Sure, digital files can be shared and copied limitessley at virtually no cost and with no loss of quality. But what’s more important is that they can be modified just as easily. We live in a «remix» culture: everything is inspired by something that came before, and creativity is shown as much in the reinterpretation of existing works as in original files.
That ability to easily ‘»remix» digital files is the engine that drives community. What it offers is an invitation to participate. You don’t need to invent something from scratch or have an original idea. Instead, you can participate in a collaborative improvement of existing ideas or designs. The barrier to entry of participation is lower because it’s so easy to modify digital files rather than create them entirely yourself.