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Do Not Steal From Louis C.K.

Louis C.K. posted a statement on his website yesterday regarding his latest special “Live From the Beacon Theatre” claiming that he made around $200,000 in profit. He explained further that he probably could have made more money up front had he gone with some network or production company, but, in this way, he removed most of the filters that separate the artist from their fans/audience. In fact, anything that won’t directly kill him from sheer exhaustion, C.K. will do himself. He’s written, performed, directed, and edited this entire special. What C.K. is doing is revolutionary in the business of artists and, perhaps for the casual tone that has been taken with this move or the fact that his last special came out within this calendar year along with his critically acclaimed TV series, several people aren’t taking enough notice of how vertically integrated of a brand Louis C.K. is.

Someone known as “atndigcrk” (or, as C.K. might say, “ditch digging piece of shit”) especially doesn’t appreciate CK’s glorious experiment, as quoted right here. In putting “Live From the Beacon Theatre” on Pirate Bay for illegal download, “atndigcrk” explained why he acted against CK’s wishes:

yea its the new one yea i kinda feel bad putting it here but people like louis ck gotta realize without torrents and the net he wouldnt be anywhere bc honestly louis i know ur here and i know u mite be mad at me but u gotta realize not everyone has paypal , not everyone has credit cards, some people use net lounges, some have barely money for food, art = comedy should be shared with the mass , and Believe me u can judge the popularity more from the torrent downloads then the paypal sales, also if people like it , its easier to buy on there ipad/ipod or personal/work computers…more buzz = more fales Hope you understand louie sorry

I’m sure you were probably mumbling incoherently while reading that because you couldn’t get the desired combination of curse words out of your mouth, but this is clearly human rationalization almost at its worst, not to mention horrible spelling and grammar.


Right now, as an aggregate form, comedy is changing. It’s getting better. Tastes are becoming more sophisticated, and new methods of distribution are allowing for comedians, writers, and others to connect to their fans more directly. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube have created exposure for comedians that wasn’t previously available, and it’s made comedy amazing. Even the Nerdist’s own upcoming stand-up special is a great look into the next wave of folks poised to take over the comedy world (that line-up is pretty damn good). However, none of these examples involve directly enabling making a viable living or some sort of stable business model.

“Beacon,” on the other hand, is exactly that. Sure, $200,000 isn’t the higher figure he could have gotten from Comedy Central or HBO or maybe even Fuel TV (they did Chris Fairbanks’ special), but it’s the start of something that could end up paying as much directly (there’s that word again) to the artist. With so many TV programs and films about the entertainment industry, the existence of middle men such as agents, executives, and the like is common knowledge. Still, the amount and reality of their power and discretion over what’s to be made is staggering and will, for the most part, never be apparent to most people. If it was, most people might stop watching most of what’s on television or at their local multiplex and exercise their freedom of choice to go somewhere else to watch what they really want.

The actions of people like “atndigcrk” are what put a hold on this process from taking place or even happening at all. It’s not the argument that the studio is still going to make money or the incredibly ill-conceived notion of “I wasn’t going to buy it anyway, so…”, which, by the way, is probably the worst motivation for stealing. Also, comedy is not music in that people, without even the necessity of an independent study to verify so, will not listen to a comedy bit the same amount of times as a song they possess. The issue here is that comedy, and, in a way, art have a chance to benefit both sides more than they already do by removing the obstacles between the person or people who create it and the people who watch, listen, and enjoy it.

So, in short, don’t fucking steal from Louis C.K.

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47 comments

  • he only made $200,000. oh shit the world is ending. my band is giving our music away in hopes that someone will listen to it, and maybe we will win the life lottery and someone will sign us. where im from $25,000 a year is damn good money and you’re lucky to make that. so in summary, he did something he loves and can be proud of and made enough money for me and my family of four to live off of for 10 years. he shouldn’t be complaining and neither should you. by the way, he will make a lot more then 200k when all is said and done.

  • So Adam that makes stealing someone’s stuff ok? So if your band makes it big then we are all free to take as much of your music for free since you should be happy to get the art out there?

  • Why shouldn’t he make $200,000? He is super talented and works harder then most people out there. What gives anyone the right to judge how much money he should or shouldn’t make. That’s a mentality created by Facebook with this self important, over deserving, feel bad for me idea that people seem to have now a days. I am not very articulate but my main point is that just because you aren’t as talented or as hard working as Louis CK does not mean you can justify STEALING his stuff and cutting into his pocket. That is complete ignorance to the fact that you are justifying illegal activity because you feel you deserve something that you haven’t worked for. Stop sitting on your computer posting how you wish your band would make it and go rehearse.

  • I was lucky enough to see Louis CK when he came to work on the special in Pittsburgh. Paid for that and paid again for the special. Financial support for the things you care about and enjoy is the only way to ensure they keep being produced.

  • I agree that it is wrong to have put this out as a torrent. I will admit to having used the service (alot) in the past, but the points in the article are spot on. Plus, you can complain about your band not making it, or your film not being bought, or any of a thousand other things that make you feel justified in hating on some for making the money he has from this project, but maybe some of that’s on you, and NONE of it is his fault.

    He is a visionary comedian, as well as producer. I don’t mean the Hollywood “Producer”, but rather just someone who is creating original, hilarious content in an amazing way and for the right reasons. He is a visionary, and a revolutionary in the field, and I wish he’d have made 10 times what he did. He has paid his dues, proved his worth, and he deserves it.

  • Hey, for all of you who like socialism, there you go. One man busts his ass to do something, get paid, but all those who don’t want to work should get it for free. If you don’t like it, get off your asses and vote. Because that is exactly what the US is leaning towards. Socialism, where everyone should get an equal share. (And never mind my spelling, I know it sucks.) Everyone keeps trying to poke it down your throat until it happens to them, then it’s not so specail is it!

    Sin

  • “my band is giving our music away in hopes that someone will listen to it, and maybe we will win the life lottery and someone will sign us.”

    OR you could adopt a method that Louis CK has. It always cracks me up that bands that give away their music complain about how they don’t make money and their just waiting for that BIG BREAK! While I am sure your band is a hard-working one doing it for the love of the music, please remember that Louis CK is a hard-working comic doing it for the love of comedy, who knows how not to rip himself or his fans off.

  • Adam,

    So you’ve missed the point completely…

    1) In the statement he released, he wasn’t complaining at all. He had been asked by many people about the processes he went thru to create the hour special and how well it was working out for him. He was only explaining it all and was very grateful to everyone who had responded to it.

    2) Taking into consideration the 25+ years he’s spent developing his craft (and basically becoming the best in the business), an amount of $200,000 (and whatever he makes beyond that) is more than reasonable. You talk about giving your music away for free in hopes of hitting the “life lottery.” Well, what do you think Louis CK did early in his career at open mic nights at cheap bars and coffee houses? You just come off sounding bitter that he’s hit that “lottery” and you haven’t yet.

    3) Yeah… $25,000 is good money. Take that from a guy that is currently unemployed. But don’t begrudge other people making money off their craft. Unless, of course, you plan on always giving your music away for free and never hitting the “life lottery.”

  • Where on earth did you get the idea that anybody was complaining about making $200,000? The point is that he DIDN’T want to go the route of making shitloads of money at the cost of his audience.

    And Adam, if your band can cover the costs of producing an album in less than a day of selling it by yourself for dirt cheap, I will gladly not buy it.

  • His special made $250K total in the first 12 hours, which covered his production and distribution costs, and at the time that he posted the update he had made over $500K total at which point he had made $200k profit. He’s happy and intends to do it again.

    There is no excuse whatsoever that can justify stealing his work. If you can’t afford to buy it then you just can’t have it, that’s how it works. Stealing is stealing, regardless of the target of the theft or the motivation.

  • Wow, that guy really used the “some people don’t have enough money for food” card, I really don’t think that people who are worried about where their next meal is coming from are torrenting comedy shows

  • “u gotta realize not everyone has paypal , not everyone has credit cards, some people use net lounges, some have barely money for food, art = comedy should be shared with the mass” = I can’t afford it but I want it so I’m just going to steal it. Since when did art become a necessity like food? This re-enforces my belief that we live in a culture of entitlement and has no concept of doing without.

  • Yes 25,000 is decent money, I paid 20,000 a year for the past 4 years to be making 30,000 now and I feel luck to be making anything. I have played in many bands that made nothing and tours where you don’t eat that day, because the money you make at shows won’t even pay for gas. In reality it sucks, money is tight for most people right now, and Louis C.K. is doing the right thing, taking ownership in his content and making it affordable. I have never bought a comedy DVD before, and you bet if it cost $20 dollars through (enter big company name here) I would have torrented it, or more likely just never seen it, but for $5 going directly into the hand of the person responsible for the art I really don’t see how you can justify stealing it. Vote with your wallets folks, support original content that you want to see more of by paying for it, especially when it is going directly to the artist.

  • I was really excited and wanted to watch/listen to it. But after Paypal screwed me over and a number of people I know in different situations, I have refused to use their service. I won’t pirate this, but I do hope I can get another method of purchasing this sometime soon.

  • Adam, I didn’t get the impression that he was complaining about how little ($200k) he was making. Rather, Louie is trying to cut out the middlemen that profit off the creativity, hardwork, and experience of hundreds to thousands of shows he may have performed over his 25 yr career. In that regard, this douche bag that posted the incoherent message and torrent undermines Louie’s effort. Worst yet, he’s just butting himself in as a middleman for no logical gain. As an artist yourself, I’m sure you can appreciate the idea of being rewarded for your art. It would be like your band paying for venue access, recording times, practicing for yrs, in preparation for a concert, but then some dude handing out your cd for free at the door. If your band has been together 25 yrs and still not making $, then you’re doing it for the love of art and you don’t care about feeding your family.

  • I put down my $5 and happily paid for the thing, which was worth every penny. But I have to roll my eyes at CK’s statements about how this is an “experiment,” and his constant insinuations of how very brave he was putting it out there with no DRM. Give me a break.

    iTunes and Google Music don’t have DRM, and they do fine. Blu-ray discs can be ripped with free software, and and there is no DRM encryption that hasn’t been cracked. Putting something out there without DRM is not a big deal anymore.

    Everything gets pirated, *everything*, but… most people don’t pirate things. I’d be willing to place a strong bet that “experiments” like this and Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” don’t have any higher rate of piracy.

    Louis CK is a world-famous comedian, and is doing pretty well for himself these days. He deserves his position at the top of comedy royalty (I’m an enormous fan), and all the rewards that come with it, but I’m not interested in his “statements” where he begs his audience to do or not do something. He has a lot of fans, and a near-universal majority of them will pay for his content without self-indulgent prompting.

    Let’s be real. This was not a big risk for him, even with him putting up his own stupid money. He made a healthy profit on week one, is anyone anywhere surprised?

    So can we please stop defending a successful entertainer from the imagined hordes of IP theves who would steal from him, and from the squadron of pretend corporate executives who would dare censor him or his art. They’re not real.

    Also, can everyone please stop being so damn proud of themselves for not stealing it? You’re not special.

    Please…

  • I can understand where he’s coming from. When I moved out of my parents’ house (some 6 years ago), I lost TV. My place couldn’t get antenna reception for shit and I was too poor for both cable and internet, so I chose internet. This was before Hulu or Netflix streaming, so if I wanted entertainment, my choices were limited. This was when I discovered torrents. At first I was able to justify it as I wasn’t stealing much and most of what I was I would eventually buy. If it wasn’t for piracy, I would never have seen Lost, Galactica, House or the later seasons of Venture Bros. Except for House, I now own those shows on DVD. If I just wanted to watch something, I’d pirate; if the DVD had good extras, I’d buy it instead. It was a good system for me.

    A few years and gigs upon terabytes of occupied disk space later, I get a little email from my isp about DMCA and policy violations. Just a few titles (I have no idea how they missed everything else) were listed and a ‘keep this up and something will happen’ legal threat was made, but it was enough to make me rethink some things. Of all the movies and music and books and tv shows and comics and games I have, I will only ever watch/read/play/listen to very few of them. The rest I just have just to have. The only shows I regularly watch are on Hulu or other legal site, my music mostly comes from free Spotify or Slacker and I barely play the games I’ve actually bought. I quit cold turkey and got a Netflix account (which I think I’ll switch with a Hulu Plus soon).

    But there is something to piracy. It’s one thing to pirate when something is freely available, but what if it’s not? What if I want to watch something like QI or Adventure Time or some old series that will never see DVD or an anime unlikely to hit the states? I can either pirate or go without. I would much, much rather stream shows with ads – just like normal TV – but not everyone is willing to do that for some reason. That’s where the self-righteous pirate comes in. The greedy corporations won’t let us have what we want, so we have to take it. But this… this isn’t a greedy corporation. This is one guy. One cool guy and – you know what? I’m going to buy it right now. Five bucks? That’s nothing. I guess I won’t buy coffee for the next couple days. Piracy does have its place, but not here.

  • “Live From the Beacon Theatre” is amazing. I have watched it twice in 2 days.

    Louie (like Eddie Izzard, Turbonegro, Slayer, Kevin Smith or Margaret Cho ) has created a situation where he doesn’t have to play the game anymore. He can create something and sell it directly to his fans. We save a few bucks and he controls his art.. Awesome.

  • Theft is a chronic condition of society. Torrenting content is the 21st century version of putting a tape recorder’s microphone up to a tape player’s speaker, or shoving a record store’s CD under your jacket and walking out the doors before someone notices. The twist these days is that many people think they’re entitled to free entertainment–never mind that the artists & everyone necessary to the process also need to keep roofs above their heads.
    Louis is doing a great thing by cutting out so many extra levels between his art and us as consumers, and I hope many other comedians and musicians follow suit. The fact that he made so much money in profit in such a short time is a testament to the fact that if an artist makes something of sufficient quality and does the hard part of working their asses off for years to build respect and admiration among fans of the craft, there will be many more people willing to pay a fair price for their efforts than there are people who’ll steal it.

    To the guy whose band is giving their music away to build a fan base–best of luck to you. Write back to us when you have those fans and are still giving their stuff away for free. Remember that Louis isn’t up-and-coming. He’s career. He’s been doing it for over 20 years. He doesn’t need to beg people to listen or watch or come to his shows. He deserves to make a good living for his work.

  • I love what Louis C.K. did but it’s not revolutionary. As the article pointed out, artists are already doing things independently to get their work out there.

    Also, piracy doesn’t keep these progress from happening. Just think of Doctor Who. BBC UK let BBC America air Doctor Who on the same day b/c of piracy. They decided they would rather have viewers watch their channel (and all the ads) instead of downloading it from torrent sites. And it worked. Ratings in the US were great. (Either way the BBC makes a ton of dough from merchandise.)

    Authors are learning that if they give away the first chapter of their books, sales rise.

    It’s called a marketing funnel and it’s been true for decades. There are just more mediums to exploit the funnel now.

  • People steal copyrighted content because they can do it with almost no possibility of consequence. I bought a shit ton of music in the 80’s and started getting it all for free in the 90’s. I bought movies in the 90’s and started getting them for free in the 00’s. Then I started to notice the damage being done to the art I so dearly enjoyed.

    It seems like every big budget movie that has been released in recent years is a reboot because studios are afraid to take a chance with something new or revolutionary.

    The music industry has been putting out less and less original content as well. There are a handful of mainstream artists making good money touring and selling albums but the vast majority who make great music but don’t have the luxury of a wide demographic aren’t getting anywhere.

    I decided a few years ago to stop stealing these people’s livelihood not because I care so about them but because I want to be blown away by the art they are making 10 years from now. i just hope people start to realize what they are doing before the quality of product the entertainment industry puts out erodes to complete mediocrity.

  • Yeah you gotta love the guy talking about people so poor they have to look for food, but they have computer/internet access and don’t want to pay $5 for a special (which is pretty cheap.)

    That’s honestly what gets me to spend money on games, comedy and music, the three things I love so much and have so much access to on the internet. I’ve realized that whenever I have the ability to pay a fair price for something, I’d rather do that, especially when it’s going to help the artists directly. Louis is the guy to kick this off, too.

  • The torrenter has a point, albeit one with poor grammar and atrocious spelling. In fact, Francis Ford Coppola has talked about something similar. It has only been in the last 50 or so years that artists have ever made money with their art. The term “starving artist” had to come from somewhere, didn’t it? It used to be about getting people exposed to your art, not about making money at all. I admire what Louis C.K. did here and $200,000 profit is nothing to laugh about. But those artists without name recognition? They give away their work all the time, with the only hope of getting seen and heard.

  • The torrenter has a point, albeit one with poor grammar and atrocious spelling. In fact, Francis Ford Coppola has talked about something similar. It has only been in the last 50 or so years that artists have ever made money with their art. The term starving artist came from somewhere, didn’t it? It used to be about getting people exposed to your art, not about making money at all. I admire what Louis C.K. did here and $200,000 profit is nothing to laugh about. But those artists without name recognition? They give away their work all the time, with the only hope of getting seen and heard.

  • So because in the past, artists weren’t earning a living, they don’t deserve to? Or they shouldn’t? Sure there are tons of artists give away their art in order to be seen and heard, but just because that happens, does not mean that they shouldn’t earn a living. When I feel a connection to a work of art, it’s a natural high. A great album, a great comedy special, a great movie, can make me feel extremely good. And I happily give back, to help them live a better life, because they’re helping me live a better life.

    Also, It’s five bucks. C’mon. Even if you’re super poor, you can save up five bucks over time and get it.

  • I’m willing to bet everyone who commented on this article has illegally downloaded media at one time or another.

    Just because we all love and respect LCK so much doesn’t mean he’s immune from the problems that ALL monetized forms of art suffer.

  • Adam: You suck, and I’m willing to bet your band does too. Pawn your guitar, and go set up a paypal account.

    Sin Greaves: You don’t understand the meaning of the word socialism. You’re like a toddler that runs around screaming obscenities because it makes people laugh. You don’t know the meaning of it, but you know people respond to it, and so, like the toddler, people just respond because they think it’s cute that you’re simple (although the toddler will grow out of that).

    Mark LaCroix:
    1.) Apple still uses DRM for video.
    2.) “Hey I made this cool thing you should buy” is not equal to self-indulgent prompting.
    3.) This was absolutely a big risk for him. Name the last marquis comedian that tried to produce/direct/promote their own special without the financial backing of a network. The only reason you know about Nick Swardson’s new steaming pile of sixty minutes is because Comedy Central doles out the bucks to promote it every 15 seconds. The only reason you know about Louis C.K.’s new hour special, is because he’s so good at what he does that he could try something different, and people would still search it out, and promote it themselves via recommendations ranging from word-of-mouth to Words with Friends.
    4.) “Imagined” IP thieves? Go to piratebay or any other torrent site, and see for yourself the exact amount of people that are stealing from him right this very moment. And “pretend” corporate execs that would censor him? Even a shoe-shine from the 20’s like yourself (I assume, considering your lack of understanding of how media works today) should know better than to think that censorship isn’t a problem.

    Nathania: Your BBC analogy doesn’t follow considering the topic at hand, and that’s not what a “marketing funnel” is.

    Robin Burks: Artists have only been making money for 50 years? Seriously? I mean… c’mon…. seriously?
    The whole point of getting exposure for your art, is to gain an audience. Louis already has the audience, and so exposure is no longer his concern. And you should show more solidarity with your fellow ginger.

  • Justin, I am actually a filmmaker who has had his short films torrented (it was quite a shock to a small fry like me, I’ll tell you). So, I think I do have some perspective on the subject.

    As for CK’s big risk, I’m a freelance digital artist by day, and I’ve “risked” tens of thousands of my own stupid dollars on my films and projects (such as my autobiographical documentary about being a shoe-shine from the 20′s), knowing full well that there’s a less than 1% chance that I’d ever see more than a fraction of that money again, let alone make any profit. I can do it because I save my money and my day job pays reasonably well, but for someone at my income level, that’s risk.

    On the other hand, even if CK had lost *all* his money on the project and didn’t make a single sale, he’d still be fine, just saying. I’m sure CK would have taken it in stride, I’m not saying he was complaining or whining or anything, but it’s not a big risk until you risk bankruptcy.

    But… that’s totally beside the two points I was making…

    One: Pirating CK’s special would not be much easier for some jerk to do than pirating a copy of Tron Legacy, so putting it out there as an mp4 file without DRM is, in a practical sense, not any different than putting it out on DVD in a store. The people who download these things all go to PirateBay, it’s only the person who puts it up there in the first place who has to get around the DRM.

    Two: It *would* be a risk for a nobody like me to do something like this, I don’t have name recognition ([plug]unless you count my 8-bit Nerdist opening sequence[/plug]) and I don’t have the money to put up something of that scale.

    But someone who has the stature and amazing-ness of Louis CK could almost guarantee to make his money back within few months (and look, it took less than a week to make a quarter million bucks! Not bad!).

    There is indeed a lot of torrenting going on, but truthfully, at least 90% of people pay for at least 90% of the content they consume. CK has a built-in, and fiercely loyal, audience, and his stated fears that maybe everyone would just pirate it is paranoid and, frankly, insulting to his sizable fanbase.

  • (Said in a slightly high piched voice than usual with shrugged sholders) Some of us don’t take away the stuff Chris says in the podcasts about not being mean on message boards. Tisk* Tisk*
    !!Happy Holidays!!

  • The only thing worse than stealing from a comedian is being an internet White Knight. Since you posted this, I can already feel the tides of stealing stuff receding. So pointless.

  • I paid $5 for it and then I torrented the download – saving Louis the cost of bandwidth. Therefore, he made more than $5 from me.

    I am like Robin Hood or some shit.

  • Justin: I showed solidarity by paying my $5. I just think that sometimes artists get very greedy because the entertainment industry has trained them to think that way.

    However, it does not sound like that’s the case for Louis C.K. here. But some of the other comments make it sound like he’s lost millions and millions of dollars because of people who pirated the show. I look at it like this – these people probably would not have paid for it anyway, so no money is lost at all. And some people might have watched it and turned around and bought it, after the fact. That does happen occasionally, too.

    Finally, PayPal truly is not as accessible as some think. And for those in foreign countries, going through buying something via PayPal US is a major pain and sometimes impossible. So that is something to also consider.

    But like I originally said, $200,000 for something he did on his own? That’s actually pretty amazing.

  • Just because artist have been shit on and ripped off through the centuries doesn’t mean that they need to continue to be shit on. They need to start grabbing people by the balls and explain that they put there time, effort, soul, love, and fucking essence as a person into their art. and CK is worth hell of a lot more than the few click and 15 minute torrent wait you gave him.

    And pirates need to stop kidding themselves. Nothing is more annoying than a self righteous pirate.

    I can’t be the only person who not only feels like a shit bag for torrenting but gets so frustrated when they see people defending it.

  • Quick (and dirty) summary of this thread so far:

    Comments against torrenting:
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    Comments expressing no opinion on torrenting:
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    Comments insulting other people in this thread for supporting torrenting Louis CK’s special:
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    Comments supporting torrenting, but not Louis CK’s special:
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    Comments supporting torrenting Louis CK’s special:
    0

  • I went to kick ass torrents to see what comments have been posted on this video and was surprised to see that the #1 post was from Louis himself. I’ll post it below. I love how it takes this with a grain of salt and “politely” asks us to buy the special. He is definitely a quality human being.

    drainonsociety 179
    10 Dec 2011, 21:47

    please read this before you download this torrent

    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.
    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.
    Sincerely,
    Louis C.K.

  • I am a 24 yr old guy from the Pittsburgh area, just so you who I am internet. I think art is about getting what you have in your heart and your head out and showing it to the world. I also believe that in principle if a man doesn’t work, he doesn’t eat. This guy worked hard to do this for us. Gave of himself and went against the grain. He’s been doing it longer than I’ve been alive. So, yes he deserves the $5.

    lol And it’s bullshit that anyone of us would work on something and put that much energy into something to have someone belittle it by stealing it like it was nothing, and not be upset. If ya follow me…but I wanna hear what the BIG C has to say about all this?????

  • First, all I can think about is the fact that people who don’t have money for food are going to torrent it, but they have money for a computer and internet access? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure they aren’t torrenting at the library.

    Second, to the first poster (sorry if this has been responded to, thread is TLDR), Louis never complained about making $200,000. He said he was thrilled with how it was going, and it was a total success in his book, even though he made less than he would have with HBO. This way his special got to more people, guicker, and for less of their cash.