Kopimism, Sweden’s Pirate Religion, Comes To US

Sunday, 22 Apr 2012 10:27 AM

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Kopimism, a Swedish religion professing that people should be free to copy and distribute all information, regardless of copyright or trademarks, has landed on America’s shores -- much like a marauding pirate ship, according to a report by U.S. News.

An American branch of the religion, which has been formally recognized by the Swedish government and has congregations in18 countries, has registered with Illinois and is filing for federal recognition, according to Christopher Carmean, a 25-year-old student at the University of Chicago and head of the first U.S. cell.

“Data is what we are made of, data is what defines our life, and data is how we express ourselves,” Carmean tells U.S. News.  “Forms of copying, remixing, and sharing enhance the quality of life for all who have access to them. Attempts to hinder sharing are antithetical to our data-driven existence.”

Isak Gerson, the 20-year-old founder of Kopimism, intones, “It makes us better when we share knowledge and culture with each other.”

Gerson says it’s easy to start your own Kopimism congregation since the scoffing of rules and regulations applies also to the religious institution. “There’s been a couple people that asked me [to start congregations], but I tell them they shouldn’t ask. You don’t need permission,” he tells U.S. News. “It’s a project, and I want projects to be copied, so I’m happy when people copy without asking.”

Meanwhile, although Gerson perceives of such measures as religious persecution, content creators and Internet service providers took another step toward preventing online piracy last  week by naming the head of a new agency that will help develop a “graduated” set of punitive measures for suspected online pirates.

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