Home opinion-and-analysis Open Sauce A fresh approach to copyright works wonders

Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

Have your say and comment below.

Back in December, the Mexican-American stand-up comedian Louis C.K. did something that was way out of left field. He  had one of his shows recorded by professionals and put it online for sale. No big companies involved, no trimmings. And no DRM.

He cut out the middleman altogether and offered more an hour of quality stand-up for $US5. That isn't a typo. It cost five American dollars.

There was no encryption on the files he offered - it was DRM-free and would probably have been priced at $US50 or more had any of those so-called members of the copyright industry been managing the show. Of course, he would have got a very small percentage of the sale amount.

To those visiting his website, he had some simple words to say: he was doing this as an experiment and it was up to the buyer to do whatever they wanted to do with their purchase.

His appeal was very simple:

"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 these files 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 show, and let other people find it in the same way."

The response blew him away. When the total sales reached $US1 million, he decided he had to say something. He put up a screenshot from his PayPal account to prove it.

He gave away $US250,000 as bonuses to the staff who help him produce his shows. Another $US250,000 went to pay for the special production costs and the website he had built to sell the show. He gave away $280,000 to a bunch of charities and kept the balance for himself.

Louis has now put up a few more shows for download. He hasn't become greedy - the price is still $US5. And he is one of those elite comedians in the same class as Dave Chappelle.

Another American comedian, Aziz Ansari, has followed Louis' example.

There's a lesson in this somewhere for the middle-aged men who comprise the copyright industry and who are looking to squeeze every dollar, rouble, kopek, rupee, dirham, dinar and pound out of consumers and use the force of the law to sue every man, woman and child who downloads a media file.

But I doubt they will learn from Louis. They lack the basic intelligence that he appears to possess in abundance.

WEBINAR 26/27th May

Thinking of deploying Business Intelligence (BI)? So are your competitors.

And the most important, fundamental, tool for delivering your BI information to your users? Dashboards.

THIS IS ONE NOT TO MISS SO REGISTER NOW

DON'T MISS OUT - REGISTER NOW!

FREE WHITEPAPER - RISKS OF MOVING DATABASES TO VMWARE

VMware changed the rules about the server resources required to keep a database responding

It's now more difficult for DBAs to see interaction between the database and server resources

This whitepaper highlights the key differences between performance management between physical and virtual servers, and maps out the five most common trouble spots when moving production databases to VMware

1. Innacurate metrics
2. Dynamic resource allocation
3. No control over Host Resources
4. Limited DBA visibility
5. Mutual ignorance

Don't move your database to VMware before learning about these potential risks, download this FREE Whitepaper now!

DOWNLOAD!

Sam Varghese

website statistics

A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Connect