If you don't think that the work of groups like the Free Software Foundation is important, consider the following Boston Globe excerpt from a couple of weeks ago, quoting a Coalition Provisional Authority official (that's what the US calls itself in Iraq).
"'Of course, we are an empire, but we are different,' he says. 'Our empire is not defined by territorial ambitions but by ideas. A lot of ideas, like free trade, like democracy, like copyright laws.'
"Copyright? Was my host really suggesting that we had carried out one of the largest land invasions since World War II to protect copyright laws?
'Well, yeah, our empire is about promoting free trade, it's about promoting democracy and the ownership of ideas. Sure, it's about McDonald's and Microsoft and everything else. But the reality is we are not here only to do that...'"
Nice, eh? At least the reporter expressed some shock.