A sect of self-proclaimed digital pirates, which believes information is holy and copying is a sacrament, has been recognized as an official religion in Sweden.
The Missionary Church of Kopimism, which holds the computer commands CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols, petitioned the Swedish government, in 2010, to have their church officially recognized as a religion. The Church of Kopimism, which derives its name from the phrase copy me, has about 3,000 followers known as Kopimists.
Kopimists hope the elevated status of their Church will help remove the legal stigma surrounding file-sharing on the Internet.
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, a student and the spiritual leader of the Church of Kopimism, was quoted as saying by file-sharing news site 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, he said.
Being recognized by the state of Sweden is a large step for all of kopimi. Hopefully, this is one step towards the day when we can live out our faith without fear of persecution, a press release from the Church of Kopimism said.
The Church of Kopimism is a religious organization with roots from 2010. The organization formalizes a community that's been well spread for a long time already. The community of Kopimi requires no formal membership. You just have to feel a calling to worship what is the holiest of the holiest, information and copy. To do this, we organize Kopyactings - religious services - where the Kopimists share information with each other through copying and remix, the church said in a statement, followed by their favorite slogan: Copy and seed.
Even though the Church of Kopimism has become a religion, unauthorized file-sharing and infringement on copyrights remain illegal in Sweden. The Swedish constitution, government policy and practice, however, support free practice of religion, which could be the reason why the Church of Kopimism has been recognized as a religion.
Sweden also hosts several illegal file-sharing sites including The Pirate Bay described as one of the world's largest facilitators of illegal downloading and the most visible member of a burgeoning international anti-copyright or pro-piracy movement.