One day, a man named Jared wanted to find all of the (public domain) USGS high-quality maps of the US, partly so he could use them, but partly because he wanted to. He discovered that although they are freely available, he either had to pay to get hold of them, they were publicly unavailable, or he had to spend ages piecing them together from various sources across the Web... Thus, he bought all of them on a 300gb hard drive for $1600, and ransomed them off. The result: the Map Ransom web page, http://ransom.redjar.org/original_page.html, and he's already reached his $1600 target.
As Jared says on his web site,
My name is Jared. Two and half years ago I was looking for topographic maps to plan a bike ride. I was surprised to find that to get access to the Public Domain digital maps, I had to buy them from the USGS, or one of their business partners... and they weren't cheap. I thought this was silly, so I attempted contacting the USGS to get access to this Public Domain data for free. First through proposal of cooperation, then through Freedom of Information Act requests. While failing with both routes, I started the Libre Map Project. I began collecting these digital maps bit by bit, and making them Freely available for download via the Internet.
So, very soon, all of the USGS maps will be available for the entire world to download on the Internet Archive. The moral of this story: information wants to be free, and thanks to people like this, it becomes free that little bit faster.