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Swedish government recognises file-sharing religion

Church of Kopimism insists "copying is a sacrament".

The Swedish government has officially recognised a fledgling religion that worships the act of file-sharing.

As reported by the BBC, the Church of Kopimism was formally registered as an official religious group by the Kammarkollegiet government agency shortly before Christmas, at the church's third attempt.

Founded in 2010 by 19-year-old philosophy student Isak Gerso, the group worships "what is the holiest of the holiest, information and copy." It holds "kopyactings", which it considers to be religious services, where members share information with each other.

The group considers CTRL+C and CTRL+V to be sacred symbols.

Though the church insists it doesn't actively promote illegal file-sharing, Gerso apparently hopes that the open distribution of information will also be given religious protection.

"For the Church of Kopimism, 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," he said in a statement.

"Being recognised by the state of Sweden is a large step for all of Kopimi. Hopefully this is one step towards the day when we can live out our faith without fear of persecution."

Music analyst Mark Mulligan suggested that he might be in for a long wait.

"It is quite divorced from reality and is reflective of Swedish social norms rather than the Swedish legislative system," commented music analyst Mark Mulligan.

"It doesn't mean that illegal file-sharing will become legal, any more than if 'Jedi' was recognised as a religion everyone would be walking around with light sabres.

"In some ways these guys are looking outdated. File-sharing as a means to pirate content is becoming yesterday's technology," he added.

The movement's website has taken a hammering since the news broke. Any prospective members are encouraged to "revisit us in a couple of days when the storm has settled".

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Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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