I'm hoping this doesn't sound too simplistic, but I'm trying to reconcile this inside my head:
If you handwave-handwave research that allows you to learn Lore level X…..then you not only have it, but you have it on your +sheet. In other words, you officially have it and can if necessary prove that you know it, just as you would do with any other sort of gift or token or other RPG-related ability, knowledge, or item.
If however you learn information IC from somebody else who has that lore….of course you *have* it, but its possession is not reflected in your +sheet. Some GMed plots and scenes are designed *specifically* to distribute information that would otherwise be acquired through the purchase of Lores. Is it possible or desirable for - at the end of such a plot or scene, for the GM to drop the staff a note saying something like:
In plot thus-and-such, on date blah, char1 char2 char3 and char4 learned Lore X to level Y, through RP.
Those lores might then even be added to those characters' sheets (with or without cost - I would think without cost, personally, as my understanding is that the expenditure of Focus represents time spent….and RP *is* actual time spent) to reflect this knowledge. And of course, that report of participating and learning would HAVE to come from a GM for a verifiable scene or plot, so you wouldn't have Joe Fulano claiming "Oh yeah, I taught my friend this, jack up his sheet please".
I bring this up because I recently spent…what was it, something like 12 Focus to buy up a level of a Lore, which upon reading….I discovered I already knew a month ago through RP. I felt those Focus points might have been better spent elsewhere, to learn something I didn't already know. Except that I didn't know I already knew that secret, because (of course) you can't read those secrets until you've paid for them.