Criminal case against Czech Pirate Party for running a non-commercial website with hyperlinks
Pirates insist that linking is not a crime - we do not want Chinese internet in the Czech Republic.
A landmark political trial for Czech Internet is about to take place! On Thursday 21st January, Czech pirate party was officially notified that it will be prosecuted in criminal court. The reason is their long-term political campaign „Linking is not a crime“ in which the party ran a non-commerical website „sledujuserialy.cz“ [which translates as I watch TV series] highlighting an absurd interpretation of copyright monopoly law with regard to the Internet.
Czech police launched investigation due to complaint from Czech Anti-Pirate Union (ČPU, Česká protipirátská unie) which represents interests of entertianment industry in the Czech republic and so far filed criminal complaints only against students.
„Pirates welcome the criminal case. Until now, Czech Anti-Pirate Union targeted only randomly chosen individuals with its bullying. The victims were in unfair position as they faced expensive lawyers of lobby organisations which push current repressive copyright monopoly regime. This time it's different. Instead of teenagers, copyright industry lobbyists now deal with political party which didn't run the website for money but because of our conviction that linking is not and should not be a crime,“ said Lukáš Černohorský, chairman of Pirates.
„Our goal is to change the copyright monopoly law so that people are not fined millions for sharing culture with their friends. However, until we achieve that, we will fight in courts over intepretation and enforcement of the law. Therefore we have decided to run a linking web ourselves so that Anti-Pirate Union and other lobbyists can no longer brandish precedents they've won against high school students who couldn't even afford a lawyer. The Internet is too important to leave to organisations such as ČPU,“ concludes Černohorský.
Under the same standard that police used against Pirate party, servers like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube would also have to face prosecution in upcoming days. Unlike linking websites, not only they copy the videos but they also make profit from sharing and playing them.
In the next few days, Pirate Party is going to call on the general public, organisations and individuals who care about freedom of the Internet and organise a massive demonstration in support of Free Internet in the Czech republic. This criminal prosecution is not the only reason, several ministers have also repeatedly made proposals for censorship and surveillance of the Internet
If we concede even partially that any single link on the Internet is a crime, we would simultaneously forfeit the last existing space for free expression, denying the core function of the Internet.