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File Sharing Approved As An Official Religion In Sweden

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After a year of bureaucratic struggles, the Missionary Church of Kopimism is now an official religion in Sweden, enjoying the constitutional protection of Freedom of Religion. Information is holy to the church, and copying its sacrament.

The Missionary Church of Kopimism is a religious institution founded by people with their roots in the youth wing Ung Pirat of the Swedish Pirate Party; people who believe that copying is not just right, but has a higher purpose in itself. Information is holy, and sharing and copying is a sacred act.

The missionary kopimistsamfundet is a religious group centered in Sweden who believe that copying and the sharing of information is the best and most beautiful that is.

The request for constitutional recognition as a religion was approved just before year’s end by the Kammarkollegiet authority in Sweden. The church has tried to get official recognition for more than a year.

In a press release in Swedish and English today, the chief missionary Isak Gerson is quoted as follows:

“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.

(Cue the sparks of confusion flying from all the ancien-regime monopolists in the copyright industry, as they realize that file sharing now enjoys Freedom-of-Religion protection, in 3… 2… 1…)

Followup article: Legal ramifications of file-sharing being religious worship

Other bloggers on the story: Anna Troberg, Christian Engström (MEP), Ernesto at TorrentFreak, Nicholas Miles, Deep Edition.

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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55

  1. 1

    Hi falkvinge,
    If you reload the page, there should be a statement in English too :-)

    Copy and seed,
    laxsill

  2. 2

    I like this. Either they will have to accept your rights or they will simply ban stupid exceptions based on religions. Huge win :-)

    Can you tell us a bit more about the process to be accepted as a religion in Sweden?

    • 2.1

      There’s not really that many exceptions in laws for religions in Sweden (which – in some cases, is pretty good).

      The process: You have to start an organization that practices instances of “prayer of meditation”, and that confesses to a religion. Then, you pay 50 euros and send in your papers. That’s the short version of it.

  3. 3

    Absolutely wonderful!
    If the government enforce information copying now, they are guilty of religious persecution. Wikipedia: “Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group”.

  4. […] hur den ganska oväntade krocken mellan upphovsrätt och religionsfrihet kommer att avlöpa. Poppa popcornen och gör er redo för en hejdundrande […]

  5. 4
    Ninja (@icanhazsake)

    Wow! Epic win! I have just converted myself to the Missionary Church of Kopimism. I suspect this will be one of the largest religions in the world =D

  6. 5
    equitaz

    Nice.. but it won’t last.. soon that law will be changed so this becomes impossible.. the big guys with the big money will make the politicians change it.. for we all know, where the money lies, there lies the power.. and it isn’t with a small, newly founded religious group I can promise you that,, hear my prophecy and know it will be true!

    • 5.1
      catch22

      Well, unfortunately they will then have to trash some religious freedoms I guess. It’s a win-win for people who are pro sharing and anti religion. And there are lots of ‘em in our beloved neighboring country Sweden.

      I only hope Finland would some day play the game by it’s rules also. Currently it feels like living in DDR.

    • 5.2
      ForskarGurra

      Giants with big money have fallen before. Guilds fell in the industrial era to the entrepreneurs of industrialism and their factories. The record business having fallen 50% from 2000 to 2010 is a great example of that thing repeating in our information revolution. Hopefully the transition will go even faster than the industrial revolution did.

      The internet is far too powerful for anyone to stop the opportunities it brings. Even the law is no match for the internet. Laws have political and geographical boundaries and physical restrictions. The internet does not.

  7. 6
    Jerker Montelius

    This woud open for sendig your “church tax” to The Missionary Church of Kopimism, woud in not?

  8. […] comme une religion » explique un communiqué de presse sur le site du mouvement. Selon le site Falkvinge, le Kopimism découlerait d’un mouvement issu du parti pirate suédois, le Pirat Ung. Cette […]

  9. […] Missionary Church of Kopimism has now been officially ratified as a religion in Sweden. I have in the past heard it accused of being a frivolous endeavour, but I […]

  10. 7

    This raises an interesting notion about the meaning of “freedom of religion” in a rapidly atheizing world. One would think that in a world where everyone were atheist or irreligious, freedom of religion would no longer be necessary. But then what would stop people from persecuting the vegans?

    Let alone the furries.

    • 7.1

      That’s an interesting question. After all, isn’t it only recently that even atheists have gotten much recognition at all (as at least a belief set, rather than a religion)? Perhaps we can transition to a world where rather than recognizing only the supernatural-centric religions, the deep human-centric beliefs take on a sort of “spirituality” and are recognized on the same level.

      Yeah, I know that’s optimistic.

      Still, this is at least a symbolic first step. And finally there is a religion I can have faith in!

      • 7.1.1
        flo

        “After all, isn’t it only recently that even atheists have gotten much recognition at all (as at least a belief set, rather than a religion)?”

        Not true! The tenets of secular humanism have been around since time immemorial.

        The scourge of monotheism is what’s recent.

        • I don’t mean that atheism itself hasn’t been around. I only meant that with an increase in the number of atheists and vocal atheist groups it has (in some places) become somewhat more acceptable to be one, or to speak up against religious intrusion (for example, prayer in schools or public buildings) than it was even twenty or thirty years ago. I see this as potentially a hopeful sign that other secular beliefs may be better accepted and accommodated in the future.

          Again, optimistic.

  11. 8
    batGnat

    As a Minister for The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I hereby declare Kopimism AWESOME.

    And will take it on as my second religion.

  12. 9
    DavidXanatos

    Holly fucking Shit and Jesus fucking Christ *g*

    Thats great news!!!!!

  13. 10
    Wondering Maniac

    Well, congratulations I guess. Too bad religious organisations don’t have any actual special rights or protections in the Swedish constitution, ultimately making this a fairly pointless gesture as there is no debate to be had about religious freedom in this country, since there is non to begin with (well, there is in the sense that you are allowed to claim any religious affiliation you want without legal repercusions, but it doesn’t allow you to bypass any law because of it. Rastafarians don’t get to smoke pot in Sweden, and Kopimists won’t get to break copyright laws.)

    But you must have known this before you applied, so presumably you have a different goal of some kind?

    • 10.1
      alex

      So how come Muslims can affect the law? ^^ For example, muslims can wear hats and mask that cover their faces at Gamla Stan while normal mortals can not..

      With help of religion pirates can do a lot to create big headlines in newspapers ;)

    • 10.2
      Scary Devil Monastery

      I wonder who this “you” is of which you speak. I very much doubt many pirates are religious at all in that sense of the word. For my own part, kopimism makes sense as a philosophy as it is deeply engrained in the human psyche.

      Whether the founders of the religion were after official recognition, simply to add moral weight to an issue they perceived vital, or did it as a lark I wouldn’t care to guess.

      The truly sad aspect, from my point of view, is that Kopimism, seen as a religion, makes far more sense than a religion whose rites center around, for instance, symbolic cannibalism (christianity), the maiming of infants (judaism, islam), or ritual self-chastisement with the end goal of utter extinction of the self (hinduism).

    • 10.3
      flo

      I beg to differ. Religious institutions get preferential treatment by the Swedish state. In your haste, you also fail to mention that Sweden has only been secularized in the last decade.

      If “Kopimists won’t get to break copyright laws”, maybe the state should also consider the plethora of privileges it grants religious folks. Circumcision comes to mind…

  14. 11

    I think people need to stop thinking of this as a cheap lawyer’s trick and start looking at it like an actual religious organisation, with a metaphysical and spiritual framework. The project may amuse you, but I can assure you it is no joke.

  15. […] le site Falkvinge, le Kopimism découlerait d’un mouvement issu du parti bandit suédois, le Pirat Ung. Cette […]

  16. 12
    Uno Hansson

    Jag tycker att detta låter mycket intressant!
    Jag har dessutom förslag på en lämplig ritual, som kan tillämpas i olika sammanhang (exempelvis vid ömsesidigt möte P2P – AFK).
    Ritualförslaget är helt enkel ´high five´.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_five

  17. 13
    Bob

    Kopimi – When you WANT to be copied!
    Song by: Joel Lundgren
    Song: Kopimi
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reHdCucBsdQ

    The chorus for the curious: “please you who hear me now – kopimi”

  18. 14
    Yes, Hi

    If we make it ’till the end of 2012 it’s gonna be hard to outLOL this one and we’ve barely begun the year. How promising.

  19. […] att rankas som en av världens 100 viktigaste tänkare (enligt ”Foreign Policy”) har introducerat en ny statsreligion i Sverige: kopimismen. Nej, jag skojar inte. Det heligaste är att information är fri och skall och bör […]

  20. […] For the moment, however, it seems as though these guys are serious.  But whether they are or not doesn’t matter because the point raised is a good one.  And therefore I will treat this, for the moment, as though it is totally serious.  My own thoughts will come soon… as soon as I sort them out.    Until then, here’s the article from TorrentFreak.  You can also get some thoughts on it from Falkvinge.net […]

  21. […] yesterday’s story of the Missionary Church of Kopimism being an approved religion in Sweden, one wonders what the […]

  22. […] problems, and at least one rejection of the plan, it turns out that at the very end of the year, Kopimism became an officially recognized religion in Sweden. "Being recognized by the state of Sweden is a large step for all of kopimi. Hopefully, this is […]

  23. 15
    Jenny D

    I wish you (and Kopimism) would stop using the word “approved”. The organization is _registered_, and it’s recognized, but it is expressly stated on Kammarkollegiet’s website that this does not confer any approval.

    Any organization that has some type of founding document and hierarchical structure can be registered as long as the leaders of the organization claim to have some sort of religious service. It does not mean that Kammarkollegiet, or any other representative of the government, approves of the religion or its ceremonies. (Interestingly, it also means that religions which have neither a set hierarchy nor any scripture ( such as Wicca) can’t be registered.

    • 15.1
      Rick Falkvinge

      Hi Jenny,

      while I understand your point here, I think it’s factually incorrect. Since the application for registration was denied twice, and approved the third time, I think it is appropriate to talk about approval.

      If there was no approval process for getting on the list of official religions, but everybody could register without risk of having the application denied, then it would be appropriate to talk about registering.

      This, of course, should not be confused with approval (liking) of the religion as such.

      Cheers,
      Rick

      • 15.1.1
        Jenny D

        That would depend on the reasons for the two previous rejections, surely? If they were rejected because the organization didn’t satisfy the requirements as to its structure and foundational documents, that still has no bearing on the actual religion.

        It’s much the same thing as saying that Bolagsverket has approved of a company, when what they’ve done is review the application, verify that it satisfies the basic requirements for registration, and then register it.

        • X approving of Y and Y being approved by X are not the same thing. The blog post never mention Kammarkollegiet approving OF the MCK, just that they approved the MCK as a religion. There is a very distinct difference.

        • Jenny D

          I should rather say that approving the registration isn’t the same thing as approving the religion. Kammarkollegiet did the former, not the latter. It may be a small point, but I find it very embarrassing when Pontén can say that we pirates don’t understand the issue – and he is right.

  24. […] news was spreading across the Internet about the Swedish government formally recognising a new religion as legitimate. […]

  25. […] http://falkvinge.net/2012/01/04/missionary-church-of-kopimism-approved-as-official-religion/ Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", "ffffff"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_border", "eeeeee"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_text", "4e4e4e"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_link", "888888"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_url", "7b7b7b"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "19"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "actualidad"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "creatividad"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "religion"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "vida"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "actualidad"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "creatividad"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "religion"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "vida"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); MásMe gusta:LikeSé el primero en decir que te gusta esta post. […]

  26. […] en l’original; «The Church of Kopimism» en anglès). L’article en el bloc de Rick Falvinge, fundador del Partit Pirata suec (gràcies a Antoni Serra per la traducció) en va ser […]

  27. 16
    steelneck

    As i see it, what differs a religious belief from other beliefs, like if i believe that you have purple underwear, is that a religious belief cannot be questioned by the believer in such a way that he looses his belief and thereby his religion. It is very much a question about how we handle cognitive dissonance and socially also a big moment of the plato-cave. When a person have resorted mentally to believe in something in a religious way, arguments, logic and reason, regarding that “something” do no longer apply and the believer can allways utterly resort to something along the lines of “we are not supposed to understand this”, in order to protect the cognitives his religious beliefs consists of.

  28. 18
    Thomas

    It makes sense! Its a “religion” built on oxymoron, lack of logic and a total lack of understanding off basic knowledge in economy, marketing and business.
    So yes, its by far better as a religion than politics.

    • 18.1
      Rick Falkvinge

      Dear Thomas,

      do take a look at the followup post, too. As far as religions go, it does make sense. However, I am not a religious person.

      Cheers,
      Rick

    • 18.2
      piratgurra

      Hi Thomas. =)

      It does make a bit more sense to me than some other religions do. :)

      Copying is necessary for biological life ( DNA and stuff, you know ). Where there may or may not be some God or undiscovered scientific mechanism involved in this – it sure is very fascinating how everything actually seems to work pretty well – birth, growth and well.. life in general. Without the copying of the DNA and biological cells we wouldn’t be here to wonder or discuss about it.

      It is also a very important feature in social life – we “copy” each other more than maybe we are aware of – body language, verbal language and to some extent even thoughts.

      Since creative work is to quite some extent social – that is.. we get inspired by each other’s works, copying really is also something fundamental to us humans, to human society and creativity.

    • 18.3
      Scary Devil Monastery

      Actually, given prima facie empirical findings, “Kopimism” actually has a rock-solid foundation both in philosophy and in the effects and causes on society.

      Which differentiates it from most of the major religions. Personally I’d call it a philosophy and not a religion as there is actual truth to be found in the principles of kopimism, but then again – I’m a nitpicker.

      You, however, just trolled – or whatever other term you prefer to define coming up with an illogical and emotion-driven bag of nonsense.
      By “basic knowledge in economy” you mean the concept of “Intellectual Property” which almost every serious economist theorist condemns as an unsound principle? You can’t patent ideas and information.

      Or that would be; Yes, you can patent them – don’t expect human nature to conform.
      Your entire commentary sounded amusingly like an old-style sovjet commissar trying desperately to convince people that the plan economy works.

  29. […] Read the full article. Be Sociable, Share! Tweet Societal Collapse, Spiritual Collapse   church, mc, religion      Predictions time » […]

  30. […] Men oavsett hur man gillar religionen så har den givit upphov till en mängd olika reaktioner världen över. This entry was posted in Internet, Piratpartiet and tagged kopimism, newsmill. Bookmark the […]

  31. […] on Kopimism (in English): Rick Falkvinge, Torrentfreak, Torrentfreak, BBC, Then Piratska Argus, Anton Nordenfur, GlobalPost, India Times, […]

  32. […] File Sharing Approved As An Official Religion In Sweden – Falkvinge on Infopolicy "After a year of bureaucratic struggles, the Missionary Church of Kopimism is now an official […]

  33. […] skrivit ett antal inlägg om Kopimismen, och avser att publicera fler med tiden. Partiets grundare Rick Falkvinge och vår nuvarande partiledare Anna Troberg bloggade bägge tidigt om Kopimismen, påpekar […]

  34. […] he in no small way represents. Unfortunately, those who partake of the “sacrament” of Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V don’t like to think about where those works come from—or more to the point, who those works […]

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Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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