thought I had posted something earlier, can't find it now.
I am quite often looking at online forums. I tend to skip those with just words no pictures, even those with links, especially those in other languages. When doing research I prefer to use images option on google, as it is a lot faster.
I can understand the issues relating to direct links to someone else's photos. This is a very grey area(50 shades maybe
), with the rules dating back to days before the internet. Erring on side of caution is safest way. No one seems to complain when they can see their images on google though.
Bandwidth issues are an area that needs more info. I pay a flat fee for my webspace and I thought that was the norm, unless you are talking large company websites. If there is say an extra cost because you are linking to another website, then the answer might be to have photos stored on forum , but this must also incur some extra cost. It is a case of balance.