I’ve been ready Lessig’s Remix:Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. In his book, Lessig mentions several open-source projects and how they are made better by the community. For example, volunteers improve Wikipedia entries on their own time without compensation (other than the satisfaction knowing they are helping others). A similar attitude can be found in the open-source software community; people update and improve lines of code, usually to meet a specific need, but provide these enhancements for free to the entire community.
This type of sharing can be found on the Internet as a whole, especially with file sharing. Metcalfe’s Law suggests that the more people in a social network, the more value it has. With Bit torrent, the more people sharing the better the network. But there is also an element of comraderie. People sharing files do so because they want to help other people. It isn’t a giant “Fuck you” to the RIAA and MPAA (although it turned into that). No one dislikes the artists of the music or movies they are “distributing.” They are fans who want other fans to have the material.