Would you join the Church of Kopimism in Sweden, and pray to the god of file sharing? It doesn't seem any more absurd than any other religion is to me.
Earlier this week, it was announced that after two failed attempts, a group of self-confessed pirates have successfully had their beliefs in file sharing recognised as a religion in Sweden.
There are about 3000 people in the group now, and more are encouraged to join through IRC.
While infringing on copyright is still illegal in Sweden, and there is no freedom of religion guarantee that would protect Kopimism members from persecution if they're found to be copying, the church's founder, Isak Gerson, is hoping that the establishment of the religion will take away some of the stigma associated with file sharing. He told TorrentFreak that he hopes the church's interests will be taken into account when lawmakers are changing copyright law.
It's easy to laugh off new religions like Kopimism or Pastafanarism as a joke (OK, the latter one is), but, to me, it's no more absurd than some of the things that come out of the three big religions in the world. There are just fewer people signing up to believe in it.
And that's certainly one way to lobby government. In Australia, we have groups like the Pirate Party and Electronic Frontiers Australia all campaigning hard on user rights, and seemingly not getting anywhere.
By comparison, groups claiming to represent the interests of religion or churches, such as the Australian Christian Lobby, are much more successful in being able to convince government to do what it wants — like banning same-sex marriage or R18+ ratings on video games — under threat of the wrath of the angry religious voter, so maybe becoming a religion is the key to these groups having more weight to throw around.
Maybe it's time for the telco or IT groups to look at establishing their own religion to get extra clout with the government?
At least with the telcos, we'd know our prayers could be answered. Provided there was enough signal.