With CTRL+C and CTRL+V as its sacred symbols, a group of file-sharers in Sweden has managed to get the government to recognize it as a religious community.
The Church of Kopimism, developed from the Young Pirates -- a young movement of the Swedish Pirate Party that champions the free flow of information online -- received approval to be recognized as a religion in late December, but the government agency was closed for the day and couldn't be reached to confirm that.
Founded by philosophy student, Isak Gerson, 20, in 2010, the Church of Kopimism has roughly 3,000 members that meet every week to share files of music, films and other content they consider holy and regard copying as a sacrament, The Associated Press reported.
Gerson said he applied for recognition with the argument that beliefs shared by those who share files online have the making of religious beliefs; his request was twice denied -- the church was asked to formalize its way of praying or meditation -- before the Swedish government relented.
Nonetheless, sharing copyrighted material remains a crime under Swedish law.
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 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. (Kopimi means copy me.)
Sweden's government defines such communities as ones that conduct religious activities and services, entitling them to apply for state funding and the right to marry couples.
To join requires no formal membership, the group says. 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.