What is bandwidth?
Bandwidth is the amount of data that is used to transfer a member's Web page (including the HTML, graphics, text, sound files, etc.) from the host server to the person viewing the page. If the contents of the page equals 1 MB, and the page is viewed 100 times in one day, the total bandwidth used would be 100 MB.
You can also think of bandwidth as similar to the electricity your refrigerator takes to run. When someone links directly to an image on someone else's server instead of copying it to their own computer and then uploading it to their own webpage, it is similar to your neighbour running a cord over to your outlet to run his own refrigerator. While it is convenient for him, it is the person that has the plugin that has to pay for the extra usage.
There are some very simple steps that you can take to unsure that you are not stealing someone else's bandwidth.
1.) Always copy the images you want to use to your own computer, and them upload them to the directory on your own site.
To copy an image using a PC; Hold your mouse over the image you want to copy and click the right mouse button. When the drop down menu appears select Save As and you will be given another menu so you can select the file name and location of where you want to save the image.
2.) Make sure that the image is being loaded from your own directory instead of the site where you originally found it.
Note your code should never look like: < img src="http://www.someone_else's server.com/artistsdirectory/nameofimage.gif" >
Besides the reasons given above, and that of common courtesy and honesty, there are several other reasons why it is not a good idea to link directly to someone else's images. The most important is the fact that your pages will load faster if the images being used on those pages are also being called from your own site. The second is that you will be assured that the images are always available to your pages. Many webmasters change their sites often and even remove images on occasion.
Some phrasing borrowed from: http://cstern.sphosting.com/csdesigns/linking.html