“Kopimism” a New Swedish-based Religion
Jason Koebler’s Story “Kopimism, Sweden’s Pirate Religion, Begins to Plunder America”, USNews , 20 April 2012 (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/04/20/kopimism-swedens-pirate-religion-begins-to-plunder-america)
Summary: This story outlines the rise of a new religion, “Kopimism”. The article outlines the main ideology of the religion, it is stated that the new religion and its followers believe, “copying, sharing and improving on knowledge, music and other types of information is only human”. This Swedish based religion was founded by a 20 year-old, and the article says that, they need a place of worship and this doesn’t necessarily need to be a church but they like the church structure; they have 18 Koptimist branches in 18 countries. The United States has a branch in Illinois with 450 people that are registered with that church and 30 of them are devout in practice and worship (spreading data, through copy and paste). They compare laws of piracy to slavery saying that the “Koptimist spiritual leaders”
Comment on the story:
The religion of Kopimism is very unique in nature and doesn’t promote anti-piracy. They believe that copy right laws are a form of slavery and they feel that the copying of information is holy. While this may be an okay opinion to have it certainly doesn’t equate to a religion. With its 9000+ likes on Facebook and thousands of followers all over the world it sounds like a group of people that just don’t want to be held accountable for their actions. Piracy is something that is an on going issue in todays society and using religion to justify breaking the law can be questionable according to western morals. Since this religion is based in Sweden, does that justify piracy? Kopimism sure thinks so. We could all be wrong with our piracy laws and copyright labels, maybe what we need is to embrace Kopimism with open arms and just accept it. In this society we make too many assumptions as mentioned in Understanding Cults and New Religions. “A concern with community is another of the hallmarks of Abramic tradition”, this quote from the textbook talks about a concern with community that is one of the factors that Kopimism may face in the future. They are at war essentially with the large corporations of the world for encouraging piracy and this will always be a problem, which will scare the public. Also it seems like this religion only really appears to people who are really into computer security and other black top and white top hacking; this also raises questions about the leaders. We can easily relate this to Glastonbury since people came because they thought it was holy, just like copying information in this case. The people in this new religious movement are drawn to it because of their current habits or something they aspire to do. Henry Fielding wouldn’t agree with this religion because he only thought of his religion as the true religion but many of us hold our ideas dear and think of them as the one and only truth.