This was the last word on the matter from Sweden’s Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (Kammarkollegiet), who thus rejected Uppsala’s Pirate Party’s attempt to get their activities registered as a religious faith, under the name The Missionary Church of Kopimism.
Isak Gerson, missionary director at the Church of Kopimism, was disappointed by the decision, which was the second time the church’s registration was rejected.
“It feels bitter. Last time we applied there were valid reasons for their rejection. We’ve had a dialogue with them since then, and sent in a new application with changes based on this dialogue,” he told The Local.
“So it feels rough not to know why we were rejected.”
The Church derived its name from the online movement “Kopimi” (read as “copyme”), in which users are invited to add a “Kopimi” logo to their website if they are willing to have their information copied by others.
The Kopimists, who write on their website that having information copied is nothing more than a token of appreciation, describe their worship service kopyacting thus in their application:
“Kopimists who partake in digital kopyacting are encouraged to copy, remix and spread as much information between each other as possible.”
“Copying is something holy, and good beyond question,” explains Gerson about the Kopimist faith.
Sweden’s Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency were unconvinced, however, and ruled that kopyacting could not be considered worship, nor could the Kopimists be considered a “community for religious service to sufficient degree”.
Though baffled by this rejection, Isak Gerson is adamant that the Church of Kopimism will continue its work.
“We’re going to continue our work within the organisation, and continue recruiting members. We’ll keep working whether the state approves us or not.”
The Pirate Party, which was founded in 2006, is a political party in Sweden working to legalize internet file-sharing and protect people’s privacy on the internet.
The Party exploded in membership in 2009 after the internationally followed Pirate Bay trial put the internet and copyright issues in focus, leading to the party earning one of Sweden’s 18 seats in the European Parliament, in the 2009 European parliamentary elections.
During last year’s general elections in Sweden, however, the party gained only 0.65 percent of the vote, having lost two thirds of their members, according to Sveriges Radio (SR).
The Missionary Church of Kopimism is a movement started by the Pirate Party’s youth division Young Pirates, whose mission statement is that “free knowledge, shared culture, and the right to personal integrity are important pillars of the society we want to live in.”