So, some of you have noticed that I don’t post as much publicly, and I’ve taken down (switched to private mode, or password-protected) almost every one of my stories and photos on this web site – hundreds. I’ll put them up for public viewing again once I’ve added these ugly “Copyright Helen Holter” on every single thing I have.
Because I’m tired of Googling my stories, and discovering they’ve been stolen. Because I’m tired of SO MANY of my photos stolen on other web sites around the world – China and Russia specifically – and Google-imaging them to see they’ve also been stolen for personal and commercial purposes. I’m tired of seeing my videos stripped of my name and posted with no credit onto yours.
I’m tired of contacting you/them and asking you to notice my large copyright notice on every single page of my web site, and your response is typically “Oh, I had no idea.” Like the internet was invented yesterday, right? And you are clueless on media law? And you don’t know what a copyright notice is? International law here is so straightforward on this issue, even as my prominent copyright notice on every page of my two web sites supposedly protects my works worldwide, even as I ask you to remove those images and stories. And you say to me, “Oh, I had no idea…” Among them: Colgate Mellon University, University of Washington, a high-tech conglomerate in Germany, a Chinese lifestyle web site, and a well-known Russian web site that scooped up hundreds of my photos from every story I’d written on that country since 1980.
I’ve threatened to sue you, and with the most egregious situations I’ve pursued my threats and won three out of three times, including a large publication right here in Seattle. Unfortunately, the terms of the largest legal settlement precludes me from saying who they are, but you’d recognize them in a heartbeat.
I’m tired. My intention in creating my web sites – starting with the first hand-coded one in 1994 – was to share some of my stories, photos, Montana legacy, personal and family struggles, and global health issues with like-minded internet users. I worked in TV news for the very best part of my career, telling stories about our cities, our nation, our world. It was the best time in my life. But thinking that such video and photo-studded stories could translate to the internet, onto personal web sites, and protected under international copyright law – it’s all failed miserably with the theft of my ideas, my stories, and my photos.
I’m so tired. I think I’ll just let all these stories and photos and videos die with me, as generations before me have done. And perhaps as it should be…