Missionary Church of Kopimism
The Missionary Church of Kopimism (in Swedish Missionerande Kopimistsamfundet), founded by Isak Gerson, is a congregation of file sharers who believe that copying information is a sacred virtue. The Church, based in Sweden, has been officially recognized by the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency as a religious community, after three application attempts.
The followers of the religion are called Kopimists from copy me. A "Kopimist" or "Kopimist intellectual" is a person who has the philosophical belief that all information should be freely distributed and unrestricted. This philosophy opposes the monopolization of knowledge in all its forms, such as copyright, and encourages piracy of all types of media including music, movies, TV shows, and software. In its spiritual emphasis on copying as an ideal, Kopimism shares values with Chinese aesthetic traditions, in which "copying is valued not only as a learning tool (as it is in the West) but as artistically satisfying in its own right," a concept also called duplitecture.
According to the church, "In our belief, communication is sacred." No belief in gods or supernatural phenomena apart from Kopimi itself is mentioned on their web site. CTRL+C and CTRL+V, the common computer shortcut keys for "Copy" and "Paste," are considered sacred symbols. Some groups believe that Kopimi is considered to be a god, and others believing it to be a sacred symbol and spirit residing within every living being.
Kopimism made simple:
- All knowledge to all;
- The pursuit of knowledge is sacred;
- The circulation of knowledge is sacred;
- The act of copying is sacred.
<*//up for discussion: In the beginning there was the Bit. It was zero. The Bit activated and IT begot one. Between zero and one there was nothing.
Then the Bit got copied.
And then those bits got copied.
And those again, and again, ad infinitum.
Lo, and behold: The one bit begot a universe, by copying itself, with minor changes with each copy.
Therefore it is our sacred duty to copy bits into similar but different bits, so the Great Work of the One Bit is done.
According to the Kopimist constitution:
- Copying of information is ethically right;
- Dissemination of information is ethically right;
- Copymixing is a sacred kind of copying, more so than the perfect, digital copying, because it expands and enhances the existing wealth of information;
- Copying or remixing information communicated by another person is seen as an act of respect and a strong expression of acceptance and Kopimistic faith;
- The Internet is holy (Not generally accepted by churches run by the Maesters);
- Code is law.
On January 5, 2012, Kopimism was accepted by Sweden as a legitimate religion. The religion's association with illegal file sharing has been said not to be a sign that illegal file-sharing will be excused from Sweden's zero-tolerance approach to the controversial matter. As well, multiple micronations accept the Missionary Church of Kopimism as a legitimate religion.
On April 28, 2012, the Missionary Church of Kopimism held their first wedding. The wedding took place in Belgrade, Serbia, between a Romanian woman and an Italian man. The holy ceremony was conducted by a Kopimistic Op, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, while a computer read vows and some of Kopimism's central beliefs aloud.
The church said, "We are very happy today. Love is all about sharing. A married couple shares everything with each other. Hopefully, they will copy and remix some DNA-cells and create a new human being. That is the spirit of Kopimism. Feel the love and share that information. Copy all of its holiness."
Gerson, the missionary leader of the Church of Kopimism, attended as a witness during the wedding.
Sharing of information in religions
Sharing has been widely advocated in many religions, through forms such as alms.
- "Sweden recognises new file-sharing religion Kopimism". BBC News. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
- Jackson, Nicholas (10 April 2011). "The Information Will Get Out: A New Religion for File-Sharers". The Atlantic. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- "File-Sharers Await Official Recognition of New Religion". TorrentFreak. 10 April 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- Citrome, Michael (14 April 2011). "NETWORTHY: Copy, paste, amen". Montreal Mirror. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- "File-Sharing Recognized as Official Religion in Sweden". TorrentFreak. 4 January 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
- Privitera, Salvatore. "File-sharing as a religion, do we really need it?". Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- Worman, Jenny (4 January 2012). "Sweden Recognizes File Sharing as a Religion". RevoluTimes. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- Thompson, Clive (27 February 2013), "Imitation Can Be the Sincerest Form of Innovation", Wired, retrieved 2010-03-10
- "Welcome to the missionary church of kopimism". Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- "Kopimist Constitution". The First Church of Kopimism for the USA. 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
- "First Kopimist Wedding". 28 April 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.