The publisher of histmag.org website requested its users to donate money via PayPal or similar services, in order to raise funds for the functioning of this history site. An anonymous user made a complaint to the former Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, now Ministry of Interior, claiming that this action constituted an illegal public money collection, which is prohibited according to the provisions of Article 56 § 1 of the Polish Code of Offences – PCO – (in Polish: Kodeks wykroczeń) of 20 May 1971, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 1971 No 12, item 114, with subsequent amendments.
Whoever, without the required permit or in violation of its conditions, organizes, or holds a public collection of donations, shall be subject to a fine.
According to the Polish Act of 5 March 1933 on Public Collections, any public collections of donations in cash or in kind, for a pre-determined goal, requires prior authorization from the authority. This permit should be granted as an administrative decision. The Regional Court in Kraków in its warrant ruling found the publisher guilty. The publisher filed objections to this judgment.
The Regional Court for Kraków-Podgórze in Kraków, Wydział XI Karny in its judgment of 6 February 2012 case file XI W 1497/11/P acquitted the publisher of any charges. The court ruled that the public collection was conducted by receiving direct wire transfers or via PayPal. The provisions of the PCO and the definition of public collection included in the Act on Public Collections refers to public collections of cash or in kind, and are not applicable to electronic transfers.