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Kopimism file sharing religion sweden 05 01 2012Enlarge
Don't disturb them, they're praying. (Adam Berry/Getty Images)

File-sharers of the world, rejoice! For you just found religion.

Sweden has become the first country in the world to recognize Kopimism – a belief in the sacred right to file-share – as an official religion.

More from GlobalPost: Has the internet become an interest group?

According to the Missionary Church of Kopimism website, the movement won the right to religious status in late December, after three applications to the Swedish government.

The Church describes its beliefs as follows:

"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."

For kopimi, the Church says, file-sharing is a form of religious service, called "kopyacting," while CTRL+C and CTRL+V are sacred symbols.

Kopimism's "spiritual leader," philosophy student Isak Gerson, told TorrentFreak that official recognition would help stop society dismissing the file-sharing faithful as common thieves:

"I think that more people will have the courage to step out as Kopimists. Maybe not in the public, but at least to their close ones. There’s still a legal stigma around copying for many. A lot of people still worry about going to jail when copying and remixing. I hope in the name of Kopimi that this will change."

What Gerson calls the "legal stigma" – or less euphemistically, the law making the unrestricted distribution of copyrighted material a criminal offence – is still very much in place, however. As music analyst Mark Mulligan told the BBC, the recognition does not entitle file-sharers to legal immunity:

"It doesn't mean that illegal file-sharing will become legal, any more than if 'Jedi' was recognised as a religion everyone would be walking around with light sabres."

The Church of Kopimi currently has around 3,000 members and counting, Gerson told The Local. New worshippers are welcome. In Gerson's words:

"To everyone with an internet connection: Keep copying. Maintain hardline Kopimi."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/kopimism-file-sharing-religion-sweden

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