Aware Bear Computers Again

Our favorite habitual liar and serial copyright infringer, Andre Leite Alves, of Aware Bear Computers in Rochester, is at it again and proving himself to now also be a habitual perjurer. And no, I am not talking about his Rochester Perennial Exchange “website”, which is nothing more than his attempt to link-build to gain a tiny bit of SEO juice in the hopes that all the negative exposure of his business activities and habitual lies would no longer score as high as they have done.

Andre Leite Alves of Aware Bear Computers, the moonlighting photographer, perjured himself AGAIN!

This week, Andre Leite Alves, Mr. AwareBear, has once again perjured himself, in an attempt to file a DMCA against this site and three of the images used (in good faith used under 17 USC Section 107 which allows for such considering the context of this site). This is not the first time Andre Alves has attempted to do so. Remember many years ago when he filed a false DMCA (against my domain registrar) claiming the images of my office were actually his and that I was the one infringing on them? Perjury might be something Andre Alves was born with but since I am not a doctor I don’t know that for sure. Lying and displaying deceit, however, that I think has long since been proven.

Scroll down to read the actual DMCA takedown notice that was filed.

Andre Alves is not the brightest bulb as most of you have already noticed. I can only imagine how much time and money Andre Leite Alves has spent (possibly from the Aware Bear business account) on the many feeble attempts at influencing search results. But the consistent and persistent failure of his efforts to accomplish anything is truly mindboggling. I also believe that Andre Leite Alves must think that my office is actually a time travel machine because he very seriously botched his DMCA attempt, like he botches a lot of things, just ask any displeased customer of Aware Bear Computers in Rochester.

It seems Andre Leite Alves really can’t do anything right!

Andre Leite Alves, a habitual liar and serial infringerPrior to filling out the DMCA, Andre Alves uploaded 3 images from this site. Images which at one point in the past (2009 and 2011 to be exact) were on the Aware Bear Rochester website. Then proceeded to create a blog post in WordPress and backdated it to December 7, 2007. Then labeled the images as (C) 2001-2012 to create the impression for the DMCA Agent that this site had taken them off of his site, and proceeded to state such, under penalty of perjury. Except what our clueless clown Andre Alves failed to pay attention to, because he is not really a detail oriented guy, is that images from 2009 and 2011 appear in his post that is dated several years prior to those.

I honestly do not have a time travel machine but I think Andre Alves believes I do. And for those of you paying attention, he botched one of the images even worse by having it in the 2012/03 upload folder. Anyone using WordPress will understand where I’m going with this. Images uploaded March 2012, in preparation for his false and incorrect DMCA filing, made to appear as if they were actually there in 2007. And he also needs people to believe there was no activity on his link-heavy blog between 2008 and 2011? Nice one, Andre! You must think other people are equally as dumb as you are.

Andre Alves, who appears to also moonlight as a “full time” wedding photographer (a full-time wedding photographer and full-time computer-repair guy, eh), must not understand digital images all that well because he clearly also forgot about things like date stamping and additional digital data embedded in those very image files. What that exactly means I will not explain because there is no reason to try and educate Andre Leite Alves. Instead I will just save this really good information for any situation where I may need them to pull the rug out of under any attempt at legal harassment. There are two other indicative issues with his DMCA attempt but those too, I will save for later. 🙂

What Andre Leite Alves (or should I refer to him as the Aware Bear that is unaware most of the time) also failed to think about is the fact that two of the images are cropped from the site they were originally on and are not the actual crop size of the images as they were at the time. It is nothing short of amazing that the exact crop is actually dated 2007 on his “blog” because they are clearly the exact crop I took. The old Aware Bear site(s) and content are probably not in Andre Leite Alves’ possession anymore so he didn’t notice it. Luckily, I always cache and copy everything just in case such is needed to provide proof and evidence. 🙂

Why did AwareBear Computers’ Andre Leite Alves spend $99 on a false filing?

So what’s up with these images and why would Andre Leite Alves spend $99 on trying to have them removed through the DMCA process? Nothing in particular, really. It is clear he attempted this as a “test” to see if it would work and if it did he could then proceed and start filing more false DMCA’s as long as he had a few dollars to spend on it. But the reason the habitual liar and serial infringer wanted the images gone is clear; they expose his habitual lies in a no uncertain manner.

The image that is a screenshot of one of his web pages, with the so-called testimonials on it for example. As already shown previously, testimonials from allegedly happy customers have been used throughout the years and attributed to different names at different stages during the changes of the Aware Bear Computers website(s). Also, the exact same text of the supposed testimonials has been found posted elsewhere and passed off as real testimonials, yet also attributed to different people in different places. Under 17 USC Section 107 I of course am showing exactly that.

The other two images have a bit more history to them. The first was taken from the Aware Bear website (in the state it was in at the time) to show that it was not just my office that Andre Leite Alves pretended was his. Also, a friendly and smart person e-mailed me with the links to the actual website designs in the image, as they belong to Template Monster and are not designs ever made by Aware Bear Computers. Ditto for the small image pasted into the monitor in that arrangement.

After I pointed that out and used the image to show this, Andre Leite Alves immediately modified the image on his website to contain an email address instead of the office and also took out the small design pasted in the monitor. He left the Monster Template images on there. Perhaps he bought those templates or decided he would take his chances. During that year the Aware Bear website underwent a lot of changes as Andre Leite Alves tried to wipe out all the obvious lies like claiming to be an official Apple Repair Center (yeah, right, ask Apple about that one).

Speaking of Apple. Did anyone notice the banner image at the top of Andre Leite Alves’ “link farm” blog? Do you feel you have seen that image before? That’s because you probably have. On Apple’s website! So clueless Andre can’t even build a “link-farm” blog without yet again using content he’s not authorized to use!

The full DMCA takedown notice as it had been received by my web host.

Please note that I have taken out the name and details of the copyright agent. As it turns out the actual filing was done through a 3rd party website and the chain of action on the DMCA is a little complicated to explain, nor really of any interest here. The copyright agent is someone I know and respect and it became increasingly clear what exactly transpired and what Andre Leite Alves attempted to accomplish.

Notice of Copyright Infringement
Received: 2012-03-26 21:42:02 from [name removed] to DreamHost Abuse

Please see attached notice of copyright infringement, which has also been pasted below. Thank you very much for your time and attention to this matter. Please note that, in addition to the below infringement, the site itself appears to be nothing more than a spam redirect and an attempt to capitalize on my clients domain name.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to you to avail myself of my rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and/or the European Directive on Electronic Commerce (EDEC). This letter is a Notice of Infringement as authorized in § 512 of the U.S. Copyright Law and EU Directive 2000/31/EC. I wish to report an instance of what I feel in good faith is an instance or Copyright Infringement. The infringing material appears on the Service for which you are the designated agent.

You are either registered with the U.S. Copyright Office as the designated service provider agent to receive notifications of alleged copyright infringement with respect to users of the service or have listed this information as the appropriate account to file such complaints on your site.

1. The material which I contend belongs to myself or my client, and appears illegally on the Service is the following:

Various AwareBear Images

2. The material appears at the website addresses:

http://www.andreleitealves.net/images/gibberish-large.jpg
http://www.andreleitealves.net/images/awarebearfakewebdesign1.jpg
http://www.andreleitealves.net/images/awarebearfakewebdesign2.jpg

3. The material appears on my or my client’s Web site at these addresses:

http://www.andreleitealves.[other]/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/abc1.jpg
http://www.andreleitealves.[other]/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/abc-design.jpg
http://www.andreleitealves.[other]/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/abc-design-2.jpg

4. My contact information is as follows:

[name and company details of the DMCA agent removed]

Filed on Behalf of:

Aware Bear
Andre Alves
5 Monroe Ave
Pittsford, New York 14534
Phone: 585-473-7035
Email: solutions@awarebear.com

5. I have a good faith belief that the use of the material that appears on the service is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or by operation of law.

6. The information in this notice is accurate, and I am either the copyright owner or I am authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.

I declare under the perjury laws of the United States of America that this notification is true and correct.

Signed:

[name removed]

Note: [company name removed] is acting as an authorized DMCA agent and is solely responsible for the preparation and submission of the DMCA notice.

Don’t you just love the lies Andre Leite Alves manages to concoct?

As the DMCA takedown notice reads, “Please note that, in addition to the below infringement, the site itself appears to be nothing more than a spam redirect and an attempt to capitalize on my clients domain name.”

So this site is a spam redirect now? Amazing! I challenge anyone reading this to google the name of the habitual liar and discover the countless attempts he’s made to influence search engine results to combat the negative exposure that his actions have received here and in other places over the many years. It is unfortunate for Andre Leite Alves and Aware Bear being presented in a satirical manner here but there is a limit to how many times this clown should get away with his lies.

I think poor Andre was projecting a little too much when he came up with the “spam redirect” idea considering that he has produced tons of content and posted it all over the internet for just one single purpose. And yet, even after spending so much time over those many years, he accomplished nothing with it (nor will he, but he hasn’t figured that out yet, as I said, he is not the brightest bulb).

It’s also funny how all of Andre Leite Alves’ link-farm experiment sites use basic WordPress themes. I wonder if he will be starting to claim those are his designs just like he seems to do with anything that his eyes see.

The images will be back up shortly as I entertain the full counter notice of the DMCA process. In order not to expose the current web-host as this process resolves itself, you can view the images here, here, and here if you want.

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Terapad

This is normally the place where a company or individual gets shamed and exposed for copyright infringement regarding my Home Office images. This time, however, I’m not going to expose just the user but the company that enables the user to commit acts of copyright infringement.

In this particular instance the individual responsible for the copyright infringement is someone by the name of Dennis Landayan who created one of the most awful looking websites I’ve seen since the dawn of places like Geocities and the tremendous amounts of crap that started to culminate over there. Dennis Landyan calls this eyesore of a site “Freedom of Technology”. But it seems Dennis may have mistaken his concept of “freedom” to extend and include “freedom to steal images”. I’ll let the following screen-grab fill in the rest of the picture.

Notice how the page has some automatically generated links for the Terms & Conditions and Copyright Notice. How ironic that they certainly don’t apply to the image of my home office used there by Dennis Landayan.

However, because Dennis Landayan has failed to leave any contact information on his chaotic and messy eyesore site there was no way to send a copyright infringement notice or summons. But Terapad (part of SiteJourney Ltd.) the company that provides Dennis Landayan the ability to host such an eyesore sire has to act under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). Unfortunately (for Terapad and SiteJourney) they have appeared repeatedly unresponsive to the DMCA notifications.

Shame on Terapad and SiteJourney Ltd.

Looking at the terms and conditions of use, Terapad provides individuals with a free web-site (much like Geocities once did), and has a clause regarding violations that clearly states:

23- VIOLATIONS
Please report any violations of these Terms and Conditions via email at labs@terapad.com

Guess what. There is no response nor any action when DMCA notifications are sent to that address. In fact, any other contact address or way of contacting either Terapad or SiteJourney Ltd. yield any response whatsoever. It is possible that Terpad has gone out of business or that SiteJourney is bankrupt and that what we’re seeing online are just the left-over skeletons of some kind of Geocities clone or failed experiment.

However, the unresponsiveness is also what essentially creates a bigger problem for Terpad and its parent company SiteJourney Ltd. because not responding and thereby allowing the infringement to continue makes Terpad and/or its parent company SiteJourney Ltd. liable and responsible for what is being hosted on their server(s). And that’s where the “fun” starts.

SiteJourney Ltd can be found at 40 Beaufort Court, Admirals Way, London, 14 9XL, England (UK). Tel: 020 7093 6040 and Fax: 020 7093 6041 while citing e-mail addresses for support support@sitejourney.com and a general address as labs@sitejourney.com. The latter address, as you can see, is the same as the address for any violations of the terms of service (TOS) of TeraPad.

It is unclear just what the relation between Terapad and SiteJourney Ltd. is but the site of the latter contains the following information:

Terapad.com is a revolutionary online publishing and eCommerce solution well adapted to the needs of small and medium businesses. It’s ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS), meaning there is no capital investment to make, no long term tie-ins, and no upgrade cost, ever.

Terapad is unique in providing a complete online presence going well beyond the traditional ‘web brochure’, and includes e-commerce, forums, image gallery, blog, RSS, event calendar, recruitment tools, support for internationalization, and 500+ other features.

This Hall Of Shame contestant will probably see an update in the story provided here as the last and final notice of copyright infringement has gone out to SiteJourney Ltd. After which there is no longer an excuse to claim ignorance nor any excuse for their prolonged and continued unresponsiveness of over 3 weeks (at the time of writing of this expose).

Needless to say it will be interesting to see how SiteJourney Ltd. is going to respond to a formal legal complaint and whether the results of that might break the company’s back or drive them to take their responsibility like any reliable web-hosting company should (and usually do!) but in the meantime they’ve found themselves a welcome place amongst the contestants in the game of who’s the biggest and worst copyright violator in the Office Thieves Hall Of Shame.

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Louis Darling

Over the many years I’ve had people ask me if they could use one or more images of my Home Office for some kind of presentation or project they were working on for entirely non-commercial purposes, things that wouldn’t be published anywhere, etc. and there have been instances in which I said, sure, go ahead, because I don’t have a problem with properly accredited links or use of that kind. Unfortunately I no longer do that because of people like Louis Darling (a.k.a. “aussie4me“) and here’s the story about why that is.

Louis Darling asked me, a long time ago, whether he could use some of my office photographs for some music video he was working on. It was for just a personal project that wouldn’t be published. Didn’t seem  like a big deal to me so I kindly gave him permission to do so. It’s rare these days that people actually ask in the first place. Unfortunately, I am starting to learn that people who do ask might not entirely be honest and truthful about their real intentions.

Recently, however, a friend of mine pointed out a video on YouTube titled “The maga computer setup”. (Yes, that’s correct, it’s no longer there, instead there’s a nice copyright message). The video contained an entire slideshow of almost all of my home office photos and scrolling text of the various specs combined with some music track. Not anywhere in the video was it clear that this was my office, where the images came from (you had to look real close to identify the transparent watermarks I’ve put in them in the corners). I tried contacting the individual via YouTube about this but got no response. It was only a little later that I discovered that this was the very same Louis Darling who had asked permission to use the images for his personal project that wouldn’t get published.

And not only was it a video as described above but Louis had turned it into some kind of “YouTube Game” that I probably just don’t understand. He asked viewers to identify the source of the images and figure out where they came from and who owns the setup in the images. There were several hundred responses in the comments of the video, some more clueless than others, some more ignorant than the rest, but intermixed with comments from Louis talking about the setup with incorrect descriptions and other half truths. I have no idea what the fun is in starting a guessing game like that but I wasn’t amused in the slightest by it.

After discovering the nicknames and handles used by Louis Darling I decided to look a little further and to even more of my surprise, the images he asked permission to use for his private project that wouldn’t be published were all over his MySpace site! Both in the form of a slideshow on his main page as well as the entire collection in his photo album. You can see the results here as I grabbed them as I discovered all this.

There’s a lot that can be said on the subject of what exactly is a personal project that won’t be published or made public in any way but I can’t see any possible way how that could ever be interpreted to mean what factually happened and how all the images were subsequently used all over the place (and perhaps other places that I am not at all aware of).

How can anyone construe the permission granted for a personal project to include all this unless the request was made under false pretense with the intention of claiming to have the right to do that just because one holds a very peculiar view on exactly what a private project is.

Lacking any response from Louis Darling on his two YouTube accounts I waited a few days and then proceeded to have the appropriate DMCA take-down notices filed with both Google (YouTube) and MySpace. The copyright agent for MySpace was less easy to dig up but at the same time when the agent received the DMCA it was a very fast and efficient process. Less than 20 hours, in fact. Google needed a day or two more before acting but that too is considered to be swift.

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Bernard Hellinga

Since I now have a blog I’d like to take some time and write about copyrights and infringement, a subject I’ve had to deal with ever since I got into business for myself in 1989 and whereby the works were analog or digital in nature and effectively copyrighted material.

Two days ago a friend of mine alerted me to a video he saw on a web portal of an ISP that had started a video service for its customers that is similar to YouTube and Google Video. One of the videos there, uploaded by a user that goes by the name of “bmhelli” (according to this and his website, Bernard Marius Hellinga a.k.a. Bernard Helli from a town called Ermelo in The Netherlands) contained two TV commercials that were appended together. One introducing some kind of big hamburger, the other commercial being of a topless woman acting out stereotypical male behavior.

While the commercials were funny, the creator that appended them decided to also append a few pictures at the end with a scrolling text (in Dutch, “Onze Werkplek”) which means “Our Workplace” or “Our Office”. Those images, as you can see here and probably would have guessed since I’m writing about it, were of course not of “their workspace” but rather, mine! :-)

In a way it’s amusing that someone would take some seemingly popular (if I judge it by the numbers of visitors to my site and the e-mails I receive about it) images from the internet and label them as “our workplace”. But it’s also not a very clever thing to do. Photographers usually don’t like their pictures being used by others that would take credit for it and are certainly less amused when the person or company doing so claims or implies that it is theirs or claims to be the author or copyright holder. The latter is also the case with Bernard Hellinga aka “bmhelli” since the upload details he entered were “Autheursrecht: BMH” (that’s “Copyright: BMH”). It is unclear what Bernard M. tried to accomplish with this. Either to pretend that my home office was his workspace or whether he wanted to imply that those commercials preceeding the images were those of the producer of these commercials (which, I certainly am not even though I did produce several TV commercials back in the 80′s and 90′s).

The ISP that owns and runs that video website had recently come up with their own version of “the DMCA” (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) which is a system for receiving and handling Take Down and Cease and Desist notices. A system I would strongly encourage for all ISP’s in order to distance themselves from any claims or association with copyright infringement by their customers. Needless to say, that new system deserved a closer look and a bit of a test. Within two days I received notice from the ISP that the user had taken down the infringing content. A good example of how an ISP can deal with these things without having to defend themselves over the actions of a customer. Very nice, and my compliments go out to XS4ALL for being a progressive ISP.

The same goes for Microsoft. When I was notified that Mr. Hellinga had also used the same photographs on his livespaces site/blog a DMCA Take Down C&D (Cease and Desist) went out. It took two days but the photographs were removed. This shows that a proper DMCA complaint will be handled in a proper and timely fashion.

Now the really funny thing is that this was the SECOND time my friend found something that infringed on a copyright that I held. Back in 1996 (it might have been 1997) he came by after picking up a book called “The 3D Studio MAX Design Guide”, published by Coriolis, Inc. Since I used to work on 3ds max I flipped through the book and within seconds my eyes fell on a chapter entitled “Battlemech”. To my surprise the 3D model used for that chapter was a 3D model I had created back in 1993, which was copyrighted (and clearly mentioned in the enclosed text file), and where one of the authors of the chapter claimed they had designed and created the model. On top of that the model itself was provided on the CD-ROM included with the book.

That level of commercial use of course required a slightly different approach and after getting in touch with Coriolis and having my attorney stand by to file a temporary injunction to halt all sales of the book we got to discuss the issue. I’ll save you the long story but in the end Coriolis admitted their “mistake” and we settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Several months later I was contacted by Don Simpson, a cartoonist, who also had his material used in the very same book. In 1997, Ron Every wrote about this situation in the magazine he wrote for. You can find the article here (sorry about the quality, it’s an old PDF).

The bottom line, of course, is, that if you use material from any site on the internet that has copyright notices and details such as “without prior written permission” and “all rights reserved” you should never use the material without permission unless you wish to open yourself up to the less amusing side effects it can result in. If the material is not labeled and just found, stumbled upon, or provided in any random fashion and it is not clear who the author or copyright holder is and you are therefore unable to obtain permission, it is sensible to not use the material because you could end up being liable for using it. Regarding the “Fair Use” clause in copyright laws, claiming copyright without permission is never allowed under the “Fair Use” clause.

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