Church Of Kopimism: The New File Sharing Religion (updated) With file sharers all over the world being hunted by copyright holders and aided by the governments they lobby, there's now a new angle to this fight: file sharers turn their hobby into a religion. Since 2010, a group of self-confessed Swedish 'pirates' have tried to have their beliefs recognized as an official religion, but were denied several times. However, just before Christmas, they have finally succeeded in convincing the authorities that the Church Of Kopimism is a real, genuine bona fide religion. How they exactly achieved this isn’t clear, however. The Missionary Church of Kopimism was founded by philosophy student Isak Gerson, who is one of a large group of Swedes that believe file copying to be a sacred act. Gerson is ecstatic at this development and hopes more people will now feel able to come out as 'Kopimists'. Gerson explained to TorrentFreak, "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." Of course, although the church now has formal status, just as with any other religion, the laws of the land still override the religion's dogma, which means that copyright infringement is still not permitted. However, Gerson hopes that their beliefs will be considered when drafting future laws. However, he might have a long wait, because dollars talk louder than beliefs. What's especially surprising about this new religion though, are the number of members that belong to it. In just the last six months, their membership has swelled from 1000 to 3000 members, so it's reasonable to believe that this news will cause another surge in membership. Regardless of whether someone is a member or not (membership is free) Gerson urges everyone to keep right on file sharing: "We confessional Kopimists have not only depended on each other in this struggle, but on everyone who is copying information. To everyone with an internet connection: Keep copying. Maintain hardline Kopimi." It remains to be seen how long this religion lasts, whether it spreads to other countries and how much effect this will have in drafting copy-friendly laws in Sweden and elsewhere. The church has issued the following press release: Just before Christmas, the Swedish governmental agency Kammarkollegiet registered the Church of Kopimism as a religious organisation. This means that Sweden is the first country to recognize kopimism as a religion. The Church of Kopimism have tried to become registered as a religious organisation by Kammarkollegiet for more than a year. - Since Kammarkollegiet has been strict with formalities, we had to apply three times, a happy Gustav Nipe - board chairman for the organisation - says. He continues, I think it might have something to do with the governmental organisations abiding by a very copyright friendly attitude, with a twisted view on copying. 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 organisation and its members. Being recognized by the state of Sweden is a large step for all of kopimi. Hopefully, this is one step towards the day when we can live out our faith without fear of persecution, says Isak Gerson, spiritual leader of the Church of Kopimism. The Church of Kopimism is a religious organisation with roots from 2010. The organisation formalizes a community that's been well spread for a long time already. The community of kopimi requires no formal membership. You just have to feel a calling to worship what is the holiest of the holiest, information and copy. To do this, we organize kopyactings - religious services - where the kopimists share information with eachother through copying and remix. Copy and seed. UPDATE New Scientist now have an interesting interview with Isak Gerson about Kopimism.