Sharing Recognized as Official Religion in Sweden
Since 2010 a group of self-confessed pirates have tried to get their beliefs recognized as an official religion in Sweden. After their request was denied several times, the Church of Kopimism – which holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols – is now approved by the authorities as an official religion. The Church hopes that its official status will remove the legal stigma that surrounds file-sharing.
All around the world file-sharers are being chased by anti-piracy outfits and the authorities, and the situation in Sweden is no different. While copyright holders are often quick to label file-sharers as pirates, there is a large group of people who actually consider copying to be a sacred act.
Philosophy student Isak Gerson is such a religious file-sharer, and in an attempt to protect his unique belief system he founded The Missionary Church of Kopimism in 2010. In the hope that they could help prevent persecution for their beliefs, the Church then filed a request to be officially accepted by the authorities.
After two failed attempts, where the Church was asked to formalize its way of praying or meditation, the authorities finally recognized the organization as an official religion. The Church’s founder is ecstatic about this news, and hopes that it will motivate more people to come forward as ‘Kopimists’.
“I think that more people will have the courage to step out as Kopimists. Maybe not in the public, but at least to their close ones,” Isak tells TorrentFreak. “There’s still a legal stigma around copying for many. A lot of people still worry about going to jail when copying and remixing. I hope in the name of Kopimi that this will change.”
Although the formal status of the Church doesn’t mean that copyright infringement is now permitted, the Church’s founder hopes that their beliefs will be considered in future lawmaking.
During the last half year the Missionary Church of Kopimism tripled its members from 1,000 to 3,000 and it’s expected that the recent news will cause another surge in followers. Official member or not, Gerson encourages everyone with an Internet connection to keep on sharing.
“We confessional Kopimists have not only depended on each other in this struggle, but on everyone who is copying information. To everyone with an internet connection: Keep copying. Maintain hardline Kopimi,” Gerson concludes.
Prospective followers who embrace the same calling are of course welcome to join the movement, free of charge.