About

Member of the Board of the Polish Linux Users Group. Human rights in digital era hacktivist, Free Software advocate, privacy and anonimity evangelist; expert volunteer to the Panoptykon Foundation; co-organizer of SocHack social hackathons; charter member of the Warsaw Hackerspace; and Telecomix co-operator; biker, sailor.

Formerly President of the Board of the Polish Free and Open Source Software Foundation; CTO of BRAMA Mobile Technologies Laboratory on Warsaw University of Technology and a student at Philosophy Institute on Warsaw University.

Table of Contents

languages:
02.07.2016Dzień, w którym cenzura Sieci w Polsce stała się faktem pl 152 13.04.2015Needless haystacks en 151 12.03.2015e-Dockleracje pl 150 19.01.2015Ban on encryption is not about banning encryption en 149 13.01.2015Not Free as in Beer en pl 148 30.12.2014GPG Key Transition en pl 147 18.12.2014Siła wyższa pl 146 04.12.2014Internet in Poland to be porn-free after all? en pl 145 27.11.2014Block everything! en pl 144 02.11.2014Introducing: rysiek's law of unavoidable consequences en pl 143 09.09.2014Stop paedophilia en pl 142 22.06.2014Even with EME, Mozilla will become "the browser that can't" en 141 21.06.2014EuroDIG 2014 en pl 140 19.06.2014Hacker in the Digital Affairs Council en pl 139 30.05.2014Public consultations and anonymity en pl 138 18.05.2014Why being a pirate is not worth it en pl 137 15.05.2014On Mozilla, DRM and irrelevance en pl 136 14.05.2014Not-quite-good-enough-Mundial en 135 12.04.2014Irresponsible non-disclosure en pl 134 29.03.2014Ecologic, Ford and surveillance en pl 133 15.03.2014Otwórzmy edukację pl 132 10.03.2014Blurry line between private service and public infrastructure en 131 08.03.2014IM IN UR MINISTRY, CONSULTING UR INTERNETZ en pl 130 17.02.2014Encrypted VoIP that works en pl 129 11.02.2014So you want to censor the Internet... en pl 128 02.02.2014This is why we can't have nice IRC en 127 31.01.2014Decentralize where your mouth is en pl 126 30.01.2014A link cannot be illegal en pl 125 30.01.2014Copyright reform debate lives on en pl 124 26.01.2014Neat HaCSS, or let's de-JS the Web a bit en 123 27.12.2013Information Account Number en 122 14.12.2013HaIPu en 121 20.11.2013Friends of TTIP and data protection in Brussels en 120 19.11.2013Social media, Polish Pirates style en pl 119 05.11.2013A rude comment en 118 20.10.2013TEDx Warsaw Women and privacy en pl 117 03.10.2013Copyreform at CopyCamp 2013 en pl 116 22.09.2013Long-expected KMail2 rant en 115 18.09.2013Facebook for schools en 114 12.09.2013In which I call upon United Poland parliamentarians to guarantee citizens the right to Internet free of surveillance en pl 113 08.09.2013Complaintivism en 112 04.09.2013It's his own fault en pl 111 19.08.2013Lies, damn lies, and analytics en pl 110 27.07.2013Shortest Internet censorship debate ever en pl 109 22.07.2013Cómo el compartir información desarraiga los modelos conservadores de negocio en es 108 22.07.2013Posts' markup is now available en pl 107 11.07.2013Kultura wolna i legalna pl 106 07.06.2013Internet is not a problem en pl 105 05.06.2013Libel Culture en 104 17.05.2013Wojtuś Fatalista i wolność w Internecie pl 102 17.05.2013Por qué hallo la licencia -ND como innecesaria y dañina en es pl 101 28.03.2013Wolność nasza codzienna pl 100 17.03.2013Nie wszystko korpo co o wolności w Internecie pl 99 15.03.2013♫ Odpowiadam na e-maile ♫ pl 98 11.02.2013One year anniversary of Anti-ACTA en pl 97 30.01.2013Nie ma haka na słabe dziennikarstwo? pl 96 30.01.2013Fighting Black PR around OER en pl 95 29.01.2013HOWTO: effectively argue against Internet censorship ideas en pl 94 20.11.2012Border conditions for preserving subjectivity in the digital era en pl 93 19.11.2012Social blogosphere en pl 92 07.11.2012Embrace fragmentation en pl 91 02.11.2012SERVICES.TXT en pl 90 24.10.2012Apple por fin saltó por la borda en es 89 24.09.2012Rompiendo los muros del jardín en es pl 88 24.09.2012Minister i Kultura pl 87 24.09.2012Melbourne CryptoParty video message en 86 16.09.2012On sailor's sensitivity, or "the starry heavens above me" en pl 85 22.08.2012Black PR around Polish e-Textbooks en pl 84 15.08.2012Regaty utracone pl 83 24.07.2012Hypochristian Love en 82 24.07.2012Some new Layout Goodness en pl 81 17.07.2012Party 2.0 en pl 80 16.07.2012Prawo autorskie po ACTA pl 79 13.07.2012Party as a system hack en pl 78 10.06.2012Are corporations dangerous only in collusion with governments? en 77 09.06.2012Proxies! Proxies everywhere! en 76 05.06.2012Automagic re-publishing from Twitter to StatusNet en pl 75 18.05.2012TPSA/Orange and GIMP, or a word on 5 users en pl 74 16.05.2012Słowo o Warsztatach MAiC pl 73 15.04.2012Schowaj gadżeta pl 72 05.04.2012Perfect ToDo-oid en 71 27.03.2012Subjectively on Anti-ACTA in Poland en pl 70 25.03.2012On copyright in Budapest en pl 69 23.03.2012Kościoła poczucie odpowiedzialności pl 68 20.03.2012Learning to Internet en pl 67 19.03.2012Kościoła wiara w wiernych pl 66 29.02.2012Brussels Safari #1 - EP press conference and ITRE en pl 65 21.02.2012Because ACTA is passé en pl 64 20.02.2012Privacy of correspondence, EU-style en pl 63 17.02.2012Polish PM on ACTA: I was wrong en pl 62 12.02.2012Anonymous vs Corponymous en pl 61 10.02.2012To have a cookie and dowload it too en pl 60 19.01.2012About ACTA at Polish PM Chancellery en pl 59 19.01.2012Free as in United en pl 58 16.01.2012Towarzystwo czuje się oszukane pl 57 10.01.2012Terms of Using the Service en pl 56 05.01.2012Corporate lack of patriotism en pl 55 04.01.2012Terroristcopters en pl 54 03.01.2012IceWeasel and Privacy en pl 53 28.12.2011Good Uncle Stal... Putin en pl 52 25.12.2011Useful Bash defaults done right en 51 21.12.2011Google Mail, or how mail becomes publication en pl 50 20.12.2011Occupy Gotham en pl 49 11.12.2011Copyfraud en pl 48 08.12.2011Multikino Wikipedia FAIL pl 47 27.11.2011Nie miejsce na pl 46 18.11.2011One-way cutting en pl 45 12.11.2011Tolerancja dla Kościoła pl 44 11.11.2011Users and Citizens en pl 43 30.10.2011Adhocracy and Net4Change en pl 42 18.10.2011War on Fun en pl 41 16.10.2011Boli mnie w krzyżu pl 40 14.10.2011Technocomplacency en pl 39 10.10.2011I Can Haz? pl 37 09.10.2011Election Silence in Poland en pl 38 03.10.2011Kibice i kampania pl 36 02.10.2011E-textbooks, Johnny Mnemonic, business and the Net en pl 35 19.09.2011CC Global Streaming/Summit/Party pl 33 19.09.2011Czy jest coś takiego jak darmowe śniadanie? pl 34 12.09.2011Faktycznie Super pl 32 12.09.2011Diaspora-Based Comment System en 31 11.09.2011Conflict of values en pl 30 06.09.2011Wolność słowa to nie wolność od myślenia ani od krytyki pl 29 06.09.2011On-line privacy and anonymity: case in point en pl 28 04.09.2011On being careful with words en pl 27 03.09.2011W obronie QR Code pl 26 31.08.2011Stolica Nie Tak Święta pl 25 29.08.2011Of malware, hot steam, privacy, using one's brain and paedoparanoia en 24 29.08.2011Kragen Thinking Out Loud en pl 23 18.08.2011Ból, blizny, dziewczyny i wiosła pl 22 07.08.2011Worst. Woodstock. Ever! pl 21 27.07.2011Willpower, productivity and cycling en pl 20 19.07.2011Neo FreeRunner as a WiFi Soundcard en 19 10.07.2011A Weekend with lawyers en pl 18 09.07.2011One step closer to ideal en pl 17 04.07.2011Apostasy in Poland en pl 16 28.06.2011YAFR (Yet Another Facebook Rant) en pl 15 19.06.2011Wiara w priorytety pl 14 17.06.2011Important meetings, fun meetings en pl 13 13.06.2011Ooops I en pl 12 30.05.2011Playing with Node.js en pl 11 25.05.2011Mozilla, Google and the Location Bar en pl 10 24.05.2011At Sector 3.0 conf en pl 9 23.05.2011Layout, CSS and RSS/Atom en pl 8 15.05.2011Startup Weekend Network Fun Fun Fun en 7 11.05.2011Nowy szef Bramy pl 6 10.05.2011World's Smallest Open Source Violin en pl 5 10.05.2011Po kolejnym spotkaniu w KPRM pl 4 08.05.2011Inspiracja na niedzielę pl 3 08.05.2011I horizontally the whole blog is that serious pl 2 07.05.2011I can has brag en pl 1

A link cannot be illegal

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For some time now there are ideas — even in Poland — to criminalize mere linking to copyright infringing materials on the Internet. This idea was also floated recently on the 5th Copyright Forum, by Polish copyright collectives like ZAiKS, and by a private company.

It's not even the level of absurdity that gets me with ideas like that — it's the fact that some people are apparently able to maintain a straight face while proposing it. It's hard to be sure whether it's a result to ignorance of some very basic concepts (not even regarding electronic communications — but human communication itself), or a conscious attempt at solving "the Internet problem".

Anyway, let's go from the top.

Internet hyperlinks fulfil the same role as bibliographic information: they merely inform where a given referenced content resides, without transmitting nor copying any of it in and of themselves. Link itself does not and cannot infringe upon anybody's rights — it's just information about where to look for a given content.

That means that a link is also useful information for those trying to combat copyright infringing materials. Thanks to links it's easier to find content published without proper authorization in order to remove it from the Internet — of course in accordance with due process of law. Why do organisations that claim to work in authors' interests try to deny themselves such a useful tool?..

Crucially, a person linking to some content has no way of ascertaining the legal status of that content. Even lawyers often have problems with that, due to copyright law's Byzantine level of complication. Why would it be okay, then, to require such knowledge and insight from any person linking any content on the Internet?.. By the way, I wonder if every single link on ZAiKS website is "legal"...

Interesting, also, is what should the sanctions be for such a heinous crime? Should we expect a Police raid and extradition for a simple act of linking some content on our website?

And what about links to websites with such links? If a website containing "illegal links" would be itself illegal, linking to it would also be illegal, right? And how about links to websites that link to such websites? And so on... We can either stop it at the only sane place — the very beginning — by saying "links can't be illegal", or it's turtles all the way down.

Regardless of possible sanctions, making linking potentially illegal would make Internet users afraid of linking. The very core functionality of the World Wide Web would suddenly become a minefield. The effects would not be very different from Iran's "halal Internet" — with the small difference that purposeful censorship would be replaced with self-censorship. Maybe that's the real aim of this proposal?

Proponents of this "solution" claim it is necessary due to ineffectiveness of notice and take down procedures of removing infringing materials. People that employ themselves with intentional commercial copyright infringement can, after all, change addresses and domain names very easily, and very fast. They can register their website or company abroad, making enforcement harder.

For some reason proponents of making linking illegal seem to think that warez-sites (which are the direct target of this proposal) operators can't do the same thing with link farms as they do with their file hosting. Trying to enforce removal of "illegal" links will face the very same problems enforcement of notice and take down procedures face, and will be similarly ineffective.

It will, however, have one tangible effect: people registering and hosting perfectly legal websites in Poland will be afraid to link to anything — how can they be sure it's not illegal?..

That's still not everything, though! Obviously, searching for "infringing links" and sending out take down notices would have to be automated, just as infringing materials are often searched for and handled automatically. Such algorithms make mistakes, leading to removal of perfectly legal content.

For big players that might not seem to be a problem, but small music producers or individual artists — especially those publishing their works under libre licenses — will be severely disadvantaged, due to incomparably fewer resources at their disposal for demanding restoring of their incorrectly removed/blocked content. Considering that for such artists their freely available content might be an important element of their business model, for example helping build their fan base, such removal/blocking of content can cause real financial losses. Would copyright collectives fight for the rights of libre artists in such a situation?..

The same problem that is so clearly visible with notice and take down at the source will only be amplified if some links would be "illegal". If (as with notice and take down) there are no sanctions for unfounded removal of a non-infringing link, service providers, hosting operators, etc, will prefer to be "rather safe than sorry" and remove everything that gets a notice. Links to libre-licensed content will get removed, and artists publishing them will inevitably suffer concrete financial and non-financial losses.


I do think, sometimes, that maybe such absurd ideas should be supported, as their introduction would help push people out of walled gardens and into decentralised, encrypted networks and tools like RetroShare, TOR or FreeNet.

Tools that would be much more effective in combating censorship and surveillance of their users.

Update

The Court of Justice of the European Union has just ruled on a case with linking as the central issue — the verdict: linking is not illegal.

Now, this does not cover the exact case discussed here (linking to a material that is published illegally), but is nonetheless an extremely important outbreak of common sense.