Just before Christmas the Swedish government agency Kammarkollegiet registered the Church of Kopimism as a religious organization within their country. Kopimism, founded by 19-year-old philosophy student Isak Gerson, claims that “kopyacting” – sharing information through copying – is akin to a religious service.
Gerson, in a statement quoted in a January 5, 2012 BBC article says, “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.”
The BBC article goes on to state, “The church, which holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V (shortcuts for copy and paste) as sacred symbols, does not directly promote illegal file sharing, focusing instead on the open distribution of knowledge to all,” But that, “Despite the new-found interest in the organisation, experts said religious status for file-sharing would have little effect on the global crackdown on piracy.”
I’m always intrigued by the idea of new religions and this one is certainly a good time. I’m not sure how I feel about the BBC applying quotes to the title of spiritual leader when referencing Isak Gerson, I mean the story is how the religion was officially recognized. On the other hand, I love how the BBC keeps thumbing their noses at Myanmar by calling them Burma, so can I get too bent out of shape when they get cheeky with a month old religion?
A trip to the Swedish website reveals a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. And a lot of stuff I can’t read! However a healthy chunk of the content is in English, and there is a link to a just starting out site for the United States. Although keep in mind that Kopimism is only officially recognized as a religion in Sweden.
Of course what you’re really asking yourself is, can Kopimism be a “real” religion? A religious philosophy founded on the idea that information intrinsically has value and that copying the information is an important task, increasing the value of the information and insuring the information’s survival in the vastness of the internet? There are certainly stranger things out there, we’ve got deities made out of pasta for His Noodly Appendaged sake!
Is it “real”? Is it teenage idealism? Is it a hustle? Only time will tell, that’s why it’s so much fun.