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Monday, December 19, 2011

Stand-up Comedian Tackled Ownership Issue

Upon the completion of his show at the Beacon Theatre, Louis C.K. managed to sell his “Louis C.K. Live at the Beacon Theater” for $5 a copy, thus making a profit of $200.000. That’s how he addressed an old issue of ownership. Earlier, when you purchased a product, it became really yours – you were free to share it, borrow or do whatever else you wanted. However, with today’s restrictions and DRM, such liberty has gone forever.

Louis claimed that his experiment appeared successful: within 12 hours after the show went on sale, he had more that 50,000 purchases, thus earning $250,000, which would break even on the cost of production and site. Soon he has sold more than 110,000 copies for a total of $500,000, which after deducting PayPal charges etc. left him about $200,000 of net income. Although that’s less than he would have been paid by any company to let it sell the show, they would have charged the consumers around $20 for the copy. Worse still, they would have sold an encrypted and regionally restricted copy and owned consumers’ private details for their own use. In other words, this way, consumers only pay $5 and are able to use the video any way they want.

The reason Louis decided to sell his show without his production company is because it keeps most of the profit. Moreover, it is reluctant to share it with giants like Apple or Google. As for his DRM-free product, he addressed pirates, saying that doesn’t really get the idea of “torrent” thing, but he did whatever he could to make it easier for others to watch and enjoy the show without any corporate restrictions. He asked pirates to consider that he wasn’t a corporation, but an individual who had to pay for the production with his own money, so it would be a right thing to refuse sharing this video but pay 5 little dollars to watch it.

The community’s feedback to his message was surprising – the consumers decided that his example could encourage other content creators to do the same and end up with more frequent releases at cheaper prices, which would worth this $5.

Louis has also conducted an interview to promote his idea, where he said that with the money obtained from this sell he is going to make a movie. However, in this case a comedian has an established large fan base, while the newcomer will need some help with promotion

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