File Sharing is Now a Religion – Kopimism

Earlier this week the govt of Sweden formally recognized the Church of Kopimism as a religion, finally displacing Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as the most unusual religious group in the world.This church was founded in 2010 by  Isak Gerson, a philosophy student. Isak is such a religious file-sharer that he decided to form a group to recognize and protect his beliefs. He then petitioned Sweden to accept Kopimism as a religion. It took 3 attempts, but they finally did.As of last week, Kopimism is a religion in Sweden. I'm not sure what value there is in this, Kopimism's 3 thousand plus practitioners now have it.

Isak  is thrilled about the news, and he hopes that it will motivate more people to come forward as ‘Kopimists’. “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,” Isak tells TorrentFreak. “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.”

While I'm sure some will laugh at this (I snickered at first), there's more to the idea than piracy is good. This is actually a group of file-sharers.  Do you like the idea of the Creative Commons, GPL, or any other open license? Then you share some of the beliefs of Kopimism.

This isn't just about piracy. The core of Kopimism is about the value of  freely sharing knowledge. In fact, if you look at the growing number of authors and developers who have already decided to give away their work under open license, you'll see that the idea is both widespread and an accepted practice in much of the world.

Cory Doctorow behaves like a practicing Kopimist, and so does Lawrence Lessig. Gary Hart, the founder of Project Gutenberg, could arguably be considered the patron saint of Kopimism.And that is not a joke. Why do you think he founded Project Gutenberg?

Now, I don't expect most to take it seriously as a religion, but the values Kopimism espouses are not the lunatic fringe. They existed long before the religion was organized.



About Nate Hoffelder (11161 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

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