Sweden Has Official New Religion: File Sharing

Believers join Missionary Church of Kopimism

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 5, 2012 5:16 PM CST | Updated Jan 5, 2012 5:33 PM CST

(Newser) – Sweden may not condone file-sharing—it's still illegal—but the country is officially OK with belief in the practice. Some 3,000 passionate file-sharers have gotten their beliefs recognized as an official religion. The Missionary Church of Kopimism—as in, "copy-me-ism"—has sought official status in Sweden since 2010, and it's finally won the battle, TorrentFreak reports. The decision follows a pair of rejections; authorities wanted Kopimism to define its prayer practices.

"Our main ritual is the act of copying and connecting with each other by sharing information," the church's founder tells Wired. Now, Isak Gerson says, "more people will have the courage to step out as Kopimists. Maybe not in the public, but at least to their close ones." He hopes that the recognition will have an effect on future legislation surrounding file-sharing. Meanwhile, he has some advice for fellow believers: "Keep copying. Maintain hardline Kopimi."

One of the servers of Swedish file-sharing website Pirate Bay is seen exhibited at the Technical Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, April 16, 2009.
One of the servers of Swedish file-sharing website Pirate Bay is seen exhibited at the Technical Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, April 16, 2009.   (AP Photo/Jessica Gow, SCANPIX)
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