Praise be! A sensible church is born

Praise be! A sensible church is born January 6, 2012


THE world has a new religion – Kopimism. But no gods, saviours, or silly dogma here because the Missionary Church of Kopism exists solely for the “sacred” practise of file-sharing on the internet.
According to Gizmodo, the church, which has adopted Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V as its religious symbols – rather than Ctrl+U, which forms the basis of virtually all “pukka”religions (thanks for pointing that out, Remigius)was set up in 2010 by philosophy student Isak Gerson to avoid legal persecution.
It now has 3,000 members, and was officially recognised as a religious organisation by the Swedish government agency Kammarkollegiet shortly before Christmas, according to the BBC.
Gerson believes the official seal of approval by the Swedish government will change things:

I think that more people will have the courage to step out as Kopimists. Maybe not in the public, but at least to their close ones. There’s still a legal stigma around copying for many. A lot of people still worry about going to jail when copying and remixing. I hope in the name of Kopimi that this will change.

It took him two tries to get it legalised. He said:

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. 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.

Gizmodo imagines Kopimism rituals going like this:

And the Swedes raised the holy torrent upon high, saying, ‘O Lord, bless this thy holy torrent, that with it thou mayst copy thine movies and music in tiny bits, in thy mercy.’ And the Kopism Lord did grin. And the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths, and carp and anchovies, and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit-bats.

And the Lord spake, saying, ‘First shalt thou find the tracker. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy .torrent file towards thy Torrent program, who, being naughty in my sight, shall copy it.’

Hat tip: Remigius, Agent Cormac and Bill Murray

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  • Graham Martin-Royle

    This is just soooo silly. For starters, who decided that the Swedish government had the right to say what is and what isn’t a religion?

  • tony e

    Makes more sense than christianity, judaism, muslims, etc etc.

  • AgentCormac

    It makes a mockery of so-called ‘proper’ religions. Ergo, ’tis to be applauded.

  • Anonymous

    Sweden recognises new ‘magic man in the sky who sometimes grants wishes’ religion

  • MrMonist

    Surely only the comic shop owner in the Simpsons would find this amusing. Waste of time and not actually funny and about as profound as those ‘wacky’ twats who call themselves Jedis…

  • Pingback: Praise be! A sensible church is born | Harp and Bowl Worship()

  • barriejohn

    I tend to agree with Mr Monist. The funniest thing here is that News Thump report!

  • Adam Tjaavk

    \\THE world has a new religion – Kopism. But no gods, saviours, or silly dogma here because the Missionary Church of Kopism exists solely for the “sacred” practise of file-sharing on the internet.//
    Kopism? or Kopimism (Copy me) – theft and pirating opposing copyright.

  • barriejohn

    Adam: It’s s religion. Of course they think that they’re entitled to take what they want without paying for it!

  • barriejohn

    Erratum: It’s a religion.

  • Stonyground

    It seems to me that someone who puts in a huge amount of work and talent into producing something entertaining, that lots of people are willing to pay for, should be allowed to reap the benefits of his/her hard work. There are laws in place that try to ensure that this happens. If the sole purpose of this project was to undermine such laws then I would be against it. However, if these guys are pointing out that anyone can bypass perfectly just laws simply by claiming to be a religion then I am totally in support. I would be grateful if these questions could be clarified.

  • barriejohn

    Stonyground: I wish that there were a straight answer to your question. Unfortunately, the Orthodox Kopimists insist that it is their absolute DUTY to copy material, and that no mere mortal has the right to impede them in any way, whereas the Reformed Kopimists hold that these commands are not meant to be taken literally, but are full of mystical and transcendent meaning, and aid them in the search for a moral grounding and sense of purpose in life and a moral grounding and sense of purpose in life (oh, there I go, copying what I have just posted again!).
    PS The above reply is copyright.

  • barriejohn

    PPS Totally agree, Stonyground!

  • Uzza

    I agree, someone should be allowed to reap the benefits of his/her hard work when they put a huge amount of work and talent into producing something useful, that lots of people are willing to pay for, like say a working sewer system, and that’s why you send a check to your plumber every time you take a shit. You do that, right?

  • Mike de Fleuriot

    Oh God, an Interesting Religious argument at last.

  • Venba

    Since most of this is about digital and other media rights, it is the media that is sold. When you buy a CD or DVD, it is just the same as buying one of those old LP records. Just because it is easier to make copies and share the copies with friends in these modern times should not change the way we view media rights.
    It is up to the media people to find a way to market these things in a profitable way. They cannot violate everyone’s rights in a bid to maximize their profits just because the market has changed.
    This is just another “bail-out” attempt, only this time the legislation is going to give them the undeserved bailout money by destroying the civil rights of all people in the process and warp the natural advancement of our personal relationships with everyone else just so they can get a few more bucks.
    And these claims of “losing money” are bogus. You cannot lose money you never had in the first place. If they tried to enforce these laws, people would just refuse to buy their stuff. Then they would still have a low revenue stream with nothing but oppression and crimes against humanity to show for all the trouble they went to.
    That’s just stupid and bad business. You shouldn’t go all fascist on people if you want their money, which many don’t have anyway.
    People in poverty cannot afford to buy that stuff in the first place, or else they would have bought their own CDs and DVDs in the first place!
    If they can borrow a copy from a friend who did pay for the media, then where is the difference between two cousins in two different countries mailing the media back and forth whenever needed?
    SOPA is bogus and unworkable and unconstitutional. It is bad legislation.

  • barriejohn

    Uzza: Your argument doesn’t hold water, as it were. Some artists accept a one-off fee for their work, and others take royalties in the hope that it will prove successful. It’s a gamble, and fortunes have been lost staging flops and marketing music that no one wants. Also, although we might pay the plumber just for the work that he carries out, charges for water supply and sewerage are an ongoing thing.

  • Brian Jordan

    It’s no better than any other religion, if they advocate eating endangered primates instead of venerating them. Quite vile to propose eating orangutans. Unless it’s a typo or mistranslation for oranges, but adding poor harmless fruit bats suggests not – it would be auite a n error to type fruit bats instead of fruit and nuts.

  • Stonyground

    @Brian Jordan
    That part of the post is a paraphrase of the dialogue in a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The knights need to know how to use the Holy Hand Grenade and a monk starts reading a long, pointless and tedious passage from the book of armaments.
    “And Saint Attila raised the Holy Hand Grenade up on high saying ‘Oh Lord bless this thy Holy Hand Grenade, that with it thou may blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy’ and the Lord did grin, and the people did feast upon the sloths….etc.”

  • john c

    Using a religious cover to mask unacceptable activities? why, whoever would of thought of that one?
    If this recognition as a religion causes debate, hopfully it willl call all religions into question.
    As to whether the dogmas of this church are any more ridiculous than any other,definitely not.

  • AgentCormac

    Just nicked this bit of related commentary from Pharyngula:
    Bishop Peter Ingham, head of the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong, said the move cheapens the value of ‘real’ religious organisations and labelled the group a ‘sham’.
    “There should be some measuring stick against what you call religion,” Bishop Ingham told ninemsn. “In my mind, if religion has nothing to do with God — or what people perceive to be God — then it’s a sham.
    “It cheapens the currency of religion in general because [now] anything can be defined as a religion.”

  • Dear Mr.
    To promote skepticism/critical thinking I wrote some questions for the Christian believer. Are you able to put the link to these questions at your blog.
    Thank you very much,
    Piet – Rotterdam – Netherlands.
    The original questions
    The translation

  • David Anderson

    I saw that on Pharyngula too but the bit that I found jaw dropping was where he said, “It looks like it’s just a way of getting around the law. How could a religion promote illegal activity?”
    Illegal activities of religion. (Start your list here).

  • Lazy Susan

    AgentCormac – I’m glad to see that by Bshop Ingham’s definition, atheism does not count as a religion.

  • AgentCormac

    David Anderson
    I suppose encouraging the faithful to massacre innocent people in cold blood by endorsing the practice of suicide bombing would come top of my ‘Religion Promotes Illegal Activity’ list. Quickly followed by the ordering and organising of cover-ups to protect the perpetrators of the rape and sexual abuse of children.
    As starters for ten go, I’d hope even Bishop Peter Ingham might agree the above are pretty robust.