Copyright laws protect information in the digital universe, though content owners continue to fight against what they see as ongoing and persistent piracy. They are getting no help from the Swedish government.
The government of Sweden has now formally recognized copying content and file-sharing as a religion. The Church of Kopimism reports it received religious status late last month. That culminated a year-long effort that included three applications to the government.
“For the Church of Kopimism, information is holy and copying is a sacrament,” the church said in a statement. “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.”
According to the group's website, the Church of Kopimism is a religious organization with roots from 2010. Unlike most churches, the community of kopimi requires no formal membership. You just have to feel a calling to copy and paste. In fact, the keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste – Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V – are sacred symbols in the new religion.
Members say an example of the file-sharing religion is the Napster phenomenon of more than a decade ago. Napster was formed as a peer-to-peer file sharing site where consumers could upload and download mp3 audio files of songs. Millions of songs were downloaded for free before a horrified recording industry went to court to stop it. Napster has since morphed into a site where consumers may purchase music.
"Being recognized by the state of Sweden is a large step for all of kopimi,” said Isak Gerson, who is described as the spiritual leader of the Church of Kopimism. “Hopefully, this is one step towards the day when we can live out our faith without fear of persecution.”
Legal analysts say that's not very likely. In court, they say copyright laws are apt to prove more binding than religious freedom to copy and paste.