File sharing group seen as religious in Sweden

Jan 05, 2012 By MALIN RISING , Associated Press

(AP) -- A file-sharing group that considers itself a spiritual organization said Thursday that Sweden has recognized it as a religious community.

According to documents provided by spiritual leader Isak Gerson, 20, his Church of Kopimism received that approval in late December. The public authority responsible for such decisions was closed for the day and couldn't be reached to confirm the approval, which comes amid a global crackdown on file-sharing websites often used to illegally download movies, TV shows and music.

Gerson said in an interview that some of the church's roughly 3,000 members meet every week to share files of music, films and other content they consider holy and regard copying as a sacrament. He said the church's philosophy opposes copyrights in all forms and encourages piracy of all types of media, including music, movies, TV shows, and software.

The recognition of the Church of Kopimism follows a fierce debate in Sweden about illegal file-sharing over the Internet of copyright-protected films and music. This Nordic country - home to the men behind the file-sharing hub The Pirate Bay - already has a political party called The Pirate Party that seeks to reform copyright laws and holds a seat in the European Parliament.

Gerson, a philosophy student, has also been involved in the Pirate Party's youth organization.

Sweden's government defines religious communities as ones that conduct religious activities and services, entitling them to file separate applications for state funding and the right to marry couples. The country also has recognized believers of Norse paganism, elves and gnomes as religious communities.

Gerson said the Church of Kopimism feels strengthened by the government's recognition but that he doesn't think it can stop the law from charging members for illegal file-sharing.

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

The group said it had sent in three applications to the Kammarkollegiet agency to gain approval as a religious community because the agency had been "strict with formalities."

"I think it might have something to do with the governmental organizations abiding by a very copyright friendly attitude, with a twisted view on copying," said Gustav Nipe, the chairman of the Church of Kopimism's board.

Explore further: Security CTO to detail Android Fake ID flaw at Black Hat

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Go to church and breathe easier

Nov 29, 2006

Going to church might help you breathe easier. A new study by Temple University's Joanna Maselko, Sc.D., found that religious activity may protect and maintain pulmonary health in the elderly.

Recommended for you

Security CTO to detail Android Fake ID flaw at Black Hat

49 minutes ago

Where have you heard this before: A team of security researchers discover a security flaw in Android devices. This is, however, news. This time, experts are talking about a flaw that involves a widespread ...

Chinese smartphone makers win as market swells

3 hours ago

Chinese smartphone makers racked up big gains as the global market for Internet-linked handsets grew to record levels in the second quarter, International Data Corp said Tuesday.

Full appeals court upholds labels on meat packages

3 hours ago

(AP)—A federal appeals court has upheld new government rules that require labels on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat to say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Xbw
1.9 / 5 (9) Jan 05, 2012
"Sweden also has recognized believers of Norse paganism, elves and gnomes as religious communities."

Where do I sign up with the gnomes? Also, have they split into denominations like the protestant church did? You know like garden gnomes, travelocity gnomes, and so on?
Argiod
3 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2012
This is truely funny stuff. Now, let's see them bring their 'religion' to the USA, where we profess Freedom of Religion, and see how far that flies here.
And I think on that note, I'm going to found the first Dragon Abbey, for dragon worshipers everywhere.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jan 06, 2012
Now, let's see them bring their 'religion' to the USA, where we profess Freedom of Religion, and see how far that flies here.

If scientology got religion status then I don't see how this shouldn't be able to.