This post was motivated by a documentary that you can watch on Youtube: Counterfeiting.
First, they don't take you seriously. Later, they laugh at you. Then they fight you, and after you win. I think the new economy (call it multitude or p2p) is one step away from going mainstream.
When society reaches a tipping point, all the absurdities of the old system become apparent. This time around, our global society is undergoing profound transformations because the new technology introduces new possibilities, which in turn affect the way we produce and distribute value. But the conflict between those invested in the old system and the proponents of change opens along ethical issues and values. When did we start to call sharing of designs, counterfeiting?
If you read history books you will not be able to miss the importance of diffusion of technology across continents. Marco Polo is depicted as a hero, because he embarked on a 24 year long and very dangerous voyage from Venice to China and back, and enriched Europe with new technology from the East. How can a culture consider Marco Polo a hero because he copied the Chinese, but at the same time consider the Chinese thieves, because they copy technology and designs from the west? There is nothing important to understand there, other than the fact that our modern society is undergoing a crisis, a major transformation.
Copying and sharing are essential to development. If an economy starts to vilify essential things like copying and sharing, it is just a matter of time before it collapses, because by denying essentials it will start to accumulate ineficiencies.