Originally posted by Metal Brain
Define free riding. Is it like free loading?
yes i suspect it is and it seems that there is a kind of moral sensitivity that people have towards free riding, that its socially unacceptable, yet it seems to me that there are inherent benefits, for example the distribution of source code for Open source programs where people are actively rewarded and encouraged to free ride, the benefit being that the source code is available to a much broader spectrum of people and that it shall be refined and reach excellence as a direct consequence. The latest distributions of Linux blows Windows away.
Another example might be in the use of drug patents where in the case of HIV, the initial cost of treatment per person was out with the reach of most sufferers, yet free riding and copying the patent and distributing the drug at a much lower cost benefited millions of persons.
another example might be downloading and distributing MP3's where the record company might argue that it has invested a lot of money in artists and especially in production costs, yet the free sharing of MP3's might in the long term make people buy legitimate copies of albums, thus benefiting the artist and record companies.