Holy Communion. Reciting Kiddush. CTRL+V?
In Sweden, all three rituals are regarded as legitimate expressions of religion, now that the Church of Kopimism has been formally recognized by the Swedish government.
The Church of Kopimism is founded on the belief that “kopyacting” – sharing information through copying – is akin to a religious service. As 19-year-old founder Isak Gerson explained,
“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 organization and its members.”
In fact, the church recognizes two symbols as sacred: CTRL+C and CTRL+V – shortcuts for copy and paste.
Although Gerson hopes that file-sharing will be granted religious protection as a result of the Church’s status as a formally recognized religion, experts are skeptical.
The BBC spoke with music analyst Mark Mulligan, who said the establishment of the church would likely have little effect on the global crackdown on piracy.
“[The government’s recognition of the church] doesn’t mean that illegal file-sharing will become legal, any more than if ‘Jedi’ was recognized as a religion everyone would be walking around with light sabres,” he said.
But Gerson is hopeful.
“Being recognized by the state of Sweden is a large step for all of Kopimi,” he said in a statement. “Hopefully this is one step towards the day when we can live out our faith without fear of persecution.”
Truth, justice, and the Swedish way?