Comedian Louis CK is arguably the web’s most shared and revered comic of the modern era, with his bits being posted and reposted prolifically on sites like Reddit and Fark.
CK appeals to a broad base of comedy fans, and consistently seems to approach both his act and celebrity with a uniquely relatable bent. Although he’s got a show and is sitting up there talking to David Letterman, he’s one of the celebrities that people feel is really just a dude like them. So it’s probably not too surprising that Louis CK broke ranks from other performers of his stature in distributing his newest material to the masses, eschewing the iTunes market and similar outlets to offer a DRM-free version of it on the web and just asking his fans not to be dicks about it.
Louis admits he does not really understand what a torrent is, and even goes so far as to say he “doesn’t know enough” about them to register an opinion. But he just politely asks that if you download the video, you not torrent it because he paid for it himself. He says:
To those who might wish to “torrent” this video: look, I don’t really get the whole “torrent” thing. I don’t know enough about it to judge either way. But I’d just like you to consider this: I made this video extremely easy to use against well-informed advice. I was told that it would be easier to torrent the way I made it, but I chose to do it this way anyway, because I want it to be easy for people to watch and enjoy this video in any way they want without “corporate” restrictions.
He reminds us:
Please bear in mind that I am not a company or a corporation. I’m just some guy. I paid for the production and posting of this video with my own money. I would like to be able to post more material to the fans in this way, which makes it cheaper for the buyer and more pleasant for me. So, please help me keep this being a good idea. I can’t stop you from torrenting; all I can do is politely ask you to pay your five little dollars, enjoy the video, and let other people find it in the same way.
All in all, it would be really cool if CK’s method of distribution turns out to be a successful game changer and allows people to acquire material directly from the artist at a lower cost. I plan to purchase Louis CK’s “Live at Beacon Theater” as soon as I can grab a hour or so to watch it, and I’d encourage you to do the same if you’re a Louis fan like me. Would you buy more music or other digital content if it were offered without DRM and built-in publisher cuts?
(A preview below, with a warning- very NSFW and present-children material.)