The Information Will Get Out: A New Religion for File-Sharers

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Nineteen-year-old philosophy student Isaac Gerson believes that sharing files is important. He calls it "the most beautiful thing in the world," according to a TorrentFreak. Instead of "Thou shall not steal," Gerson's proposed religion, which has grown out of his Missionary Church of Kopimism, argues that we should steal -- and share -- more frequently.

"The congregation at Missionary Kopimistsamfundet" -- Gerson and his followers are based in Sweden -- "believe that copying is to be embraced by religion and they hope that very shortly this way of life will be officially accepted by the authorities," according to a story posted today on TorrentFreak. "To have your information copied is a token of appreciation, say the church, a sure sign that people think you have done something good."

Late last year, Gerson's church applied to authorities in Sweden to be accepted and recognized as an official religion. Two weeks ago, authorities denied Gerson's application, arguing that, while the church is a community, one of the listed requirements, "its meetings did not constitute 'worship,'" according to TorrentFreak. "Undeterred, the church founders have requested a meeting to find out what is required in order to gain official acceptance. They certainly aren't giving in."

From the church: "In our belief, communication is sacred. Communication needs to be respected. It is a direct sin to monitor and eavesdrop on people. Absolute secrecy is holy in the Church of Kopimism." And: "To appropriate software (to keep source code hidden from others), is comparable to slavery, and should be banned."

Should you be interested, joining the church is easy. You just have to agree that all files should be shared and free. For more information on Kopimists, read "How the Kopimists Conquered Internets -- and Launched a War," an informative blog post from 2006. The term gained a lot of recognition when thepiratebay.org, a popular sharing site, attempted to purchase a man-made island to turn into a sovereign micronation where copyright laws would not exist.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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