Kopimism – a belief in the sacred right to share files – has been recognized as an official religion in Sweden, at the end of last year.
“Information is holy and copying is a sacrament. Information holds a value, in itself and in what it contains, and the value multiplies through copying. Therefore, copying is central for the organisation and its members.” This is how Kopimism is described on the official website of the Missionary Church of Kopimism. Apparently, ever since 2010, a groups of self-confessed file-sharing pirates have been trying to get file sharing recognized as an official religion. After having their claim denied several times, they’ve finally seen their dream fulfilled in late December 2011, when Kompimism was officially acknowledged as a legal religion. The Church hopes its new sacred status will remove the legal stigma associated with file sharing.
“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 Gerson, founder of the Missionary Church of Kopimism, told 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.” This doesn’t by any means make copyright infringement legal, but Kopimism followers hope their beliefs will now be taken into consideration by lawmakers.
The Church of Kopimism, which holds “CTRL+C” and “CTRL+V” as sacred symbols, has tripled the number of members in the last half year, going from 1,000 to 3,000. And it’s expected the recent news surrounding SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) will cause an even bigger surge in members. “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 says.