One minute with ... Isak Gerson
The spiritual leader of the world's newest religion, Kopimism, explains why he thinks copying information is holy
Tell me about this new religion, Kopimism.
It was founded about 15 months ago. We believe that information is holy and that the act of copying is holy.
Why make a religion out of file-sharing?
We see ourselves as a religious group, so a church seemed like a good way of organising ourselves.
Was it hard to become an official religion?
We have had this faith for several years and one day we thought, why not try and get it registered? It was quite difficult. The authorities were quite dogmatic with their formalities. It took us three tries and more than a year to get recognised.
What criteria do you have to meet to become an official religion?
The law states that to be a religion you have to be an organisation that practises moments of prayer or meditation in your rituals.
What are the Kopimist rituals?
We have a part of our religious practices where we worship the value of information by copying it.
You call this "kopyacting". Do you actually meet up in a building, like a church, to undertake these rituals?
We do meet up, but it doesn't have to be in a physical room. It could be on a server or a web page too.
Do certain symbols have special significance in Kopimism?
Yes. There is the "kopimi" logo, which is a K written inside a pyramid, a symbol used online to show you want to be copied. But there are also symbols that represent and encourage copying, for example, "CTRL+V" and "CTRL+C".
Why is information, and sharing it, so important to you?
Information is the building block of everything around me and everything I believe in, Copying it is a way of multiplying the value of information.
What's your stance on illegal file-sharing?
I think that the copyright laws are very problematic, and at least need to be rewritten. I would suggest getting rid of most of them.
How many church members are there?
Around 3000. To join you just have to read our values and if you agree with them, then you can register on our website, at kopimistsamfundet.se
Is there a deity associated with Kopimism?
No, there isn't.
Does Kopimism have anything to say about the afterlife?
Not really. As a religion we are not so focused on humans.
It could be a digital afterlife.
Information doesn't really have a life. I guess it can be forgotten, but as long as it is copied it won't be.
PROFILE. Isak Gerson is a philosophy student at Uppsala University, Sweden. Together with Gustav Nipe — a member of Sweden's Pirate party — and others he has founded the Church of Kopimism, which last week was recognised as a religion by the Swedish government.
23 January 2012
Convince me it isn't 1st April
The following is from New Scientist of 14 January 2012, and not 1 April!