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Josef Sagemuller's response to Care2.com

Randy Paynter
Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer
Care2.com, Inc.

Dear Care2 Staff Members:

I hope that this message finds you in good spirits and health. Your message regarding the copyrighted photographs and their display on my petitionsite is very important to me, and I would like to respond to it.

First of all and before removing any of the photos in question, I would need to know who my accusers are and what particular photographs they are referring to.

Before we take these accusations seriously, their identities need to be established. I am referring to verifiable names and addresses and a formal statement that they actually hold copyrights over the images. This proviso should not pose any problems for those who are legitimately contesting this matter.

Please take note that the copy of the complaint I received was not signed by anyone. Have they provided you with their proper names and addresses? Largely due to the publication of my petition, I have become the object of abusive and personally threatening comments, many of which I have already deleted.

The petition has kindled a sense of outrage among Filipinos, citizens who became aware that their natural treasures are being trashed by a few unscrupulous people. So, it is not surprising that someone has attempted to derail my efforts at conservation by having you take down the very photographs that portray their dirty deeds.

Against this backdrop, you can see the importance of verifying the complaint. I would like to know if the accusers have provided you with documentation that their photographs have a copyright, or any disclaimer against unauthorized use. I shall retain the photographs until the issue of ownership and copyright has been clarified.

With regard to my having "stolen" the photographs and infringing on their intellectual copyright, according to Philippine Law, and I would like to quote for your information, Section 176 of Republic of the Philippines Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, which provides:

” Sec. 184 (i) of the Intellectual Property Code: The following acts shall not constitute infringement:

-the public performance or the communicating to the public of a work, in a place where no admission fee is charged in respect of such public performance or communication, by a club or institution for charitable or educational purpose only, whose aim is not profit-making, subject to such other limitations as may be provided by regulations.

- The fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching including multiple copies for classroom use, scholarship, research and similar purposes is NOT an infringement of copyright. “

It is clear that my intentions were, and still are, meant to educate the public on the illegal killing and possession of IUCN red-listed species and wildlife by means of criticism and comment through a medium wherein I am unable to enrich myself in monetary terms. I believe this exempts me from said infringement on their so-called Intellectual Copyright.

Furthermore, the mere possession of wildlife, as portrayed in the photographs in question, is a crime according to Philippine Law as provided by Section 8 of Republic Act 9147,AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES where it is stated:

“ Section 8. Possession of Wildlife. No person or entity shall be allowed possession of wildlife unless such person or entity can prove financial and technical capability and facility to maintain said wildlife: Provided, That the source was not obtained in violation of this Act. “

This means that the so called "sports" hunters---people who are most probably behind the complaint you have in hand--- have already committed a crime by merely possessing the Philippine Ducks which is clear as daylight in the photographs involved. That is why some people are so gung-ho at taking them off the web even to the point of, ironically and self-incriminatingly, claiming that they hold the copyright.

More about editing than an admission of guilt, I edited out the photos of certain individuals involved because I wanted to move away from personalities and focus more on the issue of "sports" hunting, a pastime that is totally and completely illegal in the Philippines.

In the numerous links that appear on my petition, you will see that some of the hunters in question have openly admitted to the media that they indeed killed the protected wildlife since they considered them "pests". Also the many television stations, newspapers and blogs that have covered this issue have used the exact same photographs that I have used in my petition

The media here is very careful and would not have used photos if they believed they would have a potential lawsuit on their hands by infringing on intellectual copyrights. All in all it is I believe a smear campaign orchestrated to by the opposing party to discredit me.

Below I have added some of the many links for you to browse that have covered the issue and the petition including the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and the Philippine Daily Inquirer (the Philippines' biggest selling newspaper) which also used photographs taken from my petition page that have been edited since.

Please bear in mind that this complaint is merely a form of harassment made through the kindness of your services. You should not allow the guilty to manipulate you through vague or spurious claims of copyright infringement. The wide media coverage in the Philippines regarding this hunting issue, particularly this petition, means that Care2 has helped make a great impact in the Philippine society and contributed SIGNIFICANTLY to an increase of general awareness about the illegality of hunting in the Philippines.

For this, I cannot thank you enough! Please do not let yourself be railroaded by these people whose practices I will continue to criticize in the strongest of terms.

Sincerely,

Josef M. Sagemuller

Link to the World Wildlife Funds Newsroom reporting about the Slaughter of the Birds on Negros island and this petition:

http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/index.cfm?uNewsID=122560

Kindly check this full page article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer:
http://www.inquirer.net/specialfeatures/theenvironmentreport/view.php?db=1&article=20080202-116296

Link to a segment of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho a top-rated newsmagazine show of GMA7 shown in the Philippines(that features the same photos that were posted on this petitionsite):
http://www.gmanews.tv/video/16671/Kapuso-Mo-Jessica-Soho-Bird-Hunting