Comedian Louis CK Gets BitTorrent Content Removed By Asking Nicely

From TechDirt:

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.



  1. I don’t believe that will last. So, one guy had a conscience when confronted? $100 bucks says this content is already up on other sites that don’t care (TPB), and that it’ll be back up on Mininova within a week because a dozen other people will upload it. Asking nicely is, ultimately, a failed strategy.

  2. Asking nicely is, ultimately, a failed strategy.

    As opposed to sending cease-and-desist letters, legal threats and in the end, triggering the Streisand effect?

  3. We don’t know that Louis CK wouldn’t have gotten lawyers if his kind request was denied. But its just nice to see that he took the civil approach first.

  4. As opposed to sending cease-and-desist letters, legal threats and in the end, triggering the Streisand effect?

    So… you’re saying that “asking nicely” as just as ineffective as cease-and-desist? Also, I think Louis CK just triggered the Streisand effect on himself by talking nicely.

    Anyway, I have seen stuff pulled down from using cease-and-desist. A while back, I heard Harlan Ellison talk about some guy who put his writing up on the web. Harlan told him to take them down and the pirate bitched and complained, saying Harlan would never catch him, mocking the writer. Well, they did track down the guy, and he suddenly couldn’t stop apologizing. The way to deal with piracy is go after places like the Pirate Bay and shut them down.

    I should add that I’m a copyright holder, and we will continue to fight piracy – and pirates are fooling themselves if they think they can undermine our ability to earn a living from our work and we’re going to sit around and let them screw us over. Would you stop fighting if the guy in the cubicle next to yours was stealing half of your monthly check?

    My guess is that Louis CK will find this same material up on other pirate sites. Places like the Pirate Bay will tell him to go screw himself if he wants them to take it down (just like they’ve done in the past to other people), and the long-term lesson Louis CK will learn is that talking nice will get you nowhere in the long run with pirates. Once that happens, the pirates will have taught him the uselessness of talking nicely to pirates. Congratulations.

  5. I don’t think The Pirate Bay are the pack of immoral evil sharks that you describe. Their mocking replies are always directed at major labels lawyers and bodies like the RIAA or the MPAA. They have actually showed some support to creation, for example ‘Nasty Old People’ (a movie distributed under a Creative Commons license).

    Your discourse is simplistic. I don’t deny the potential of harm of piracy, especially for small entities. But the bulk of money is made by businessmen, with the artists getting just a small part. That in itself can be found questionable too.
    I don’t deny that Louis CK’s material can and will be found on other sites despite his civil and classy action. There are assholes everywhere, hey, maybe your neighbour posts on 4chan’s /b/ board. But, Streisand effect or not, Louis CK’s positive attitude is eventually beneficial to him in terms of public image, while a negative attitude will only attract ridicule.

    Filesharing also has an enormous cultural potential in that it facilitates access to material out of the mainstream. Underground movies, rare records and such, most of which are forgotten and don’t generate any revenue, can suddenly be rediscovered by a larger audience. I remember the 1990s as a cultural void for me, when I lived in the countryside without Internet and stuff like Jodorowsky’s movies were simply impossible to find.

    Before you accuse me of anything, I’ll remind that I’m also an artist. I’m far from being anywhere near rich but I really don’t mind if my stuff is shared around (though I doubt any of it is); it reaches more people that way. Hell, I even put it for free on my blog.

    Yes, I know other artists may not be so cool with that, but in the end, just as cassettes and videotape didn’t kill music and cinema, the same can be said of p2p. People do, and will continue to pay for culture and entertainment.

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