Sharing is a central tenant in many faiths around the world, but somehow, I don’t think this is quite what they had in mind. In Sweden, where piracy is a legitimate political affiliation, a religious group that eschews copyright in favor of freely sharing media has been officially verified by the state. According to the website of the “Church of Kopimism“, the Swedish government granted their application for regiligious recognition. The Kopimists worship information, not any specific person or diety.
And to be fair, the worship of free information doesn’t exactly make them a “church for pirates”. But one of their central beliefs, if you can call it that, is that information is free and restricting its movement for monetary gain is immoral. For the Kopimistsamfundet, copying information isn’t just right, it’s an ethical mandate, spreading a wealth of knowledge freely throughout the world. That isn’t too far away from some FOSS proponents’ worldview, and in Sweden and other European countries the “Pirate Party” actually lobbies in favor for pro-piracy policies, though most of them stop short of actual religious affiliation.
There are no patron saints of pirates: priests are called “operators”, and they offer one-on-one counseling for their digital flock. The church accepts any and all who apply and have done so for over a year. As interesting as the idea of worshiping the flow of information is, it might be a little far out even for the new age types. I wouldn’t try try to claim that downloading a torrented copy of Transformers 2 is a religious rite any time soon.