?
Yes! Permission to use the graphics is generally not permission to link to the graphics.
When a web owner gives you permission to use his graphics, you must copy the graphics to your own space and link to them from your own space.
The only exception is when the web owner specifically and explicitly gives you permission to link to the graphics from his space.
8. If I am a WebTV user, where is "my own space".
Page Builder provides a special place called the Page Builder Scrapbook to store the graphics you use.
9. What does it matter whether I link to the graphic on the other site? Isn't it more efficient to just have one copy? Why should I make a complete copy in my Page Builder Scrapbook?
The problem is called Bandwidth Theft. When you link to a graphic on the "other" web site, then every time you use that graphic . . . Every time someone browses your page . . . Every time someone reads an email that you send with that graphic . . . Every time one of these things happens the internet has to go to the other site to get that graphic. When many people do that it puts a load, called a bandwidth load, on the other site.
Some internet web hosts charge for bandwidth. When everyone uses another site instead of copying the picture to their own space it can actually cost the other site money.
The problem of Bandwidth Theft is so bad, that there are many web organizations fighting this problem. I have many of these shown on my Memberships Page. These include:
WebTV users are sometimes singled out for their bandwidth theft. This isn't fair because others violate this as well.
And, it isn't necessary, because WebTV users have the ability to store graphics in their local space to avoid this problem.
11. Those links above are good. But are there any sites that talk about the problem of Bandwidth Theft specifically for the WebTV user?
10. So, if I copy the graphic into my own space then I'm ok, right?
No. There are two issues: copyright and bandwidth theft.
You should definitely copy the graphic into your own space. But, you should not copy copyrighted graphics without the permission of the creator.
11. But I only copy graphics that aren't copyrighted. I don't need permission to do that do I?
No . . . but.
You don't need permission to copy graphics that aren't copyrighted. These are graphics in the public domain.
The problem is that almost all graphics are copyrighted. Very few graphics are in the public domain.
Just because there isn't a copyright symbol (©) or a copyright statement doesn't mean the work isn't copyrighted.
Today, when a creator creates something (a graphic, a poem, a story, even the HTML for a web page) it is automatically copyrighted. The creator doesn't need to fill a form or pay money or put up a notice or do anything else. The act of creating gives the creator the copyright. Period. End of story.
12. But aren't all graphics on the internet in the public domain?
Putting graphics on the internet does not put them into the public domain. They are still copyrighted and you still need permission to use them.
13. But isn't it ok to use them if I give the artist credit?
No. Use without permission is not only illegal, it is a violation of professional ethics and netiquette.
And, when you do use them, be sure to give the credit requested by the artist on the page where you use the graphic.
14. How do I know you aren't just making this up?
Simple. There are many web organizations dedicated to preserving artists' rights, including copyrights.
I have many of these shown on my Memberships Page. These include
There are also many other pages that are not by "organizations" but are just informational. Here is a good one:
15. How do I copy a graphic to my Page Builder Scrapbook?
There are two techniques. The first is to copy the graphic from a website. The second is to copy it from an email.
16. How do I add graphics from other websites to my Page Builder Scrapbook?
To add graphics from other websites to your Page Builder web page you need to use a transloader. A transloader is a special website that moves a graphic located on another website to your own space.
17. Where are Transloader Websites?
Here are a few:
18. How do I transload a graphic to my Page Builder Scrapbook?
Remember, transloading is a web-based process that makes it possible for Internet users to copy graphics from one web space to another. There are web sites that are compatible with WebTV and allow you to copy graphics into your scrapbook. One such site is Transload. These instructions are for Transload. Other services will be similar, but slightly different.
19. How do I add a graphic from my email to my scrapbook?
To add graphics to your Scrapbook from an email message:
The graphic is now stored in your Scrapbook for use on your web page.
Note: If you have not yet used Page Builder, the Scrapbook option will not appear in the sidebar in your Mail box.
20. How do I add a graphic from my Scrapbook to my Page Builder web page?
To add a graphic from your Scrapbook to your Page Builder web page, from your Home page:
21. Where can I go to get more help?
I've added all this information to my site because WebTV users want to use graphics from my site for the Webrings they join.
But, I'm not a WebTV user myself. And, WebTV is not my focus.
So, I'm happy to recommend a couple of sites:
This page created: