And lo’ they shared the files, and ’twas good. Anti-piracy efforts may soon be labeled as religious persecution as the Swedish government has apparently recognized file sharing as an official religion.
Meet Philosophy student Isak Gerson, who is the mind behind the Church of Kopimism. Gerson founded the Missionary Church of Kopimism in 2010, and filed a request with authorities to officially accept his belief system in order for Kopimism to avoid persecution.
It took three request over the past year to finally convince the Administrative Services Agency to recognize the church. According to Torrent Freak, after the first two attempts, the Church was asked to formalize its way of prayer in order to be recognized.
Kopimism roughly translates to ‘copy me’. The tenets are simple: Control-C and Control-V are sacred symbols. Kopimists believe that the copying and sharing of information is ethically right, and knowledge should not be hoarded. Information’s value increases as it is shared. Remixing content is a sacred kind of copying the Church terms ‘Remix Spirit’.
The religion has a priest class called the Oparnas, who exemplify Kopimist virtues and assist others to follow the Kopimist path. Those that wish to become part of the Kopimist faith must undergo a rite of disclosing their personal data to the organization, profess faith in information and copying and download the logo from the site.
Currently, the Church has around 3,000 official members, tripling from 1,000 in the last half of the year. Though the Swedish state has recognized Kopimism, copyright infringement is still not legally permitted. Isak Gerson said in an interview, “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.”