Scarcity vs. Abundance

by Kurt Cagle

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Ah, the dangers of surfing. I spend a great deal of time following blogs of people I know and respect, and every so often come across discussions that seem very germane to me. In a recent posting by premier columnist Jon Udell, Jon relates his own belief, one echoed by Barry Diller at a recent Web 2 conference, that there's not much talent out there, and that it is this scarcity of talent that ultimately makes talent "meter-able", something that fits within the context of DRM. Doc Searls, on the other hand, argues (in a post that I tend to agree with) that talent is relatively abundant, and that as such DRM makes far less sense.

Ultimately this issue of scarcity vs. abundance of talent comes down to what exactly is meant by "talent". By varying this definition slightly, you can find yourself easily on one side or the other of this equation. My suspicion is that the challenge that we face is that maybe, just maybe, we have a confused definition of talent that favors the marketing message (and the corporate bottom line) over the actual intrinsic good that a truly skilled and talented person brings to the table. If that's the case, then in the end, DRM may be the biggest mistake that Hollywood, et al., ever made, because it will spawn the creation of what I'd see as an Open Source version of Hollywood (or any other "industry" that I can think of).

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Does DRM protect and compensate talent, or is it simply a means of "guarding the gate"? Tell us what you think?