I wasn’t sure whether to feel patriotic or embarrassed at the news: Sweden has officially recognized file-sharing as a religion. No this is not a joke. The basic idea doctrine of the church is that it is right to file-share. The church’s website states that “information is holy and copying is a sacrament”. Some other out-there language (complete with awkward Swedish-to-English translation): “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.”
Why did it have to be Sweden?!! Not that I am overly protective of my native land but we have enough weird stereotyping going on already: Burly mountain men, naively goofy blonds, female volleyball teams… Why did WE have to be the ones with the fake religion announcement??
Of course there are the concerns about piracy that come up with an announcement like this. “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.” Gerson hopes that file-sharing will now be given religious protection. If it achieves this status it will be harder to crack down on piracy.
But here’s the bigger question: How much does this water down the idea of the need for religious freedom and protection? If you can seek religious protection for downright ridiculous causes (apologies to my file-sharing enthusiast friends), what is to stop society from saying enough is enough and drastically cutting down on religious freedoms and protections?
The language of the church appeals to the religious cynic: “The church, which holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V (shortcuts for copy and paste) as sacred symbols, does not directly promote illegal file sharing, focusing instead on the open distribution of knowledge to all”. Yes, anything can be declared sacred, anything can be made holy. Apple should get right behind this and make their logo sacred… enough people treat it as such anyway.
Sweden is famously secular, downright hedonistic and revels in neopaganism. Hopefully Kopimism will quickly be relegated to the weird corner occupied by offshoot sects and political parties. Until then, remember to show a little more reverence when you copy and paste.