The Church of Kopimism (Det Missionerande Kopimistsamfundet) has been approved as a religion by the Swedish agency Kammarkollegiet. Central to the organization, which has about 3,000 followers in a dozen countries, is the principle that file sharing is holy.

This is the press release from the Church of Kopimism:

The Church of Kopimism is recognized by the state of Sweden

Just before Christmas, the Swedish governmental agency Kammarkollegiet registered the Church of Kopimism as a religious organisation. This means that Sweden is the first country to recognize kopimism as a religion.

The Church of Kopimism have tried to become registered as a religious organisation by Kammarkollegiet for more than a year.

– Since Kammarkollegiet has been strict with formalities, we had to apply three times, a happy Gustav Nipe – board chairman for the organisation – says. He continues, I think it might have something to do with the governmental organisations abiding by a very copyright friendly attitude, with a twisted view on copying.

For the Church of Kopimism, 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.

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, says Isak Gerson, spiritual leader of the Church of Kopimism.

The Church of Kopimism is a religious organisation with roots from 2010. The organisation 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 eachother through copying and remix.

Copy and seed.

The name of the organization (Kopimi) comes from the English “copy me” and they base their “religion” on the following principles:

  • Copying of information is ethically correct
  • Dissemination of information is ethically correct
  • Remixing is a holier form of copying than the perfect digital copy, since remixing is cross-copying a diversity of information
  • To copy and remix the information communicated by another person is seen as an expression of respect, acceptance and kopimistisk faith
  • Internet is sacred
  • Code is law

File sharing often means copying of copyrighted material, and this has been prosecuted over the world. It remains to see if file sharing services like The Pirate Bay can claim religious persecution and escape punishment in the Swedish legal system.

 

(via IDG News, Dagens IT)