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I was chasing the paper-trail of this recent question - https://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/85243/a-sharp-lens-for-canon
Being new here I like to follow the breadcrumbs often to see what has been well-answered before.

The breadcrumbs, however, have gone stale...
Why are my photos not crisp? may have been a great resource had later followers been able to find the 'dog with sunglasses'. Unfortunately the OP's link is now a 404.
There have been comments regarding its revival, but so far with no result.

Even if we can't preserve the entirety of someone's Flikr stream for posterity [not that we'd really want to] it would be very nice to be able to see even a reduced quality i.stack.imgur version of it long after the initial Q/A has dropped off the active posts list.

If high rep users spot off-site links with potential for link-rot, would we think it useful to copy over to i.stack for posterity, even at low-res?

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Useful, yes. But possibly in violation of the image owner's copyright. Unless the linked image is explicitly licensed CC-BY-SA, I don't think we should do it.

Mods and editors should not be in the business of policing copyright; that's not StackExchange's policy. However, considering we have a substantial community of producers of creative works, who have to deal with unauthorized reproduction of their hard work, we should not encourage, even tacitly, the violation of copyright owners' works.

But, if the source image is licensed CC-BY-SA, then license has already been granted, so upload those to your heart's content!

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I don't think it is a question of ability, its a question of legality. I'm not sure that we can just do that depending on the images attribution and licensing.

For that reason I usually stay away from doing what you have proposed and actually prefer to link to the source vs download and re-upload to imgur. All images that are uploaded to imgur from SE sites follow the cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required.

More on this topic:

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    Points taken. My thought was more for questions along the lines of "Why is my photo...?" Rather than "Why is someone else's photo...?" - where you would be linking to your own work, & by doing so, allowing SE visitors access to it, if nothing else. If it was someone else's work, then of course it shouldn't be inlined without clear knowledge of the license. – Tetsujin Dec 12 '16 at 8:44
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    @Tetsujin If it's your own work (i.e. you own the copyright) then you can upload the image, if you choose to, and it'll be here for posterity. But even people using their own work in a question or answer may not wish to attach a Creative Commons share-alike license to their work. – Caleb Dec 13 '16 at 17:48
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    Yeah I definitely didn't answer this with the understanding that you were referring to your own images, that is a completely different thing. – dpollitt Dec 13 '16 at 18:01

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