Kopimism or How File-Sharing Turned into a Religion

A couple of days ago the black flag was hanged at Cambridge’s Democracy Center, where the Massachusetts Pirate Party held a conference. Meanwhile in Sweden “Kopimi” (read as ‘copy me’) is recognized as an official religion.

The first time we mentioned Kopimism was in 2011 when Sweden refused to acknowledge filesharing as a religion despite the attempts of 19-year-old Swedish philosophy student Isaac Gerson to obtain that acknowledgement. However, in January 2012 the Swedish govt recognized new file-sharing religion Kopimism and now the brand new cult is again commanding media’s attention.

“If robots had a religion, I think this would be it,” Lauren Pespisa, an official member of both the Pirate Party and the “church” of Kopimism said.

Using only a projector and a set of principles, the 24 year old web developer started talking about Kopimism in front of several dozen people that gathered in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March the 10th at their first state-level Pirate Party conference.

According to the Church of Kopimism sharing digital information is a “sacred act”, she said, and its first rule reads “Copy and Paste what thou wilt’ shall be the whole of the law”. There’s even a sign involved, one that bears much meaning, but has been modified accordingly – a yin and yang with “Ctrl+C” and “Ctrl+V” written on each side.

“There isn’t really a god involved or anything. You’re not going to hell if you don’t share,” Pespisa said. However, Kopimism has a founder – Isak Gerson “but we don’t worship him,” she added. As we’ve said before the First United Church of Kopimism is not recognized as an official religion in the US, but you can join by simply providing your name and e-mail address. Whilst this “religion” does not have a God, it shares some similarities with other religions, one of which is the presence of an evil oppressor – in this case the MPAA and RIAA.

“We have our people persecuting us. Every religion needs that,” Pespisa said.
However, this was not the first career choice for Pespisa, as she admits that she shifted her interest from ballet to information technology.

“It makes sense looking back,” she told ArsTechnica’s Jon Brodkin.

“I grew up on the Internet. … I sort of consider myself a citizen of the Internet. I’m very attached to it. I’m almost more from the Internet than I am from Massachusetts.”

Further Jon Brodkin is making a summary of what happened at the conference, and a bit of “history” about the party.

The original Pirate Party (Piratpartiet) started in Sweden at the beginning of 2006 a rapidly grew in popularity after organizing protests against police’s attempts to shut down ThePirateBay. Sweden’s Pirate Party gained not only the public’s interest, but had some political success across Northern Europe. Couple of weeks ago they won seats in Germany’s Saarland.

As for the US Pirate Party, it was first created in 2006, but got dissolved in 2011 only to be reborn.

An international Pirate Party conference will be held in mid-April in the Czech Republic. It’s going to be interesting to hear the parties’ plans and goals, especially that CISPA is on the way, and what blizzard it will be.