Sweden Recognizes File-Sharing as a Religion

Kopimism - H 2011

The pro-piracy "Church of Kopimism" holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V as its sacred symbols.

COLOGNE, Germany - Sweden has recognized file sharing as a religion, granting official church status to the country's Missionary Church of Kopimism, which boasts some 3,000 members.

It might sound like an early April Fool's joke but Kopimism has been around in Sweden since 2010, when it was founded by members of the Young Pirates, the youth movement of Sweden's controversial Pirate Party.

The Kopimi (pronounced "copy me") movement has tried twice before to get official recognition, but had been rejected. The Swedish government finally recognized the Church of Kopimism after if formalized its mode of prayer and meditation.  According to the group's website, Kopimism sees information as holy and copying and file sharing as a sacred acts akin to prayer. The website has been unavailable since it broke the news of its religious status. A message urged those interested in joining to "come back in a couple of days when the storm has settled."

Despite Kopimism official status, copyright infringement remains illegal in Sweden.

The move in Sweden comes amid the debate over Rep. Lamar Smith's hotly-debated  Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which is currently making its way through Congress and would, if passed, give U.S. authorities wide-ranging right to shut down or block websites, including international sites, deemed to being facilitating copyright infringement.