How you've reiterated it here appears to match my interpretation of what you said. So perhaps you can say what your argument actually is - FWIW my comment had several upvotes so it doesn't appear to be just me being a dullard.
>stealing 300-byte bandwidth is so far down the list it's unimportant
So you're saying this is nothing like the argument 'stealing a snickers from Walmart is such a small amount, it's not important'?
Will you stop trying to paint me as only talking about one issue? That's where you get my argument utterly wrong.
It's akin to saying "Mao Zedong's China was bad because the dog-catchers weren't licensed properly".
Like it or not, the legal system regularly drops small, less important charges when bigger ones are present. The murderer who exceeding the speed limit trying to escape from police doesn't get a speeding ticket. That doesn't mean that speeding tickets themselves are unimportant or never get pursued.
So, going back to my initial comment (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3523870) you're saying that it's wrong of me to characterize your argument this way because I've failed to mention that it's a corrupt tycoon that is shoplifting. Because they've also committed greater crimes we have to ignore the shoplifting?
Or to recapitulate you'd nab a shoplifter but only if they'd not done something worse as well?
Got to say I still don't follow the reasoning and still consider image hotlinking to be bad; and that, for a company, it indicates some sort of corruption.
The legal system already does this - if someone sets fire to the shop but takes a Snickers on the way out, no-one really cares about the shoplifting. The legal system doesn't prosecute it, and the media doesn't report "the arsonist and shoplifter was in court today". People reading glossy magazines don't gossip "oo, that arsonist - did you know he also took a candy bar? the nerve!".
Anyway, absolutely nowhere have I said that hotlinking is okay. If that's what you think I've said, then you have grossly misunderstood me.
"I'm sure all those 300-byte images have the 37signals servers at melting point."
If that's not about stealing bandwidth then what is it? It's clearly sarcastic, by ordinary reading the point of the sarcasm is to downplay the idea that taking a small image from 37signals server is wrong; the justification in the sentence is that it won't cause a large harm to the 37signals server.
So, go on, what are you saying here?
FWIW arresting people for minor offences has long been a technique of law enforcement personnel when gathering evidence on more major crimes.
The "arsonist" that also stole a candy bar gives you an insight in to the psychology. They're not a person, for example, only driven by an overbearing desire to see things burn; they're also a thief besides. This moves to suggest the character of the person is to disregard other's property. You can make a claim of temporary insanity (or in the current case that there is no copyright infringement in using 37signals site as inspiration) but then you also have to address the question of the theft (or in this case the hotlinking).
"Your argument is basically the shoplifter's manifesto - the store is rich, I only took some of their stuff, it's barely a drop compared to their profits, etc.."
Which is almost exactly what you've said here. The arson [copyright infringement] is almost entirely orthogonal to the theft [hotlinking]. The actions have very little co-dependency except in the moral decrepitude of the perpetrator.