Kopimism Piracy Group Granted Religious Status in Sweden
Well, I suppose if the Scientologists could make a science fiction author their spiritual leader and be granted religious status in America, it wouldn't be long before others would go through the same hoops and form alternate (and equally bizarre) churches. According to... um, just about every tech news outlet on the Internet... a new "church" has finally succeeded in its efforts to be officially deemed a religion in Sweden of all places. Both an official press release and a news article on Torrent Freak are saying that a group started by philosophy student Isak Gerson has formed an officially sanctioned religion with one core belief: it's okay to copy information, in any form.
As is the way of government, they found grounds to deny two prior applications, however that typically just gives clear instructions on exactly how to circumvent the system... and in this case it did exactly that. Formerly, the religion's "adherents" hadn't defined and initiated enough formal rituals to be considered a church. Now they apparently satisfied the rule of law, having read the Swedish constitution, which apparently (more or less) broadly defines religion as "a belief system with rituals". According to Isak Gerson:
"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."
Sweden has long been the home of many refugees in the fight to circumvent copyright and filesharing laws. It's not entirely surprising that this type of development would happen there.
But it's still absolutely ridiculous.
According to the Kopimism website, which is written in English, their concluding "statement of faith" reads as follows:
"We challenge all copyright believers – most of which have a great deal of influence in politics, and who derive their power by limiting people's lives and freedom. What they most of all want to limit the knowledge. We need to steel ourselves for their hatred and aggression."
The "Missionary Church of Kopimism" (yes we'll continue to put that into quotes ad infinitum just as we would the "church" of Scientology) states that it has 3,000 members. I'm sure that number will grow - unless of course you have any sort of mandatory tithe in order to join...