File-sharing an official religion, in Sweden

January 4, 2012

Sweden is either a forward-thinking country or a country where any crackpot can get a new religion officially recognized. It all depends on your point of view.

Anyone can start a religion, if they can persuade enough people to join them, follow them, and listen to everything they have to say. A religion can have absolutely anything as its central tenet, not necessarily a belief in an omnipresent being. Like, for instance, file-sharing. That is that file-sharing is not a bad or evil thing, but that it’s a way of life for some.

Which is exactly what a philosophy student by the name of Isak Gerson has done. According to TorrentFreak, Gerson the Missionary Church of Kopimism in 2010. This belief system holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V up as sacred symbols, and wants to see file-sharing lose the stigma currently attached to it.

Gerson has twice previously tried and failed to gain official religion status for the Church of Kopimism in Sweden. But after jumping through several hoops he has now succeeded. Which means in Sweden file-sharing is now a religion. Gerson hopes this will encourage more people to file-share and to admit they partake in the act, saying:

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. 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’ is Swedish for ‘Copy Me’, and Gerson wants people to “Keep copying. Maintain hardline Kopimi.”

This obviously makes no difference to the legal status of file-sharing itself. It’s still classed as nothing more than piracy by authorities around the world, and anyone caught partaking can still be heavily fined for doing so. But I guess now you could argue you’re only doing it in order to practice your religion, which will surely blow the minds of some European Union lawyers looking to keep everything in check.

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