Kopimism is a religion centered on the belief that the exchange of information and knowledge is a sacred act and that copyright laws limit this holy freedom. It was founded in 2010 by a then 19-year-old Swedish philosophy student named Isak Gerson. The Church of Kopimism was officially recognized as a religious organization in Sweden in late 2011 after many applications. In addition, the Kopimist church of Idaho was recognized in the United States as a tax-deductable religious organization in 2012. There are many people who do not believe that Kopimism should be regarded as a “real” religion because it does not involve a god. They believe that it was founded for the actual purpose of obtaining protection from the copyright laws.
According to the Kopimi constitution:
- Copying of information is ethically right
- Dissemination of information is ethically right
- Copymixing is a sacred kind of copying, more so than the perfect, digital copying, because it expands and enhances the existing wealth of information
- Copying or remixing information communicated by another person is seen as an act of respect and a strong expression of acceptance and Kopimistic faith
- The internet is holy
- Code is law
This religion can be seen as a response to the widespread use of digital communication and increase of anti-piracy laws on the internet. Kopimism intends to fight these laws around the world by treating file-sharing as a sacred act. If the movement gains popularity, countries that have promised the freedom of religion will face a difficult decision as to whether they will continue to
institute anti-piracy laws, will revoke them, or will allow exceptions to them, to permit Kopimists to freely practice their religion.
In addition to responding to the challenge of anti-piracy laws, Kopimism proposes an answer to the question of the morality of the sharing of information and files on the internet. Their answer is simple: It’s completely fine, even if it was not meant to be shared. As noted above, the Kopimi constitution declares that copying of information is ethically right and that dissemination of this information is also ethically right.