File sharing "Church of Kopimism" becomes officially recognized in Sweden

The group hopes it will lead to copying becoming more accepted

The Church of Kopimism has been registered as a religious organization by the Swedish governmental agency Kammarkollegiet, it said on Wednesday.

For the Church of Kopimism, information is holy and copying is a sacrament, it said in a statement, and adds that information holds a value, in itself and in what it contains, and the value multiplies through copying. Therefore, copying is central for the organization and its members.

Kammarkollegiet confirms the registration, which was approved in December. The registration will have very few direct consequences, according to Bertil Kallner, general counsel at Kammarkollegiet. It is the first step if the Church of Kopimism wants to get help from the government to collect membership fees, but that has to be approved by the government and is a much more demanding process. Also, the church isn't interested in that at this point, according to spiritual leader Isak Gerson.

However, being recognized by the state of Sweden is still a big step. Hopefully, this is one step towards the day when they can "live out their faith without fear of persecution", Gerson said.

That seems unlikely as Swedish copyright organizations are still on the warpath.

In December, a number of industry organizations, including IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), wrote an opinion piece in the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet saying that Sweden is still a paradise for pirates, thanks to the combination of political passivity and obstructive ISPs. They seriously question whether there is any copyright protection online in Sweden.

To be registered as a religion, an organization has to live up to a number of demands, according to Kammarkollegiet's website. They include organizing religious activities and deciding on statutes that detail its purpose and how decisions are made.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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