We don’t know how to handle this comedy of plenty in which the more we give away, the more we have. The efforts to absorb it into the alien, stuff, conception of property, to impose it on stuffy sales patterns and profit expectations, have cluttered it up with advertising and finally, perhaps, along with ordinary human folly lead to the dot-com collapse. These efforts may also, judging by the metastasizing intellectual property claims, strangle it. The Internet models the larger cultural conversation, and when something is put up there, people naturally consider it not as a product but as part of a conversation, whether it be the exchange of embroidery patterns or pop songs. The outraged exclamations that this conversation is “simple thievery” refuse to acknowledge the movement from an economics of stuff to an economics of attention.
The Economics of Attention by Richard A. Lanham, p. 13