File sharing has officially been recognized as a religion by the Swedish government agency Kammarkollegiet. The Church of Kopimism reportedly applied for religious status three times over the course of more than a year before finally succeeding just before Christmas, the group said in a recent statement.
The church, which holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V (keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste) as sacred symbols, was denied religious status twice before when authorities requested they formalize the way they pray or meditate. Followers of the church, known as Kopimists, now organize religious file-sharing ceremonies called “kopyactings” where members share information with each other.
"For the Church of Kopimism, information is holy and copying is a sacrament," the group said in a statement. "Information holds a value, in itself and in what it contains, and the value multiplies through copying. Therefore, copying is central for the organization and its members."
Despite their new religious recognition, it still remains illegal to share copyrighted material, TorrentFreak reports. The group’s leader hopes that their beliefs will be considered in future lawmaking.
The Church of Kopimism was founded in 2010 by philosophy student and spiritual leader Isak Gerson. At present, the group has over 3,000 members but that number is expected to surge based on media coverage of the story. As of writing, the official website for the Missionary Church of Kopimism redirects to a static page with a message indicating that they have been Slashdotted. Those interested in joining are asked to return in a few days once the media storm has passed.