File Sharers Get Religious In Sweden

By  |  Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 3:05 am

If there’s one thing you can say about chronic file-sharers, they have interesting ways of trying to legitimize their activities. The craziest example of this so far is a group of Swedish file sharers who have sucessfully petitioned the government to have file-sharing considered as a legitimate religion. Yep, you read that right.

The Church of Kopimism holds sacred the symbols Control-C and Control-V (for you non-keyboardists, thats the shortcuts for “copy” and “paste”.). It was originally organized by college student Isak Gerson in 2010, but the Swedish government rejected their attempts to be officially recognized twice before finally accepting them recently as an recognized religion, TorrentFreak reports.

No word on the reasons for the change of heart in Stockholm.

What does this mean? Gerson and his followers could now essentially petition the government for relief from religious persecution over its activities (read: file-sharing). It doesn’t make their activities legal, but it could certainly throw the authorities a curveball in dealing with anybody considered a “Kopimist.”

This is one of those stories where I’m almost speechless writing it. First off, what lame-brained government official approved of this? It’s a blatant attempt at circumventing the law. Second off, reading this guy’s comments to TorrentFreak I had a hard time not laughing. Here’s a gem:

“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.”

Ohhhkay. Swedish government. Congrats on giving people a legal way to break the law! Did this guy make similar statements in his petition to be recognized? Did you guys believe him? Apparently so!

Now don’t get me wrong, I think the hardline stance some have taken against file-sharing is not the right position. I do believe that P2P piracy is in part exacerbated by the entertainment industry’s overreach when it comes to copyright and control of it. At the same time, governments worldwide share a responsibility in enforcing the laws as they are now until they are changed.

This includes turning away people like Gerson who are obviously playing the system for the sole purpose of breaking the law. File sharing in no way is a religion. An addiction? That sounds more like it.

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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    I agree with you that this is ridiculous. But so is allowing Hallal slaughter (which is downright cruel and has become an excuse of the meat-industry to save time and money by not stunning animals) and circumcision of babyboys (they have no choice and it is in no way an issue of health: it's all about tradition) on religious basis. How I see it this is actually less ridiculous than Scientology.

    I don't see how this is any different form any other religions: it's ridiculous and has no legal or rational basis whatsoever.

  2. The_Heraclitus Says:

    What ARE you babbling on about?

  3. bouke timbermont Says:

    @heraclitus: since you can’t read, what I’m saying is that this is not the first, nor the last, nor the most reducilous, nor most outrageous abuse of using religion as an excuse to break the law.

    Inform yourself before calling something “babbling”

  4. SteveC Says:

    Love it.

    This is no different though to the big corporations behavior of circumventing the law and/or getting passed into law things to meet their own needs, even when it goes against existing laws.

    Fantastic to see the big corps being played at their own game.

  5. kurkosdr Says:

    Well, filesharers may have interesting ways of trying to legitimize their activities, but the movie studios have interesting ways of legitimizing Region lockout, UOPs (=unskippable ads and warnings), restrictions on format shifting granted by fair use, and forcing manufacturers to make dvd players that produce downright defective output (macrovision) that no other industry would get away with.