So the story went viral not so long ago that a rather small 3,000 strong organisation, called the Church of Kopimism, had been confirmed as a religion by Swedish Officials. You may know this more as another coined term: 'The Church of file sharing.'
Starting as a term used in Pirate forum conversations to invite copying of information in the early 2000s, 'Kopimi' soon expanded in definition to a way of life and belief in the freedom to copy and be copied, not for political reasons; but for a much deeper purpose: sharing information, copying and building upon it just as a DNA strand's ability to replicate and evolve. The religion follows a key set of axioms, and carries a powerful missionary message:
- Copying of information is ethically right.
- Dissemination of information is ethically right.
- Copymixing is a sacred kind of copying, moreso than the perfect, digital copying, because it expands and enhances the existing wealth of information
- Copying or remixing information communicated by another person is seen as an act of respect and a strong expression of acceptance and Kopimistic faith.
- The internet is holy.
- Code is law.
From all to one and from one to all – and then back again – exchange without beginning and without end. Everything to everyone’s delight, and everybody’s joy of it all. No one is excluded from the global community of knowledge and information sharing. Every believer has all knowledge – all knowledge is spread by every believer to all people without exception. Start the exponential cascade.
Source: Kopimism USA
Christopher Carmean is in no way of special status beyond being a registered Kopimist living in America, as he urged to tell us before we began to ask him questions: "I am merely an enthusiastic Kopimist, hoping to share the faith in the USA and ultimately establish a legal non-profit entity to conduct religious services and charitable work." This made us much more appreciative, and all the more curious to hear his story.
NRM: So the story of the Church of Kopimism being classed as a religion by the Swedish Government has gone massively viral. For those who have caught on without background reading and see this as 'people who worship file-sharing,' could you give more insight about what Kopimism is?
Christopher Carmean: To those who view Kopimism as glorified file sharing: We value all file sharing alongside many other forms of information exchange. File sharing represents only one specific form of information exchange. Kopimists value the pure act of information exchange as a holy, life-affirming process. We celebrate through worship, which can involve digital and/or analog information exchange.
How did you become aware of Kopimism, and what made you want to sign up for the religion?
I read an internet news article about it. After looking through their website and reading the available English translations of a few of their posts, I realized that Kopimism was a beautiful articulation of my existing feelings. At that point I decided to share this wonderful life-affirming faith with others by translating the constitution into English and establishing a US-based Church.
So what is a day-in-the-life of a Kopimist like?
Many people already live their lives by Kopimist principles. Journalists, for instance, toil ceaselessly to collect information and spread it around the world. They multiply the value of the information collected through distribution. That kind of attitude is what Kopimism is all about! The daily routine of worship consists of fostering regular data transfer (both digital and analog).
We recognize that every song played so that others can hear, every e-mail sent, every link shared, and every file transferred is an affirmation of our faith and an investment in the well-being of our fellow man. Traditional meditation is often conducted by closing off the external world and focusing on internal processes. Kopimist meditation is an outward connection with fellow human beings.
How are your efforts of spreading the faith in America going thus far?
Many people believe in the inherent value of information exchange and they seem very excited about our establishment.
As a person with Kopimistik beliefs, what are your thoughts about SOPA? And is it worrying people within your church?
The Church of Kopimism in the US does not have an official opinion about politics or legislation, but I'm happy to share my personal opinion. I am personally thrilled that many legislators have revoked their support of the bill. If new legislation must be drafted, then it needs to be done rationally by individual who know how to use the internet for more than e-mail and pornography. The New Zealand Church of Kopimism (http://kopimistsamfundet.co.nz) has been posting open opposition to the bill.
Where did the design for the Holy-Kopimi pyramid originate?
I was told by one of the founders that a dear friend of theirs named Ibi coined the idea, concept, and the symbol. He passed away, but his part in the origins of Kopimism is celebrated in every Kopimi pyramid copied.
And finally, What would you say to an aspiring Kopimist? Where can they go to sign up, and what first steps can they take in their own life towards the faith?
An aspiring Kopimist should visit any Kopimist website that uses in their language of preference to read the value statement and constitution (for English, they can visit the US site). If they decide to formalize their membership, they can currently sign up on the Swedish website.