When I was in school, we were taught about Francis Cabot Lowell, who heroically copied machine plans in England to use in the US for textile mills.
England was so worried that their monopoly on their mill technology would be taken that they would search ships, cargo and passenger for hidden plans.
Fortunately for the US, Lowell memorized the plans and was able to build his own plants in the New World. His business was the beginning of the industrialization of the New World. Without which, the United States would have continued to be merely agrarian in nature. Does anyone know if they still teach this lesson in gradeschools, or was it killed when they started teaching kids to respect copyrights more?
"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H.L. Mencken