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Pirate religion denied official status in Sweden

For many of us, media consumption is basically a religion. We don't leave the house without a book, a game or a video -- we have all of these things on our phones and our laptops and we attempt to make sure we don't go a single second of the day without being entertained. For The Church of Kopimism, the piracy and file sharing of this same media is also a religion, but it turns out even Sweden won't recognize it officially.

Since 2010, The Church of Kopimism has been lobbying for recognition in hopes its piracy values would make its members immune from prosecution. Founded by Isak Gerson, the church views piracy and file-sharing as a sacred act.

The church's application was denied initially because it didn't list its set of practices, rules, prayers or sacred symbols, but the church quickly reapplied after conferring with its more than 1,000 members. It was denied yet again for unknown reasons.

The roots of the religion aren't as crazy as you'd think. They believe in four essential rules:

  • All knowledge to all.
  • The search for knowledge is sacred.
  • The circulation of knowledge is sacred.
  • The act of copying is sacred.

What this boils down to is that all people should have free access to everything produced. The church holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V as divine, believes copying, remixing and manipulating source material is a right and, perhaps most importantly, believes all information should be free regardless of ownership or production.

Of course, all good religions need an enemy, which is why The Church of Kopimism also created one: Copyright Religion. They believe "Copyright Believers" are oppressing them and their beliefs and holding knowledge hostage.

It's unclear exactly why their request was denied, but if history is any indication, the group will keep on trying. If they need a little help convincing the state to accept their beliefs, we might offer up the idea Jesus is a well-known advocate for copying and sharing. Those loaves of bread had to come from somewhere, right?

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