The Church of Kopimism, the new religion devoted to file-sharing, has been officially recognized in Sweden.
Started by Isak Gerson, a 20-year-old philosophy student at Uppsala University in Sweden, together with Gustav Nipe, a member of Sweden’s Pirate party, and others, the Church of Kopimism is founded on the principles that information is holy and so is the act of copying and sharing information.
This belief in the open distribution of information is what led the Church of Kopimism to seek religion status rather than mere organization status. The group began about a year and a half ago, and after three tries to become recognized by Sweden, they finally succeeded.
As with any religion, they have meetings for their members, but they are held in cyberspace on a particular server or website. As a requirement to be recognized as an official religion in Sweden, prayer or meditation rituals must be practiced, so Kopimists worship the value of information by copying it as part of their ritual. They also view Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V as sacred symbols (‘copy’ and ‘paste’ commands), along with their Kopimi logo, which is a K inside a pyramid.
No formal membership is required to be a part of the church. All that is needed is a belief in the fact that information was meant to be shared. There are currently around 3,000 members.
The idea of free file sharing is nothing new. There are plenty of information programs such as Wikipedia or Ackuna which give their services for free. However, plenty of companies still maintain that copyright laws be upheld, even in the digital age where file sharing has become easier than ever. Most notably the music and movie industry have crusaded against the illegal file sharing of their products, but it seems to be a losing battle.
Many believe that the archaic copyright laws should be revised to reflect the current culture. In what way though remains to be determined. Perhaps the church of Kopimism is not as strange as it seems. When the persecution of ideas or beliefs in a society by the ruling majority become overbearing, historically, groups have turned to religion to be their saving grace. By getting protection under the law as a religious entity, perhaps the Kopimists will issue in a reformed era of free and open file sharing.
Yes, this is the age we live in.
To read an interview with founder, Isak Gerson, click here