Let Me Download Your Book for Free (It’s My Religion)

What some people won’t do to get around supporting artists. I’m not one to prop up big corporations and their tireless lawsuits against  kids copying music. Heck, I made my share of mix tapes and gave them away. But as a writer, I understand that if you give everything away, you can’t support yourself. Novels, songs, movies—these all take months and years to create. We all love the idea of the starving artist, but I also like to pay my rent.

Kopimizm.svg

Now there’s a movement in Sweden where copying and disseminating information is protected under the umbrella of religion. Yes, it’s true. The Swedish government has recognized Kopimism as an official religion. What are the doctrines? Glad you asked:

* All knowledge to all
* The search for knowledge is sacred
* The circulation of knowledge is sacred
* The act of copying is sacred

Sounds a bit scary doesn’t it. This is movement born from the hacker culture. By hooking onto a religion, the Kopimists can also gain political leverage. Does this mean that US hackers can claim amnesty for religious reasons? Probably not yet.

Looking through the official Kopimism site reveals some puzzling contradictions. On one hand, they state: “All people should have access to all information produced. A gigantic Boosting Knowledge for humanity.” This makes sense. Why hide valuable information? My first thought goes to helpful drugs that can benefit everyone.But then I spot this a few lines down: “The absolute secrecy is holy in the church of kopimism.” Doesn’t this contradict what they just said about shareing?

A Kopimist marriage. Not sure why the priest is dressed like V for Vendetta.

A Kopimist marriage. Not sure why the priest is dressed like V for Vendetta.

The Kopimist Church of Idaho (Yes, our Idaho) has a more straightforward approach. They want to send books to people in South America or Africa. Not bibles, but books. Any books. Pure information. This form of information sharing I can get behind. It’s like humanitarian aid for the mind.

pirate-bay-drones

Interestingly, this religion is officially tied to The Pirate Bay, a BitTorrent site that allows people access to movies, and music. In order to keep their servers away from copyright enforcers, The Pirate Bay has purchased remote drones to carry the servers 8,000-9,000 feet above Greek airspace. If the Greek government agrees, this could tie the Greeks into breaking copyright laws.

This photo comes from a Merseyside Police demonstrate their new aerial surveillance drone in Liverpool. Don't expect The Pirate Bay to work like this any time soon, though

This photo comes from a Merseyside Police drone in Liverpool.

What’s the future for the Kopimist movement? Will governments grant them the ability to bypass copyright law? If so, I think you’d see a lot of cheap people flocking to this religion. It’s like the Napster of intellectual property.

Tim Kane

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7 comments on “Let Me Download Your Book for Free (It’s My Religion)

  1. Holy moly! The things you uncover never cease to amaze (and sometimes terrify). o_O

  2. If this comes to pass, I suppose I should count myself lucky that my books are not available in digital format…yet. Copyright laws are important to safeguard creative license, paying an artist for work rendered. Like you said, we need to pay the rent. A carpenter does not give away his work, so why expect a writer or musician to do the same?

  3. kopimiil says:

    Kopimism is based on a few basic axioms, which in turn can be traced back to our strong defense of the intrinsic value of information, We ascribe this value to all information irrespective of its content. Since information and its intrinsic value are so sacred, Kopimists recognize the following axioms:

    Copying of information is ethically right.

    Dissemination of information is ethically right.

    Copymixing (copying and/or remixing) is a sacred kind of copying, more so than the perfect digital copying, because it expands and enhances the existing wealth of information.

    Copying or remixing information communicated by another person is seen as an act of respect and a strong expression of acceptance and Kopimistic faith.

    The Internet is holy.

    Code is law.

    You do not need to change anything when becoming a kopimist. Stay believing in whatever you believe in, whether it is in God, Jesus, Moses, Muhammad or anyone else. We are not a religion that provides “all” the morality a person needs. Your morals come from you and/or whatever God you believe in.

    Philosophy
    Copying is a sacred activity. Copying accurate knowledge, in a variety of formats, for the purposes of education helps the world. My ideal future is one where I own a library of all the books ever written that anyone, poor or rich, can access at the push of a button for no cost.

    It is important to note that, I personally believe that knowledge is sacred. The ability to reproduce the information one possesses is sacred.

    Kopimism is a religion, one might even define it as a cause. Like most religions, Kopimism is against stealing. With respect to information, Kopimism disagrees with many copyright holders usage of the word “stealing”. We wish for the creators of content to receive due credit for the information they create, as is done in academia. We also believe that creators and owners of content have the right to sell their content.

    Kopimists are interested in everyone’s sacred right to reproduce and distribute information. Copyrighted content, or patents, conflict with these beliefs. These legal instruments, when applied to content or invention, insist that information, digital or tangible, cannot be copied or distributed respectively.

    Our issue with content owners occurs once a copy of the content is distributed to the user. We believe that this copy, once in the users possession, belongs to the user and that the user can copy and distribute this information at his or her discretion (with due credit where credit applies). An example of this would be a recipe in a cook book. Say there is a cook book for sale at a book store and someone sees a recipe on page 8. Kopimists believe that the reader of the book does not need to get permission from the author of the book to give this recipe to a friend. Furthermore, if my grandmother has an old family recipe that is exactly the same as a recipe on page 11 in the same book, a kopimist does not believe my grandmother would be guilty of copyright/patent infringement.

    Kopimism also takes issue with many things that are copyrighted. We do not believe that the number one can be copyrighted, or the number two, ad nauseum. Most people inherently believe the same about all numbers, or even mathematics, when presented to them in this way. This Kopimist belief causes issue with owners of digital content. All digital content, i.e., mp3s, pdf’s, avi’s, etc, exist on a computer as a single integer. You could give me a digital copy of any file such as an mp3 of Mozart’s Cello Sonata in D Major performed by Yo Yo Ma, and I could show you a single number, in a text editor or on paper, that would be considered protected by the copyright holder of Yo Yo Ma’s music. Any digital file can be converted back and forth to its corresponding integer. Furthermore there are many integers, hundreds of thousands, that your computer would read as Yo Yo Ma’s music.

    In short, many digital content owners believe that a number can be owned. Even though Kopimists believe that information, i.e., personal information, can be keep secret and that authors have the right to sell the books they write, we fundamentally disagree that this type of (digital) ownership can be held over the integers.

    https://www.facebook.com/kopimism.il

    Thx !

    • Tim Kane says:

      I feel like you’re speaking out of both sides of your mouth. On the one hand you say that “We also believe that creators and owners of content have the right to sell their content.” Yet earlier, you admit to: “My ideal future is one where I own a library of all the books ever written that anyone, poor or rich, can access at the push of a button for no cost.”

      If the library were at no cost, then the author wouldn’t earn any income. You want a library of all the books. Well it takes time and energy to create these books. Without an income, writers will stop writing them. No matter that it becomes a digital number. It’s an idea created by an artist and that artist should be able to receive compensation for that.

      Tim

      • kopimiil says:

        “Our issue with content owners occurs once a copy of the content is distributed to the user. We believe that this copy, once in the users possession, belongs to the user and that the user can copy and distribute this information at his or her discretion (with due credit where credit applies). An example of this would be a recipe in a cook book. Say there is a cook book for sale at a book store and someone sees a recipe on page 8. Kopimists believe that the reader of the book does not need to get permission from the author of the book to give this recipe to a friend. Furthermore, if my grandmother has an old family recipe that is exactly the same as a recipe on page 11 in the same book, a kopimist does not believe my grandmother would be guilty of copyright/patent infringement.”
        Or
        Section 106, 106a, 107 of the Copyright Act 1976……. thx

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