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You're reading: When is content king?

The media value chain has been thrown into disarray. Lines between creation, curation and outright piracy are blurry at best. Some would say that they don’t exist at all. And distribution? Once information is out, it’s out. The Internet has infinite memory.

It seems like some rules are being violated, but whose rules? Shakespeare was a habitual plagiarizer (by today’s standards anyway). Many scholars believe that Homer never really existed, but that the epics were created and honed by generations of oral transfer. Many of the norms we revere are recent, not historical. So, what should guide us?

To assess the value of content, a good place to start is the infinite monkey theorem, which rightly points out that an infinite number of monkeys randomly tapping away at keyboards would produce the works of Shakespeare, Homer and every other form of literature that we have come to embrace as masterworks.

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