#Sweden: Church of file sharing now a recognized religion

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Image by murdelta via Flickr

A group of 3,000 Swedish file sharers have succeeded in getting their organisation, called the Church of Kopimism, recognised as a religion by the Swedish authorities.

The movement has been trying to gain official recognition for their beliefs in sharing and data copying since 2010. The church’s name comes from “Kopimi”, pronounced “copy me”. The organisation believes that communication and sharing is sacred and needs to be respected. They also think it is wrong to monitor and eavesdrop on people. The church has applied for official status a number of times and had its request denied, most recently in July 2011.

However, just before Christmas Kopimism was approved as an official religion (as opposed to a sect), although founder Isak Gerson and chairman Gustav Nipe only opened the letter containing the news yesterday. Before being approved by the National Judicial Board for Public Lands & Funds, the church was required to formalise its way of praying or meditation.

Founder and philosophy student Isak Gerson told Wired.co.uk: “Our main ritual is the act of copying and connecting with each other by sharing information.”

He added: “Just being recognised by the state of Sweden will help strengthen our identity.”

The new religious status doesn’t make file sharing legal for Kopimists — although there are a few exemptions from some laws for religions in Sweden — but Gerson hopes that their beliefs may be considered in future legislation. The next step for the organisation is, according to Gerson, to “develop our religious practice”.

Sweden recognises church of file sharing as a religion (Wired UK).

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