Awarebear Computers

How pathetic must a person and its business be when they feel a need to paste themselves into a picture of my office and use it for their commercial purposes?

The person you see Photoshopped (pasted) into the photograph of my home office is NOT ME. Why it isn’t me will become obvious when you read the following story regarding a case of blatantly pathetic commercial copyright infringement committed by AwareBear Computers (Pittsford Rochester New York, owned by Andre Leite Alves).

Aware Bear Computers Andre Leite Alves Con-Artist and LIAR

The company, “Aware Bear” (home theater solutions, apple repair, pc repair, web design, and wedding photography), owned and run by Mr. Andre Leite Alves (not “Arthur Leite” which was used as the name to sign previous communications in a miserable attempt to ensure a court summons would be drawn up for the wrong name) claims to have been in business since 1993, has over 15 years of computer experience, and is serving the area of Rochester, NY (New York) and Pittsford, NY. Evidently, they haven’t learned much about legal matters and copyrights during that time.

AwareBear has created, printed, and distributed brochures using the above image (an unauthorized derivative work of my copyrighted material, as the actual owner of the property pictured as well as me being the photographer of the image). In addition a PDF version was available online at AA Computers USA (a former, rumored to have failed company that involved Mr. Andre Leite Alves and where a different website for Aware Bear is hosted, not to be confused with other businesses by that name for which actual business licenses could be found). After AwareBear was contacted regarding their blatant violation of copyright they removed the PDF from the website BUT claimed that the brochure “never went to print”. This response was signed “Arthur Leite”.


In my initial letter to AwareBear (at the time I decided not to involve lawyers yet other than the general consulting call) I advised them to consult with an attorney. The response stated that they did and was clearly written in great haste; “I am deeply upset thus I have already have spoken with my lawyer” (verbatim, errors aren’t mine). I wonder if the attorney advised their client to LIE, not knowing such a lie could end up being devastating evidence in court. I doubt that a remotely competent attorney would allow their client make irresponsible statements in writing, statements that can be held against you in court and would completely wipe out any defense a lawyer could spin with a dose of imagination.

The mistake that “Arthur” Leite made was not only the copyright infringement for commercial purposes but also made the stupid mistake of assuming that I and my attorneys wouldn’t know any better and only had knowledge of the online PDF. Unfortunately for AwareBear, we did know better because those who contacted me regarding this unauthorized use had in their possession the very printed hardcopies of these brochures.

AwareBear was certainly AWARE that they had printed and distributed these flyers, for example at a job fair for students at Monroe Community College. Once you start distributing flyers you no longer have control over where they might end up and what consequential damages and confusion that may cause. In this case it also causes major embarrassment for AwareBear and its owner Andre Leite Alves, especially considering that I am now publically explaining the situation to my readers and visitors. And from what I can tell, my website has some level of popularity in many tech circles. Then again, I am also known for making understatements. 🙂

Awarebear stole this image and altered it for commercial purposes

In the initial response I got from AwareBear claimed that the image was created by a “university student graphic designer” and that they were “not aware of its copyright”. Legally speaking, not being aware does not absolve one from the legal implications of copyright infringement and any subsequent damages, financial or otherwise, that occur from taking such action. I have dealt with legal cases before where copyrighted material of mine was used in print for commercial purposes and the law was quite clear on that. Crystal clear. If you use material you can’t properly identify you take a risk and sometimes that can be a very dangerous risk that leaves you and your company liable for any and all damages that come forth out of those actions.

Because “Arthur” of Aware Bear already lied to me about the brochure never having been printed I certainly can’t accept anything else that they claim to be honest and truthful. Maybe a student did not create that image and it was only said in order to hopefully defer their own responsibility and liability in this matter. Either way, if a student did create the image and committed the actual theft, AwareBear did not have a contract with said student that includes an indemnification clause and still accepted the results, thereby taking a legal risk of their own free will. This to me indicates that AwareBear conducts their business in a highly unprofessional way.

It is unclear what the purpose of using that image in their brochure was all about, though. On the one hand it implied that AwareBear runs their on-site services through the setup seen in the image. On the other hand it also directly implied that there is an association between me, my business(es), and Aware Bear. And that is most certainly NOT the case. There never was such an association and certainly never will be. Given that the brochure mentions their services like on-site computer maintenance like removing viruses and backing up your data, it implies that I am not capable of doing that myself and need Aware Bear to do that for me.

Ha, they wish. I wouldn’t let them near my data. The nearest they got to my data was by taking it off my website and pasting that guy in there to create a completely falsified and fraudulent reflection of the actual facts. Next to the image they have the words “All Service Done On-Site” and directly underneath the image is a quote that reads “We are dedicated to helping you, facilitating your use of technology and making a difference one customer at a time”. Yeah, well, that customer does NOT include me in any way and very likely in the future they will perhaps only retain ONE customer, at ANY time.

I will keep you all updated on the legal proceedings and further developments of this story. In the meantime, I will gladly share with you what the associates at my attorney’s office have uncovered in an attempt to assess the person and company that acted in this extremely careless way and I will explain why it is seriously foolish to lie in response to legal inquiries that are made.

AwareBear, and its owner Andre Leite Alves, claim to have been in business since 1993. The company AA Computers USA (dot com) has one site for AwareBear while the actual site is yet again different. Nothing wrong with that, except that on one of the two sites the company also claims to provide business web design services.

Would you want your business site to be designed by a company that goes around being careless and unprofessional when it comes to the content they use? What guarantee do you, as a client, have that they will not ‘accidentally’ include stock graphics or material that has not been properly identified, cleared, and/or authorized for use? Would you like to take a chance at being liable for any carelessness on the part of Aware Bear? I wouldn’t.

What’s even more sad is that Andre (“Arthur”) Leite Alves also moonlights as a wedding photographer (according to our information for around $800 for a 12-hour day). A “professional wedding photographer”, as Andre Leite Alves calls himself, with a B.S. (does that stand for bullshit?) degree from RIT in 2001 (and former classes in Brazil) should not be as unprofessional as to steal the photographs of another photographer. That level of theft, also known as copyright infringement, indicates a high level of being unprofessional. Not clearing images created by third parties, if you are the client, is likewise unprofessional and careless. Any photographer worth a dime knows better than that.

Another interesting discovery was that AwareBear has been using so many mailing addresses and locations that it means that Mr. Alves either relocates his home a lot or has other reasons to move around a lot. Maybe Mr. Andre Leite Alves will soon relocate again and adopt the name “Arthur Leite” in an attempt to avoid getting served a court summons. In case he does, feel free to contact me to let me know where he could be found.

It’s maybe also part of the reason why AwareBear never mentions any addresses other than e-mail and their phone number. According to sources, AwareBear doesn’t have an office to speak of and dispatches students to customers to perform their activities on-site, or will have your equipment collected and returned (e.g. they bring it to some other place where someone works on it from their home).

And just to share something else that’s fishy but funny with you all, if you look at previous versions of the AwareBear related websites, you will find that some of their testimonials use the same words like “are part of my success story” but are attributed to completely different individuals and businesses over a different period of time. It sure makes me wonder if those aren’t ALSO IMAGINARY.

What is also made up and very clear, is another bad photo editing job that was done on a picture of a car in the brochure. It has the text/logo of AwareBear on the side of the car but a 2-year old can tell it’s pasted on there after the fact and way too obvious. Perhaps this is the level of quality that is acceptable to AwareBear which would say a lot about the level of quality the company might represent to anyone else. The brochure also claims “Our team is standing by to support you with friendly and honest service you deserve”. I think they might need to consider dropping the word honest in there. Perhaps edit it to reflect the word DISHONEST instead.


That might explain why AwareBear decided to use, print, and distribute the image of my office with a different individual pasted in there. Clearly a deceptive practice that matches the overall sense that this entire company is unprofessional and, I strongly suspect, not to be trusted. I usually have a sharp sense about business matters and everything about this company and its owner screams to me that it’s an inherently untrustworthy operation. Very amateurish, I would say.

I suspect that if a business represents no value, has no value, and is operated in a highly questionable way, the only way to impress potential customers is by using things you falsify and the deception you create in order to misrepresent yourself and your business. Perception is reality, except that the reality of AwareBear does not present much of a good perception at all.

It’s a good thing I’ve got a background in computer graphics since the mid 80’s. It allowed me to instantly notice the badly done “Photoshop” work, otherwise I might have felt compelled to file charges of trespassing and burglary! As a business associate of mine said, “I wouldn’t hire them to do Photoshopping”. I fully agree on that. 🙂

I don’t want to create a whole bunch of blog categories on my site for AwareBear but if I were to do that it would probably include tags for; untrustworthy, liars, thieves, unprofessional, irresponsible, amateurs, unreliable, deceptive, dishonest, inexperienced, reputation, and a whole range of other words along the same lines. Then again, maybe those words are intended to serve as the kind of “juice” that most real professional web designers will understand what it means.

Take Care, Be Aware and Beware of the Unaware Aware Bear!

P.S. Maybe I should consider starting a contest where people get to paste themselves into images of my office and then publish those online on my site as a ‘tribute’ to this AwareBear fool who did so with commercial intentions and total lack of any clues as to why this is a bad idea to do with POPULAR IMAGES. Your ideas on the subject are welcome.

Update 10th November 2008, Information recently received from a reader. The link specified was already taken down shortly after we received this information on Andre Leite Alves.

This guy copied the D&C peoples choice awards page and penciled himself in under best computer store and created another category for himself. To make dumbo even dumber, he placed in his multiple Frontier Yellow Page ads 3 certificates that he was the People’s Choice Awards winner for 2006, 2007, and 2008. Hey Andre, the 2008 awards haven’t even been made yet. The D&C has been notified and isn’t very happy about the stolen graphics and copyrighted content he used, along with his blatant plagerism and false advertising. Based on his character I expect him to go under, switch names, and get out of paying for his Yellow page Ads, then link to them under a different name and get free advertising out of them. You can see this guy coming a mile away. Only the beginning Andre, run and hide.

Please do contact me with further information! Thanks!

Update 12th November 2008, read how Andre Alves attempted to abuse the DMCA for what it wasn’t intended for. He’s providing quite some entertainment to the masses. Thanks Andre. 🙂

Update 29th March 2012, once again Andre Alves attempted to file a DMCA and botched it up completely. It cost him $99 and provided us with PRICELESS ENTERTAINMENT.

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About Stefan Didak

Stefan Didak, software architect and developer, known throughout the internet for the "insane" Home Office setup that has attracted millions of visitors over the many years, and now, inadvertently an educator in the field of copyright infringement.

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