Would you pray at the Church of Napster? Take communion at the luxurious Torrents Cathedral, the pristine tower with a waterfront view of Pirate Bay? Strangely enough, these hypotheticals aren't outside the realm of reason, now that filesharing has been officially recognized as a religion by the government of Sweden.
Kopimism, the celebration of information, say copy and paste commands should be seen as sacred symbols. The church officially became part of Swedish culture last month on its third attempt, organized last year by anonymous members of The Pirate Bay and The Pirate Party,
Isak Gerson, 19, who founded the church, tells the BBC: “Information is holy and copying is a sacrament. Information holds a value in itself and in what it contains, and the value multiplies through copying. Therefore copying is central for the organisation and its members.”
Followers, known as Kopimi, are said to believe CTRL+C and CTRL-V symbols are holy. Gerson adds: “Hopefully this is one step towards the day when we can live out our faith without fear of persecution.” Clever.
“Copy and seed” is the church’s motto, announcing to any potential addition to the flock, “You just have to feel a calling to worship what is the holiest of the holiest, information and copy. To do this, we organize kopyactings – religious services – where the kopimists share information with each other through copying and remix.
”Music analyst Mark Mulligan has a different perspective on the outcome of Gerson's efforts : “It doesn’t mean illegal filesharing will become legal, any more than if Jedi was recognised as a religion everyone would be walking around with lightsabres. In some ways these guys are looking outdated – filesharing as a means to pirate content it becoming yesterday’s technology.”
Kopimism may not change the public's view on copyrighted material (or the law's), but the move to create a faith-based escape route for lawbreakers is anything but original – and it's shockingly effective. A little digging into Christianity uncovers armies of individuals like General Butt Naked, who after years of tyrannical murder, torture and cannibalism of children renounced his offenses, gave himself to God and was subsequently absolved of any wrongdoing by his homeland. Then there's the Catholic church's blazing, massive issue of pedophilia… but I digress.
What? The new Enter Shikari leaked? I'm late for church!