In Sweden it has. You read that right, the Swedish government just decided to recognize The Church of Kopimism. Kopimism is based on the idea that the sharing of information through the internet is a holy activity. Kopi is the root of Swedish word for copy (kopia) making Sweden’s newest religion The Church of Copyism. (loosely translated). Has the world gone crazy? Why is this happening?
Personally, the world wide web has ceased to amaze me. Over the past few years so many strange social changes have come about through use of the internet that I am pretty much immune to it. Working in internet marketing we have to take note of internet and social trends in our day to day activities and as such we have noticed something: the world is a strange place as are the people in it.
But why create this Church in the first place? Well, this all has to do with the movement by many global governments to stop piracy by placing bans on stolen content (like the USA’s SOPA or the Stop Online Piracy Act). The Church of Kopimism was created in response to the fact that the internet may soon be controlled by the government and this includes the information that we can view online (China already has laws like this in place). Many people are against this citing that information on the web often falls under the umbrella of free speech laws and that inhibiting what people can see, read, do or hear on the internet is a breach of their civil rights.
There are many reasons for controlling the distribution of certain materials on the internet from overall safety to an attempt to inhibit illegal activities. The debate over SOPA has mainly been centered around the piracy of media like music and video content that runs rampant on the internet. The owners of this content obviously don’t want people to be able to get their expensive products for free and the people who pirate this content often believe that it should be free or at least less expensive. Advocates of government monitoring say that since this activity is illegal governments should be going to all lengths to stop it. However, people who oppose this move to change the internet say that this is purely corporate greed and that there is no way to monitor the internet in a subjective way so inevitably something would get banned that is, in reality, not illegal or harmful.
Many large companies have come out in opposition of this legislation including Google (although they have been riding both sides of the fence). A few very popular sites could also have to shut down if this legislation is passed include YouTube, Etsy and Flickr. These sites are at risk because they support user generated content and it is almost impossible for the sites to make sure that this content is not in compliance with the law or copyright legislation. If put in place it is likely that the internet will become a very different place.