Uh, okay. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster shall henceforth be put on notice that the Church of Kopimism, a new religion whose central creed is the free sharing of information, has just been formally recognized by the Swedish government, after more than a year spent seeking legal status.
The Church of Kopimism, which derives its name from the Swedish word translating as "copy me," was successful on their third attempt at registering with Kammarkollegiet, that Swedish Administrative Services Agency that can be oh-so-picky about which religions they'll accept. The church, which numbers about 3,000 members, is now entitled to legal protections under Swedish law, and potential government-assisted funding.
We know Julian Assange applauds this, but what did the Kammarkollegiet see in this strange new religion? Perhaps they agree with the Kopimists that all information sharing is "holy," and that informational-value multiplies through sharing, an altruistic boon for all. But they probably scratched their heads at the religion's sacred symbols, the copy-and-paste shortcuts, CTRL+C, and CTRL+V. (Seriously.)
According to the church's nineteen-year-old founder, philosophy student Isak Gerson:
"There's still a legal stigma around copying for many. A lot of people still worry about going to jail when copying and remixing. I hope in the name of Kopimi that this will change."
That's an important point to remember. Even when done as a supposedly "religious" act, file-sharing is still illegal in Sweden. And the Church of Kopimism was only even allowed to come into existence as of 2000, when there was a formal separation of the Swedish church and state. Adherents of "real" religions may find Kopimism insulting, but judging by the intense international interest that recently Slashdotted the church's website, its congregation may soon be increasing.