Louis C.K. on self publishing and torrenting

I wrote previously about how Louis C.K. self-published his latest comedy special. One of the challenges and interesting pieces of his offer is that it would be so easy to torrent. Louis answered questions on Reddit and here’s a good question and answer about how Louis feels about the torrenting thing.


I know you might be reluctant to share this information, but how has the response to the Beacon Theater experiment been?

  1. Has it sold as well as you hoped / Have you covered all of your expenses?
  2. Have you seen the conversation at The Pirate Bay about torrenting your performance? What are your thoughts?
  3. What have you learned from this experience? What will you take away from it?
  4. Would you consider trying something like this again?
    Thanks for taking the internet community seriously.

Louis C.K.’s Answer:

Im not going to say yet what it’s making. It’s so damn interesting though to be doing this. I feel like i have a front seat to a really cool… thing. I don’t even know what it is. I think it’s really interesting that i brought the price so close to stealing and made the movie so easy to get and made it so clear that it’s a human offering it that it sparked a debate about pirating.

to steal from someone and not feel bad, you either have to be a sociopath or view the act differently. One way is to remove “Someone” from the equation. You’re not stealing from a person. Big companies do a lot to help people view them as less than human. I heard a speach by Noam Chomsky who said that corporations are like super humans. They cannot be hurt like a human can and they never die. They are not succeptible to scrutiny or accountability. this makes them more profitable. If companies want to enjoy these benifits to some degree they have to live with what else comes with being not human. you miss out on compassion, forgiveness, comraderie, empathy, trust all kinds of shit.

The other thing is I can only do this because I’m an individual and I can decide what my risks are that are acceptable and i can make my own goals for what is success. So I forwent (is that a word?) a lot of conventional routes and tried this. i am risking and there may be a celing to the success, but for me it’s okay. i feel like as of this year, I make enough money as a standup my goal now is to bring the cost down for those who buy my stuff. i really mean that. It makes me much happier. Also I did see that there might be a tremendous upswing to this. I was really excited about this material and I though it would be really cool to just put it out there myself witha little electronic hat that only takes fives and just see what happens.

I don’t know yet if I’ll do it again. It hasn’t run it’s course. But I AM SO HAPPY I DID IT. Just so fun and it has been massively gratifying to share the positive of it with so many people who have written and expressed their feelings.

The day before I posted the video I went on pirate bay, which i had never visited and i read the guy’s thign where he posts letters from media co’s and artists and then his nasty and kind of hilariously chest beating responses. I thought “jesus. This guy is a piece of work. I would NEVER tangle assholes with this guy.” and then I thought about it. What do I say to these people? To hope they don’t make me regret putting it out there naked like this? So I wrote that little “to torrent” letter, just being a guy saying “dude. please?” it’s the best I can do. If it doesn’t work, well.

so anyway, seeing the people who have fought about it on pirate bay and that there is a crisis of concious and everythign that’s been written and to see that i’ve gotten paid. Just so interesting and hope-giving and cool.

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