Jared Grey of MultiPlex PC

This is an article to educate you, my readers, about copyright infringement, but also to have some satirical laughs at the expense of a copyright infringer who might not have foreseen how copyright matters could be the trigger that uncovers more about your business than you would want people to notice. You will learn:

  • What does not work in defense of Copyright Infringement.
  • Why you should never hire an SEO company to SPAM the internet.
  • Why, if you engage in other questionable business behavior, you should hope to never run into someone who happens to be adequately capable of exposing that.

Jared Grey, the Copyright Infringer

MultiPlex PC in Orlando Florida, owned by Jared Gray, BUSTED for image theftIt came as a bit of a surprise to me (thanks for the tip Nathan!) to see thousands of web pages showing videos of a company called MultiPlex PC LLC (Orlando, Florida) that include a picture of my Home Office (the 5.0 version of that particular setup).

I was able to identify 6 videos, all of a similar nature, a slideshow of products and multi-monitor setups, used as a marketing vessel for the products and services of MultiPlexPC, that included this image of mine. And, as it appears they have been on there for over two years (since May 2009, to be exact). And of course, the videos and images on the MultiPlex PC Blog also reflected that, as you can see here.

When searching for videos using MultiPlexPC as the keyword it became very clear that YouTube was not the only place these videos and MultiPlex PC’s “marketing and advertising” could be found. Out of about 3100 results, half of them were all copies of those original YouTube videos, and about a fourth of all of those appear to be local copies and local uploads to various other video storage services. Still, the total number of domains that would need to receive a DMCA ran in the dozens. It seems MultiPlex PC really wanted to cover the entire internet wit their marketing goals.

Jared Grey of MultiPlexPC in Orlando Florida, BUSTED as an office thief!Of course, anyone using the images of my office, without permission, either willfully or by reckless behavior and committing an act of copyright infringement can understand that sooner or later such things tend to catch up with you.

And it certainly has for MultiPlex PC and its owner Jared Grey. A DMCA takedown notice had already been sent to YouTube while Mr. Grey, the owner of Orlando Florida based MultiPlex PC LLC responded to the matter.

Mr. Grey explained that they did “not have login credentials to the Youtube account anymore” and that “the email account associated with it had been hijacked some time ago” and “because there has been no documented revenue generated from the YouTube videos I did not find it advantageous to recover the account”.

Why would I care if the videos did or did not generate any revenue, documented or otherwise? 🙂

But what’s even funnier was the request for documented evidence that the pictures are actually mine. Or, as Mr. Grey put it;

“If I can recover the account I will remove the videos in question, but I will need to see documented (time stamped and watermarked photos should do) evidence that the pictures are actually yours and that you’re not simply claiming they are yours to try and generate income by threatening litigation.”

I can understand Jarod Grey’s desire to know that I am indeed who I say I am but asking for proof when anyone with access to a search engine could easily tell certainly made me laugh a bit. Of course, my attorney would be laughing even louder while presenting tons of volume of proof in court. 🙂

The Law

Mr. Jarod Grey of MultiPlexPC was very adamant in stating that he would not pay for monetary damages for the following reason;

“I find claim that a couple of pictures buried deep in a YouTube video are generating the kind of revenue for our business that you claim. Since you cannot prove that we have made money from the videos, and I can more likely prove that we haven’t”

Mr. Grey offered to remove the videos from YouTube, something which would have been taken care of by the DMCA that went out, and it became clear that once again we have encountered someone who is, indeed, ignorant about copyright law. After a little educational response it might have gotten a bit more clear, or perhaps not quite yet, but in case you are wondering why MultiPlex PC’s concept of not having had any financial gain from those advertisement videos does not hold water;

  • In the civil context, the term “willful” has a well established meaning and most courts use a “recklessness standard” to enhance statutory damages for copyright infringement. And while the statute does not define “willful”, it consistently defines it as including reckless behavior.
  • In a copyright infringement case you, as the owner of the material in question, do not always need to prove that the infringer profited from their actions. But it does help you build a better case and often gets you higher damages awarded. Instead, one can easily sue for punitive damages which are damages which punish the infringer for wrongful conduct.

Committing acts of copyright infringement as part of creating and spreading around video material used as marketing material or advertisements for your business, products, or services, does not require much effort to take to court. Depending on the situation the actual case itself may not require a lot of effort either.

A follow-up e-mail from Mr. Grey said that he was going to take care of removing the videos from YouTube (I guess the credentials had materialized quickly) but asked me why there is no public section on my website that presents the commercial licensing and cost of my images. Now that’s certainly one I never heard before. Probably because nobody else ever brought it up because it is quite irrelevant.

In a free market the owner of any property, intellectual or otherwise, can set whatever price they wish. And it may very well be that larger corporations end up paying more for something that smaller businesses can get cheaper.

The Cost of DMCA takedown notices

After a little further education, provided for free, to Mr. Jarod Grey of MultiPlex PC, I also made it clear that removing all the material from dozens of places through the DMCA process can become quite expensive because of the time and effort involved. And that I certainly did not see a valid enough reason why I should be picking up the tab for thousands of dollars worth of DMCA’ing.

In the meantime, Mr. Grey of MultiPlex PC has been going about removing videos from different places and told me that various SEO companies in the past might be responsible for the content having spread so widely over the internet.

That’s possible. It doesn’t absolve one from the responsibility and legal liability. And in this case it should be a lesson for everyone else that if you are not 100% sure of the source of the materials you use, and there is a chance that you might have been infringing on someone’s copyright, that having an SEO company help you spread the material far and wide is likely to only further harm you down the line.

The “we’re a poor company, don’t sue us” approach

Mr. Grey told me they did not “have any money to pay” me and that with their small margins the profits go back into “trying to grow” (the company) and “paying bills”. Well, welcome to small business 101. That sums up the bulk of all small businesses. But, of course, is not an excuse for copyright infringement. Mr. Grey also informed me that they didn’t have money for an attorney to battle a lawsuit, would not do any more than remove the videos in question (before I provided only a partial list of those I had found), and that I should feel free to sue because if I get a default judgment there’d be no money anyway. So being poor and defenseless is now a good enough excuse for copyright infringement? 🙂

At that point the decision is up to me, of course, but you have to wonder how much of what Jarod said is true and how much is just a collection of words in order to discourage someone from spending a few bucks on a lawsuit that yields nothing at all. After a quick round of investigating Jared Grey and MultiPlex PC I am currently convinced that this is not a very trustworthy individual.

It is possible that the cost of engaging in a discovery process during a legal case would show otherwise. But the first thing I recommend doing is to dig up as much information about the other party before making any decisions. And this is where it gets really interesting because the behavior of Mr. Jared Grey of MultiPlex PC in Orlando Florida, claiming to be “The Leader in Multiple Monitors” and being a computer building company dedicated to providing the avid market trader, video game enthusiast, poker player, engineers, and graphic artists with “unmatched computer buying experience”, has started to show some really interesting and deceptive practices.

What Trading Technology Review wrote about MultiPlex PC

Others already exposed Jared Grey of MultiPlex PC in Orlando FloridaThe Trading Technology Review website, owned by Market Pirates LLC, has made some very observant comments about MultiPlex PC, LLC. Please allow me to highlight some of those here;

“It is interesting that they offer a FXBootCamp trading computer since Wayne McDonell (the owner of FXBootCamp) just bought a trading computer from another vendor.”

“They show a number of companies under the heading “A Few Companies that trust us…”. This statement seems to be a stretch since we know that some of them have strong relationships with other computer vendors.”

“You will need to pay an extra $200 to get a 3 year warranty with on-site service. the warranty is listed as “complete” and not “limited”. There is no legal definition of a warranty that is “complete”. The correct legal term is “full”. I don’t think they know what they are getting into with their lack of legal understanding.”

“Like many who aren’t, they call themselves “The Leader in Multiple Monitors!””

After my little bit of research I have to agree with Trading Technology Review. Those who call themselves leaders in anything usually aren’t. Those who say they are the most trusted usually aren’t. And the comment that MultiPlex PC has a lack of legal understanding is something I became quite aware of when I received the initial response from the founder and CEO, Mr. Jarod Grey. It is a bad idea to be in business without at least basic legal knowledge about your products and services.

Meet Jared Grey, the trader who is raking in the money!

Jared Grey of MultiPlex PC pretends to make money and then says they are a poor companyHow about this one? An article on Ezine@rticles from someone who recently upgraded their computer to run multiple monitors and noticed a great improvement in their day trading productivity. The article claims “Since I have upgraded to just 4 monitors instead of 1 I have made an extra $24,000 this year”.

But then also mentions “If you’re in the market to purchase a day trading computer and multiple monitors, check out Multiplex PC”.

Does it surprise you that the article is attributed to someone named Jared Grey?

The somewhat incoherent writing of the article could be interpreted in different ways but to me it reads as if Jared was trying to get some internet marketing going while trying not to be too outrageously blatant about using a place like Ezine@rticles to post pure advertisements (like many others do and will use it for).
But that was back in November 2008. Jared Grey has certainly picked up on how to do more of it and I will show you exactly how in the next paragraphs.

How Jarod Grey of MultiPlex PC tries to get sales

Disclosure is everything. Posting comments and statements online, pretending you are a satisfied customer of a business, not disclosing that you either work for the business or own it, is a very bad thing to do. Because sooner or later it comes out and your reputation is forever destroyed by your own actions.

Even if at some later time a miracle occurs and real customers, if there are any, would start posting raving reviews of your products, people would no longer believe it because it is entirely possible that those too are fake. Don’t believe me? Just ask Andre Leite Alves of Aware Bear Computers in Pittsford New York just how he dug his own grave with that one.

MultiPlex PC Orlando Florida TOTALLY BUSTED!!!

Here is a comment on a blog article about multiple monitor setups. Notice the inclusion there to my old 5.0 setup over at another site? Notice anything about the name of the person leaving the above comment? Yes, jgreyorl is short for Jarod Grey Orlando, as in Orlando Florida. You can find a lot of interesting things if you search for that short name and many of the things you find will lead straight back to MultiPlex PC in some form.

Also notice how Jarod Grey is pretending he recently bought a triple monitor array and plugs MultiPlex PC in there with a link to the site?

“Glad to see other people putting their rigs up for us to see”, however, I’m not sure how to interpret that because to me it actually reads more like “Great to see pictures of stuff we can grab and use in our advertisement videos because we clearly have nothing of our own to show so we will just pretend we have been involved in any of the setups of which we just stole the images and we hope nobody is ever going to find out”.

Someone always finds out. And if your past behavior is like this, and if that is the way you wish to run your business, then don’t start crying when your business ends up losing any reputation it might have gained in the future.

Jared Grey of MultiPlex PC copyright infringement

At about.com there is a similar post by a similar “jgreyorl”. Asking to see more pictures of multi monitor setups that his “fellow day traders” use. Asking for images so there would be fresh material to grab and use for the commercial purposes of MultiPlex PC? And again, in this post Jared Grey once again plugs his business without actually disclosing that he is the owner.

I would not trust MultiPlex PC and Jared Grey after all this crap

Over at ecoustics.com Mr. Grey responds to someone and tells them to try out MultiPlex PC because “THEY” have much better products. Why would the owner of MultiPlex PC have a need to refer to his own company as “THEY” instead of “I” or “WE”? Oh, because he was once again trying to not be too blatantly obvious about him plugging his business everywhere he can and doing so in a very “spammy way”!

Jared of MultiPlex PC PRETENDING to write as his own customer

And there the deceptive Mr. Jarod Grey of MultiPlex PC is doing it again! Passing himself off as a satisfied customer and this time trying to cover it up by saying “I spoke to all the other companies out there and Kevin at Multiplex PC was super nice and helpful.”.

Uhm, if there is a Kevin there, which there might be, I don’t know, why would Jared need to refer to him in this particular way? And why would the owner of MultiPlex PC need to speak to all the other companies out there only to decide to buy from his own company? Jared, you’re busted again!

MultiPlex PC Multi Monitor Company by Jared Gray, deceitful practices on the internet

OK, just because you like reading how Jared Grey has completely failed to realize that doing this stuff under his own name is generally something that only really stupid con-artists end up doing, let’s have another one. Over at the trade2win forums, Jared Grey “personally recommends MultiPlexPC” because he “purchased a Proplex 2100 from them” and because “they burn-in the components for 24-48 hours”. Once again, posted jgreyorl, once again using “they” to refer to the company he owns.

It’s getting a bit boring now, isn’t it? Feel free to google around yourself and see just how much more of this you can stand to laugh at. Of course, Mr. Grey might only now realize, gee, what if I do all that and instead use different names and… oh, wait, I might actually be educating Mr. Grey again and I don’t think it would be in anyone’s best interest for him to get better at this tactic of trying to do business. Even Project Honey Pot has an interesting bit on Jared and MultiPlex PC and the spam violations it implies:

The Project Honey Pot system has detected behavior from the IP address consistent with that of a comment spammer. Below we’ve reported some other data associated with this IP. This interrelated data helps map spammers’ networks and aids in law enforcement efforts

Of course, anyone googling Jarod Grey or MultiPlexPC are very likely to arrive on this site where, probably, after this exposure, it is difficult to believe anyone would believe an honest post or actual review by an actual customer because Jarod has soiled his market by trying to increase sales this way. Ah, well, live and learn.

The moral of this story should be clear if you made it this far. Never have an SEO company bloat and spread your marketing materials and advertisements if they contain copyrighted material that you are not authorized to use. Also, never step on the copyrights of someone who really does take it seriously and will investigate a little before making any decisions regarding lawsuits. And whatever you do, don’t do any of these things in public view on the internet where it remains forever-and-ever to haunt you.

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Andre Leite Alves

This is getting to be prime time entertainment if you ask me. For those of you that have read a previous post of mine on the theft and infringement on my copyrighted material committed by Andre Leite Alves (operating a business under the name Aware Bear in Pittsford, Rochester, New York), there is a new development that I would love to share with you all.

Andre Alves has attempted to misuse (abuse) the DMCA in order to get my story of his fraudulent actions removed from the internet. In order to attempt that this little Aware Bear sent a DMCA complaint to a domain registrar where stefandidak.com, my domain, is registered. Unfortunately it once again shows that Andre Leite Alves has no clue about the law, in any way shape or form, and had no legal assistance in the process of writing that DMCA complaint (the plethora of errors and missing words in there is very similar to his hasted reply after I first confronted him with a demand he immediately stops using my material for his personal gains and business activities). It is starting to be clear that Andre Leite Alves is an amateur in every respect.

Andre Alves modifying and stealing an image from my site

What Andre Alves also hadn’t realised is that I have dealt with DMCA situations in the past and am even on record in a policy report by the Brennan Center for Justice of the NYU School of Law, regarding a very similar case with a professional con-artist I had exposed. That con-artist also attempted to abuse the DMCA for what it was never intended for as you can read in the report.

I believe that Andre Alves of Aware Bear Computers is not too happy with me showing the derivative work he illegally and without authorization created from my copyrighted work. And again it becomes clear that Alves has no legal assistance because they would have informed him that it was his mistake that caused the circulation and that now it allows me to use it under the fair use clause of the copyright act. Of course, we all know that Andre Alves doesn’t care about the image and copyrights, if he cared about copyrights he would not have done what he did and would not have spent the past days removing OTHER material from his site and replacing it with generic images instead. All Andre Alves cares about is not getting exposed. Well, bud, it’s a little too darn late for that.

Notice how Andre Alves also commits perjury in his DMCA complaint by stating that my website is operated an on anonymous basis. Funny he can find the contact details of the domain host but not my contact details that are right there alongside it. Contact details he already had in the first place as is already on record from our previous communications. Again, it shows typical low-life behavior of a petty amateur because he believed he could get away with filing a DMCA that way. What Andre Alves should do, if he feels strongly about copyright infringement and believes that the fair use clause does not apply, is file suit against me and leave it up to the courts (he already knows where to find me to file suit and even if he didn’t it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out with a simple lookup). I would welcome him trying that. For one, if he makes a personal appearance in court (very unlikely since he’s running and hiding from being served with my case that’s now hanging as a thundercloud above his head) we can serve him easily. Notice how he failed to provide a valid address on the DMCA (a requirement) 🙂

Anyone who can provide me with the whereabouts of Mr. Andre Leite Alves at a specific point in time can expect a generous reward once we can serve him his summons.

Anyway, for your enjoyment and education I present to you the DMCA complaint as it was sent to the domain registrar. Needless to say, all the errors and mistakes are verbatim and by Andre Alves. I wonder if he will attempt to claim copyright on his DMCA complaint too now. 🙂

Andre Leite Alves
Rochester, NY 14618
(585)473-7035, (585) 738-2583
(585)473-7035 FAX

November 12, 2008
“Take Down Notice” Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 17 USC ? 512
[name of domain registrar]

Dear Sir or Ma’am:

This letter is formal notice to you under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 USC ? 512. that you are maintaining materials on your servers that infringe on the copyrights of my personal work. Accordingly, we hereby request that you take down or remove this infringing content from your servers.

1. Identity Of The Copyrighted Work That Has Been Infringed. My own the copyright personal photograph, which have appeared and have been published over the years in, among other places, web sites owned by me and in literary and marketing materials in several types of media distributed to the public. Below are just a few examples of the items of content that have been copied and pasted into this website.

2. Identity of the Material That Is Infringing My Copyrighted Work. The website StefanDidak.com currently contains pages infringing content. The search queries, and the search results containing web pages that infringe on my own rights, are attached as Exhibit B. We can provide a digital copy of this Exhibit B if it would be helpful to you.

3. Contact Information for Andre Leite Alves. Please send all correspondence on this matter to:

Andre Leite Alves
Rochester, NY 14618
(585) 473-7035, (585) 738-2583
(585) 473-7035 Fax
solutions@awarebear.com

4. Contact Information for Owner/Administrator of the Web Site Containing Infringing Material. The individuals who operate the website www.stefandidak.com do an anonymous basis. The email that they provide on their website is: stefan@stefandidak.com.

5. Good Faith Statement & Affidavit. Please see the affidavit attached as Exhibit A.

If you have any questions about this notice, please contact me at (585) 473-7035or at solutions@awarebear.com

Thank you,
ANDRE LEITE ALVES

Exhibit A
AFFIDAVIT

I, Andre Leite Alves, declare the following:

1. I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described in the attached letter, that appear on the allegedly infringing web pages as described in the attached letter, is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

2. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in this notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the, owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of New York that the foregoing is true, and correct.

Exhibit B
Link1
Link2

I would like to thank Andre Alves for providing this DMCA complaint under penalty of perjury because he has now incriminated himself even further than he had already done. Thanks Andre! You have just declared that you have used the stolen material that appeared and have been published over the years in, among other places, web sites owned by me and in literary and marketing materials in several types of media distributed to the public”. So it’s been used even more than we already can prove with the hardcopies of the brochures, judging from his words. You’re going to not be too happy in court but please do continue to incriminate yourself and declaring so under penalty of perjury. Maybe, Andre, it is time you get an actual attorney instead of trying to play one yourself. You end up making a clown out of yourself this way.

What Andre Leite Alves also hadn’t grasped is that by not having proper legal counsel it can become a very painful situation that backfires (which, once again, it has for him). For example, he has not understood the DMCA at all (then again, there does not seem to be much he understands other than that he needs to hide and run from a legal suit that is likely to impact his life in a very negative way), and as a result has not understood section (f) of the DMCA in which it states that it makes the sender of an invalid claim liable for the costs involved, including legal fees.

Of course, I can’t complain because his clowning around works in my legal advantage. 🙂

I operate my website on an anoymous basis? Gosh, this Andre Alves must be a certified moron if he thinks anyone with half a braincell believes that. A 2-year old can easily prove that is not the case. It is, of course, entirely within the realm of possibilities that I overestimated Andre’s IQ. With the US credit crisis going on, perhaps that IQ is also a negative number.

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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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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