Sweden Recognizes File Sharing as an Official Religion

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Techland Illustration / Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Attention all obsessive internet pirates: If SOPA has you worried about your ability to continue to perform your pixelated perfidy, there’s one clear and unexpected solution to your problem: Move to Sweden, which has just recognized file-sharing as an official religion.

Well, to be exact, the Missionary Church of Kopimism has been recognized as an official religion. The Church — which claims CTRL+C (copy) and CTRL+V (paste) as holy symbols — was founded in 2010 by Isak Gerson, a Philosophy student and ardent file-sharer who not only claims to believe that file-sharing is a sacred act, but was apparently eager to formalize his belief system into something more likely to be officially recognized… a dream that has finally come true after several failed attempts, reports TorrentFreak.

(MORE: ‘Anonymous’ Blacks Out the Internet in Response to SOPA Debate)

In the two years since the Church’s founding, its membership has grown to around 3,000, with an impressive two-thirds of that number joining in the last 12 months. Gerson hopes that the Church’s new status will encourage even more to sign up and become followers, telling  TorrentFreak website that he thinks “more people will have the courage to step out as Kopimists [as a result]. Maybe not in the public, but at least to their close ones.”

A word of warning to anyone tempted to up and move to Sweden as a result of this news, however: Just because the Church of Kopimism has been recognized by authorities doesn’t mean that file-sharing has become legal in Sweden. That doesn’t dampen Gerson’s zeal, however; according to him, “We confessional Kopimists have not only depended on each other in this struggle, but on everyone who is copying information.” He has one final request to those who still aren’t convinced: “To everyone with an internet connection: Keep copying.”

MORE: GoDaddy Reverse Position on SOPA, Yanks Support

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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