Ever tried to explain to a six year old why boys like girls? Giving is like that. Some people have lived it and understand without explanation. Others create theories to explain the mystery. Web denizens seem to understand more often than most. Maybe giving is built into the ethos of the hyperlink itself, giving and receiving attention, flow, reputation. Maybe the web is a training ground for civil society, and a harbinger of a more giving society.
See Gifting and Technology by McGee and Skageby for a thoughtful discussion of the culture of file-giving, and sharing, on the web.
Under what circumstances, of markets, copyrights, and other social arrangements does the vitue of giving become a vice or crime? And is the good garnered by those arrangements off set by the loss of a vital gift culture? Can the two be balanced, by accountants and/or by the holy spirit?