Comedian Louis CK Gets BitTorrent Content Removed By Asking Nicely

from the please,-thank-you dept

A reader, who prefers to go by the name Angry Young Man, points us to an interesting set of comments on a torrent of a recent stand up comedy performance by the comedian Louis CK, where it appears the comedian himself showed up on Mininova and asked nicely for the content to be removed, even explaining his reasoning:

HI. I’m Louis CK. Can you please take this down? This show is a work in progress and was not intended to be passed around the internet. I have absolutely no problem, personally, with file sharing, and if you take everythign I have on the market on DVD, CD, and put it up for free downloading, I don’t care. But this is an artistic and personal request. Please take this torrent down. thanks.

Following that, the guy who uploaded the torrent complied:

Sorry Mr. CK, I have taken down the direct downloads and asked Mininova and ViPeers to remove the torrent. I thought you would have preferred the reverse, your live concerts in ****ty audio quality would be ok, especially for what you said about NBC taking down your Late Night appearance, and your high quality DVDs and stuff wouldn’t be ok since you need ***** for that stuff. I sincerely apologize for the torrent and the misunderstanding.

And people say that those putting up torrent files don’t respect artists?

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Comments on “Comedian Louis CK Gets BitTorrent Content Removed By Asking Nicely”

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Sergio says:

Plus he did it himself

I bet it was also better received because Louis CK did this himself. Whether he was conscious of this or not, he did a one on one interaction with a big fan, which probably both made his day and crushed him (due to the somewhat negative response to what the fan had done). That is a lot more respectful and was treated with a lot more respect than if some lawyer did this on behalf of Louis CK.

Cecil Green (profile) says:

one might argue...

“And people say that those putting up torrent files don’t respect artists? “

One might argue that if said persons had respected the artist in the first place, they wouldn’t have created the torrent. Or, they would’ve asked politely, since we’re talking about politeness here. “Oh, but they would’ve said ‘no.'” — Exactly.

Anonymous Coward says:

In the days of common courtesy: ask nicely, and if necessary, contact proper authorities to attempt a peaceful resolution. Everybody walks away (somewhat) satisfied, and life goes on.

In the days of greed: find any excuse to slap somebody with a massive lawsuit that demands ludicrous amounts of monetary damages to be paid, thus completely ruining somebody’s life forever, but what do you care, you’re rich now.

Blitze says:

In my opinion… this is a better story than another lawsuit against company A because some popular star decided they wanted even more money than they have.

Also, a quick post / e-mail to the person in charge will often get things done a hell of a lot faster than contacting a lawyer, waiting for the court date, and suing some one who has xx days to take the content down.

Jon says:

I think some people are missing the point. Louis CK didn’t ask to have the content taken down because of anything to do with money:

“I have absolutely no problem, personally, with file sharing, and if you take everything I have on the market on DVD, CD, and put it up for free downloading, I don’t care.”

He asked to have it taken down for artistic reasons rather than because he felt the torrent was infringing him and damaging his sales.

If Louis CK had asked (even politely) for it to be removed because he thought it was hurting his sales then this would be a different story. I think there is an understanding here that eventually the completed content will be available.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If Louis CK had asked (even politely) for it to be removed because he thought it was hurting his sales then this would be a different story.

I’m unconvinced that’s so. The fact is that Louis needs to eat like the rest of us, and this is what he makes his living off of. Torrents are put up by people who like what the artist does, and they are disinclined to end an artists’ career.

Anonymous Coward says:

i don't get it

so what is this comedian’s stance on copyright supposed to be?
dvds/albums – buy
live perfs – see locally, youtube/tpb
works in progress – please don’t youtube/tpb, it’s not indicative?

i can semi-understand the first as it’s his main source of revenue, but dying off (so he can’t bitch). the second is totally legitimate. if i live in topeka fucking kansas, there’s no way he’s coming here, so me seeing his work on youtube/tpb is only going to increase the possibility that i go out and buy his work. and the third i can understand (so long as he didn’t care that when it comes to fruition, he doesn’t mind it ending up on youtube/tpb).

i mean, i’m not advocating going out and pirating his work — i’m just wondering what his stance is on copyright. if he’s all for mixing promotion with new outlets like youtube/tpb, that’s great. but if he’s just pulling a bleeding heart card on you, that’s lame.

Louis CK (user link) says:

Re: i don't get it

I’ll explain it to you. yes it’s me and I am a self-googling idiot.

The reason I asked this fellow to take the torrent down is because the show I performed that he recorded was material that I was developing for the eventual recording as a new DVD/special. That’s how I structure my act and my year on the road. I start the year with no jokes. I start writing, doing short sets in New York. Then I do longer and longer sets until I have a solid hour. Then I go on the road, starting in clubs and building the bigger and bigger venues. Finally, in the fall, I do a theater tour, during which I perfect the material through repetition and finally I record it as a special and then I throw that material away.
Once you commit something to film, tape or whatever, once it becomes a recording and certainly once it hits the internet, there is a permanance about it that transends live performance. This is something that is very important to me. It doesn’t have to be important to anyone else. But because I care very much about it, I asked this person to take down this material because it wasn’t meant to be experienced as a recorded event. This doesn’t even mean that the show was beneath or not as good as what will be recorded. It just wasn’t meant to be that way, not by me.
So I ASKED him to take it down. I didn’t demand it. I don’t expect him to sympathize or care how I feel about it being out there. I only hope he does. It turns out he did, which I’m grateful for.
As I said in my post to him, I don’t view this as a property issue. I don’t feel that he’s stealing from me by putting my material online. He’s just working against what I want in terms of timing of people hearing my stuff when I want them to. whether or not that carries any weight with him is up to him. If I felt he was stealing from me. I wouldn’t ask. I would sue him. I guess.
Does that make sense to you?
By the way, once the DVD comes out, if he wants to put that clip back up, that is totally fine with me. I reposted to him and indicated as much.
anyway, this was far more than I intended to write. I’m going to bed now.
Take care, all.


ddbb (profile) says:

Re: Re: i don't get it

Besides being one of the funniest people on the planet, LCK also seems like a reasonable guy. I’ve been a big fan for a long time, and now I look forward to purchasing the new DVD when it comes out. Honestly, I am only posting this comment because I am a fan. I have a feeling that the guy who posted the torrent will also remain a fan after this exchange. This seems like another example of Mike’s discussions of the success in using various distribution channels in a comprehensive business plan, whether it was intended or not.

Rubberman says:

You attract more flies with honey...

Being polite costs nothing and takes very little effort, yet people respond to it, usually (not always) in positive ways, as this example shows. Just ask yourself, which of these approaches to a noisy neighbor would you respond to in a positive manner?

1. If you don’t keep that effing noise down, I’m going to call the cops!
2. Could you please tone it down a bit? It’s keeping my kids awake and they have school tomorrow. Thanks.

The first would just raise my hackles, whereas the second I might be able to relate to. So, I give a big thumbs-up to Louis CK, at least for his attitude.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:


To me, it is amusing that in the ROW (rest of the world) there is a great respect for science and innovators, with “artists” and “actors” being respected and loved, but in context to what they provide (which, IMO, is far less).
In the US things are “bass-ackward”, with Idle Americans (or is that American Idols?), etc., being worshiped as if they were somehow as important as people who do .
It’s like the discussion panels, where a “journalist” (no other qualifications) is on an equal, or superior, plane to an expert with extensive qualifications!

That Stupid Guy says:

Response to Louis CK

The Op submitted a response:

“Hi Mr. CK,
Yeah, in the process I thought I was doing something cool to actually help you, but yeah, I see that I didn’t think things through at all. I’m not doing that again. Anyways, both said they would remove the torrent, so, if you have any problems with it in the future, Mininova and VIPeers both have copyright policies and you can submit a take-down request to copyright (at) and copyright (at)”

Both Mininova and VIPeers said they will remove the torrent, for example:


As requested, the file has been banned from our service.

Thank you for using VIPeers.


The VIPeers Team.”

So, if the file is still available for download and you respect Louis CK, then please contact Mininova and Vipeers to ask for removal of the torrent.

The Op had good intentions, just didn’t think things through.

Alex & Wynter says:

Hi Louis!!

Saw your show last night in London, Ontario. Great stuff! I googled you this morning and this came up.

I read your response above, and I can understand about the whole torrent thing. I think it’s like when a band has early material leaked – that kind of stuff isn’t representative of a finished product. (still good though, but not as polished)

Thanks for the awesome show!!


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