File-Sharers Denied Official Religion Status in Sweden

Since 2010 a group of self-confessed pirates have attempted to get their newly-founded religion accepted by the authorities. The Church of Kopimism, which currently has close to 1,000 members, hope that official recognition of their values would make them immune from prosecution. However, the Swedish authorities have denied the request for the second time in succession.

All around the world file-sharers are being chased by anti-piracy outfits and the authorities, and the situation in Sweden is no different. While copyright holders are often quick to label file-sharers as pirates, there is a large group of people who actually consider copying to be a sacred act.

Philosophy student Isak Gerson is such a religious file-sharer, and in an attempt to protect this unique belief system he founded The Missionary Church of Kopimism last year. In the hope that they could help prevent persecution for their beliefs, the church then filed a request to be officially accepted by the authorities.

In practice this was easier said than done.

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“The application was rejected in early April this year,” Isak Gerson told TorrentFreak. “It was rejected because Swedish law requires a religious communion to have a formalized way of praying or meditation. Our formalized traditions were specified at the time.”

Despite this early setback, the Missionary Church of Kopimism wasn’t going to give up. For a church that holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols, filing a new application wasn’t too hard. This time, however, they formalized their official rituals, including meditation over shared information and the act of copying.

In the months that followed the Church of Kopimism grew to nearly 1000 members, who all prayed that their religion would be accepted by the Swedish authorities. This week, however, more bad news arrived informing the group that once again they had been denied the right to start a church in Sweden.

“This time, we can’t really see any real reason for our denial. We adjusted our application just the way the Swedish authorities needed, and they still denied us the right to form a church,” founder Isak Gerson told us.

Gerson further told TorrentFreak that they are not sure whether they want to continue with their quest to be officially recognized by the authorities. Nevertheless, even without this official status the church and its members will continue to practice their sacred beliefs.

“One thing is certain though. We will continue meeting, believing in copying, deepen our faith and church, and fight politically for a world where copying is not only accepted by encouraged. We know that this is not only our dream and cause, but our calling,” Gerson concluded.

Prospective followers who embrace the same calling are of course still welcome to join the movement.

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