Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Church of file-sharers becomes newest official Swedish religion

Sweden has a new officially recognized religion, and it's the Missionary Church of Kopimism, which has been finally been successful, after trying to gain recognition since 2010. What's different about the religion is that the congregation is a group of file sharers who hold that "copying information is a sacred virtue."

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The religions followers are called Kopimists from "copy me." Kopimists hold CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols, and prior to their recognition as an official religion, Sweden had characterized Kopimism as a sect.

After failing twice before, authorities finally recognized the organization as an official religion when the Church of Kopimism formalized its method of "praying or meditation." The Church’s founder, Philosophy student Isak Gerson and hopes that the Church's validation will "increase church attendance," so to speak.

"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 said. "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 [copy me] that this will change."

Recognition of the religion doesn't mean that copyright infringement is now legal, by the way.

During the past six months the Missionary Church of Kopimism has seen its membership triple, from 1,000 to 3,000. While it's hoped membership will spike with new recognition, no matter what, Gerson encourages both followers and non-followers to continue file-sharing.

He said, "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."

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