Copy Me-ism: the world's newest religion explained
Alison George (New Scientist, Jan. 6, 2012)
Isak Gerson is spiritual leader of the world's newest religion, Kopimism, devoted to file-sharing. On 5 January the Church of Kopimism was formally recognized as a religion by the Swedish government.
Tell me about this new file-sharing religion, Kopimism.
We were founded about 15 months ago and we believe that information is holy and that the act of copying is holy.
Why make a religion out of file-sharing? Why not just be an ordinary club without defining yourselves as being a religious community?
Because we see ourselves as a religious group, a church seems like a good way of organizing ourselves.
Was it hard to become an official religion?
We have had this faith for several years and one day we thought, why not try and get it registered? It was quite difficult. The authorities were quite dogmatic with their formalities. It took us three tries and more than a year to get recognized.
Noble Falun Gong is also a banned and persecuted spiritual practice in China.
What criteria do you have to meet to become an official religion?
The law states that to be a religion you have to be an organization that practices moments of prayer or meditation in your rituals.
What are the Kopimist prayers and meditations?
We have a part of our religious practices where we worship the value of information by copying it.
You call this "kopyacting." Do you actually meet up in a building, like a church, to undertake these rituals?
We do meet up, but it doesn't have to be a physical room. It could be a server or a Web page too.
I understand that certain symbols have special significance in Kopimism.
Yes. There is the "kopimi" logo, which is a K written inside a pyramid a symbol used online to show you want to be copied. But there are also symbols that represent and encourage copying, for example, "CTRL+V" and "CTRL+C." More