Report Photography Theft, Get $100 or More in Store Credit
A list of competitors found to be using our IP without authorization is maintained at bottom of this page.
Over the years, Aquatic Arts has spent thousands of hours developing one of the most comprehensive and high-quality collections of aquatic photography in existence. That collection has cost into the six-figure range to produce, and unfortunately, it is CONSTANTLY stolen by competitors that would rather steal our work than take their own photo of an item they are selling (and presumably have in stock). Starting now, we will maintain a list of competitors at the bottom of this page who have been reported to us by customers or found through our own periodic reverse image searches/etc.
As of July 2020 and for the foreseeable future, we are offering a store credit of $100 to any of our customers that reports a USA-BASED RETAIL competitor to us who has stolen at least 5 pieces of our photography and is using it commercially on their own website, Aquabid, eBay, or anywhere else on the internet. The store credit will be available only to the first customer that notifies us of a particular competitor; if we already know of that particular thief, we will notify you that we are already aware in that case. If that competitor is using more than 15 of our photos, we will increase the store credit to $200. If the competitor is an individual selling on eBay/etc and does not have a legitimate business, we will still offer a $25 store credit. Each customer will be eligible to receive one store credit during the lifetime of this promotion, regardless of the number of reports made. In cases where a second report is made and it contains valuable information, we may at our discretion make an exception and grant a second store credit under this promotion. Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit the report.
We are doing this because over the years, we have relied on our awesome (and huge) customer base to let us know when competitors are stealing our work, slandering us (libel, if in written form), or otherwise behaving unethically toward us or the industry in general. We would like to begin rewarding the people who take time out of their day to help us protect our business and the works it has produced. So, as the TSA likes to say, "If you see something, say something".
Thank you to everyone who has reported intellectual property thieves so far. Below is a list of competitors who have been reported to us by our customers and who we believe to be engaged in or have in the past engaged in the unauthorized use of our intellectual property. Please note that this list does not constitute a statement of guilt on behalf of those listed below, nor does it constitute a statement of fact by Aquatic Arts that these competitors have stolen our works. This is merely a list of those competitors who we found to be using our intellectual property for commercial profit without authorization after they were reported to us by our customers.
We give every infringer a chance to discuss the matter with us and reach a settlement at a far lower cost than going to court (and in some cases don't even ask for a settlement if the infringement is not widespread or highly malicious), but so far have had to resort to legal action in every case due to the infringers refusing to even discuss a settlement. All we ask from companies found to be using our copyrighted works without authorization is that they admit wrongdoing and take responsibility for their behavior, and pay a small settlement that will be donated to a registered nonprofit. If we sue a company, it is only because they refuse one or both of these conditions. We do not sue for profit, and will always donate any proceeds above our legal costs to a registered nonprofit.
1. "Living Artwork" - livingartwork.us - A company with an interestingly similar name to Aquatic Arts, found to be using at least 30 photos produced and copyrighted by Aquatic Arts across their website, Aquabid, and eBay without authorization. Owner was unwilling to even discuss a settlement and stated on the phone to our Marketplace Compliance Department that we would lose in court. Also stated that "Petco had tried to do the same thing", which makes it in our opinion seem like they are using photos from other companies without authorization as well. Pending litigation initiated by Aquatic Arts for infringement of intellectual property and theft of copyrighted works.
"US Tropical Fish" or "Uncle Sam's Tropical Fish" - ustropicalfish.com - Found to be using at least 11 photos produced and copyrighted by Aquatic Arts on their website without authorization. Found to be using multiple photos on social media websites without authorization. Refused to remove the photos used without authorization. Pending litigation initiated by Aquatic Arts for infringement of intellectual property and theft of copyrighted works.
“The iFish Store" - theifishstore.com - Found to be using at least 4 photos produced and copyrighted by Aquatic Arts on their website without authorization. In our opinion, they were using photos stolen from other competitors as well, and in our opinion this is till going on. Aquatic Arts photos were removed at our request and an apology was made, so no litigation was initiated.
“SunGrow" - Found to be using multiple photos produced and copyrighted by Aquatic Arts for aquarium accessory products sold in various places, without authorization. Being litigated in Singapore.
"Discus.com" - Found to be using at least 4 photos produced and copyrighted by Aquatic Arts on their website without authorization. In our opinion, they were using photos stolen from other competitors as well. In our opinion, their claim of being "the most trafficked aquarium website" is dubious at best. Litigation under consideration due to Discus.com refusing to remove the stolen photos.
"Arizona Aquatic Gardens" - azgardens.com - In our opinion, this is one of the most egregious examples of copyright theft we have faced. Not only was Arizona Aquatic Gardens found to be using photos produced and copyrighted by Aquatic Arts on their website without authorization, but those photos appear to us to have been intentionally manipulated to circumvent IP defense measures. For example, one photo had its watermark removed, was mirrored, and underwent other edits to change its saturation/etc. Thankfully, one of our loyal customers noticed it was our photo despite the changes and reported the alleged theft to us. This case will likely be litigated under the DMCA, because under 17 U.S.C 1203(b), statutory damages are multiplied by each violation of the DMCA. In this case, a violation likely occurred whenever azgardens.com sold a product that was advertised with stolen and manipulated copyrighted material. As the minimum statutory damages in this case are likely $2,500 due to the removal of copyright protection material, if azgardens.com sold 100 products in this manner they may be liable for $250,000 or more in damages. We decided to litigate this case after azgardens.com claimed (in writing) that the photos were properly licensed and they had not done anything wrong. Had they admitted their actions, we would have offered a settlement for less than 1% of the damages they are likely liable for. This may serve as a harsh example of how much trouble a business can get into for not only using stolen photos, but using stolen photos that have been manipulated to conceal the theft. Azgardens.com should take notice if they read this that destroying or deleting records of how many of the items in question they sold will rise to the level of criminal activity and may result in criminal charges/prison under local or federal law, and at the law's discretion, not ours.
"GoodJoseph Fish Store" - goodjosephlivefishstore.com - In a move that is certainly not good, GoodJoseph Fish Store was found to be using 52 (!!!) photos produced and copyrighted by Aquatic Arts on their website without authorization. They have been contacted and we are not yet sure how this situation will resolve, but hopefully we are not once again forced to sue in the event the owner refuses to take responsibility for the theft and discuss a settlement/penalty.
“Worldwide Fish and Pets" - worldwidefishandpets.com - Worldwide Fish and Pets was found to be using 8 photos produced and copyrighted by Aquatic Arts on their website without authorization, both across product listings and marketing material. They have been contacted and we are not yet sure how this situation will resolve, but hopefully we are not once again forced to sue in the event the owner refuses to take responsibility for the theft and discuss a settlement/penalty.
"Marcus Fish Tanks" - marcusfishtanks.com - Marcus Fish Tanks was found to be using over 20 photos produced and copyrighted by Aquatic Arts on their website without authorization, both across product listings and eBay listings. They have been contacted and we are not yet sure how this situation will resolve, but hopefully we are not once again forced to sue in the event the owner refuses to take responsibility for the theft and discuss a settlement/penalty.
"360Aquatics" - 360aquatic.com - 360 Aquatics was found to be using on their website without authorization a total of 61 pieces of copyrighted material owned by Aquatic Arts. Our company is working out a potential settlement with the owner, who has been willing to correct the problem.