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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kopimism as a Religion

The black flag was hanged at Cambridge’s Democracy Center, because the Massachusetts Pirate Party was holding a conference over there. At the same time, in Sweden, copying was officially recognized as a religion.


Kopimism emerged back in 2011, and at the beginning, Sweden refused to acknowledge it as a religion. However, this year the local government had to recognize new file-sharing religion, and it is now commanding the attention of the press.

Using just a projector and a set of principles, the 24-year-old web developer Lauren Pespisa was talking about the new religion in front of the audience in Cambridge, Massachusetts at their first state-level Pirate Party conference.

The Church of Kopimism claims that sharing digital data is a “sacred act”, and its rules say “Copy and Paste what thou wilt’ shall be the whole of the law”. The religion even has its own sign bearing much meaning – a yin and yang saying “Ctrl+C” and “Ctrl+V” on each side. However, there isn’t a god involved in the religion and you’re not going to hell if you do not share. Although Kopimism has a founder, 19-year-old Isak Gerson, the followers don’t worship him.

Despite the fact that the First United Church of Kopimism isn’t recognized as an official religion in the United States, you are free to join by providing your name and e-mail address. Although Kopimism doesn’t have a God, it still shares some similarities with other religions – for example, presence of evil oppressors (the MPAA and RIAA). Like others, this religion has its people persecuting it.

As for the original Pirate Party (also known as Piratpartiet), it started in Sweden 6 years ago, and rapidly grew in popularity after the party organized protests against the authorities’ attempts to close down the world’s largest tracker The Pirate Bay. Sweden’s Pirate Party managed to gain not just the public’s attention, but also had some political success throughout Northern Europe. A few weeks ago, the party also won seats in Germany’s Saarland. At the same time, the American Pirate Party was first created in 2006, and then was dissolved last year only to be reborn.

The Czech Republic will hold an international Pirate Party conference in April. The conference might be interesting for those who want to hear the party’s plans and goals, particularly with CISPA being on the way.

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