Archive for June 2011

I am no longer a ‘Shark Diver’   15 comments

Hi everyone, this particular blog post is an industry rant. So, if you don’t like petty politics you’ll probably want to skip it.

You would think that the term ‘shark diver’ refers to all of us. For example, I have been shark diving every chance I get for more than a decade. I have photographed more species of sharks than most people on this planet and therefore I thought (in my naivety) that I might indeed be a ‘shark diver’. Therefore, a few years ago, as an extension of my passion for shark diving, it seemed appropriate to call my WordPress blog ‘Shark Diver’.

I had heard horror stories of an over zealous operator who theatens other operators and magazines with court action if they use the the term ‘shark diver’ but I believed that being a shark photographer and generally a magnanimous guy with a reputation for being neutral, that the operator would be gracious enough to realize that I was indeed a ‘shark diver’ and that my blog was appropriately named.

Considering that my website (BTW, that means SHARKDIVER IN LATIN!!!!!!)  links to ALL shark diving operators (including the one that has registered ‘shark diver’) I thought I would be left in peace to come up with more hair-brained expeditions, take people shark diving (can I even say that now?), showcase endangered shark species on my website and generally have fun with sharks.

Apparently I was mistaken. Yesterday, I was unable to access my WordPress account because it had been suspended. The operator has trademarked the term shark diver. They presented WordPress with enough legalese to scare them into suspending my blog. I don’t blame WordPress at all for agreeing. After all, who wants to fight a court case if you don’t have to? Well, the operator does but he doesn’t really count.

How someone can trademark the generic term shark diver is beyond me but there are some devious people out there that will do whatever they can to get ahead. I’m not saying that the company that trademarked (and is trying to monopolize) the term ‘shark diver’ is devious. Far from it! Its a completely legitimate thing to do, like trademarking the term scuba diver or horse rider or hiker or person. Obviously its very specific to what that company does and we should all respect that. And, even if I secretly thought that it was a low move to stop other companies from using the term ‘shark diver’ I wouldn’t dream of saying it! I might get sued by them! That would be kinda fun especially because I’m Canadian and our court system is a lot different. But, at the end of the day I’d rather be in the water with sharks than in the courtroom with them.

So from now on, I guess that I should be very careful about using the term ‘shark diver’. Perhaps we should all consider a ‘shark diver’ as someone who dives exclusively with the company that has trademarked the term ‘shark diver’. That would make the rest of us ‘cartilaginous fish divers’. Its a bit wordy but I’m sure we’ll all get used to it.

For the cartilaginous fishes,

Andy Murch

Oh, and before I forget, I better take the link to their website off of the Elasmodiver links page. I’ve been displaying it for free for them for many years without their permission and I wouldn’t want them to get even more upset 😉