The Church of Kopimism, a new faith focused on file-sharing, has been officially recognized as a religion by the Swedish government. The church developed from the Young Pirates, a young movement of the Pirate Party in Sweden, who have pushed for the free flow of information online.
The Kopimists’ previous attempts to be acknowledged as a religion have failed, despite missionary director Isak Gerson following Sweden’s Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency’s applications to the letter. Swedish citizens were given the ability to register a faith when the Swedish church and state were separated in 2000. The Swedish government does not need to approve the beliefs of a church to acknowledge its existence.
“Now we will focus on performing our religious practices and to maintain good contact with our members,” Gerson told The Local yesterday. The Church of Kopimism claims to have around 3,000 followers, and Gerson told The Local that there has been a significant increase in followers since the official acknowledgement.
The Church takes its name from an online movement in which a Kopimi logo – phonetically, “copy me” – can be placed on a website if the site runner is willing to have their information copied and shared by others. “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,” Gerson he told website torrentfreak.com.