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Comedian Louis C.K. Makes $1 Million Selling DRM Free Video via PayPal on his own website

Louis CK’s “experiment” has gotten lots of attention.1 It’s a good rebuttal to people who insist that without copyright you will be “unable to sell” books, music, movies, etc. What they mean to say is that you face more competition if you can’t use the state to stop your competitors, so it’s more difficult to sell. But it’s not impossible to sell.

Louis C.K. explains on his site that he made about $1M in just 12 days, by offering to sell his latest comedy show, DRM free, for $5 (I bought a copy too):

Another statement from Louis C.K. (December 21, 2011)


PayPal at $1m!hi. So it’s been about 12 days since the thing started and yesterday we hit the crazy number. One million dollars. That’s a lot of money. Really too much money. I’ve never had a million dollars all of a sudden. and since we’re all sharing this experience and since it’s really your money, I wanted to let you know what I’m doing with it. People are paying attention to what’s going on with this thing. So I guess I want to set an example of what you can do if you all of a sudden have a million dollars that people just gave to you directly because you told jokes.So I’m breaking the million into four pieces.the first 250k is going to pay back what the special cost to produce and the website to build.The second 250k is going back to my staff and the people who work for me on the special and on my show. I’m giving them a big fat bonus.

The third 280k is going to a few different charities. They are listed below in case you’d like to donate to them also. Some of these i learned about through friends, some were reccomended through twitter.

That leaves me with 220k for myself. Some of that will pay my rent and will care for my childen. The rest I will do terrible, horrible things with and none of that is any of your business. In any case, to me, 220k is enough out of a million.

I never viewed money as being “my money” I always saw it as “The money” It’s a resource. if it pools up around me then it needs to be flushed back out into the system.

The thing is still on sale. I hope folks keep buying it. If I make another million, I’ll give more of it away. I’ll let you know when that happens because I like you getting to know what happened to your 5 dollars and bringing awareness to the bla bla bla.

Okay I really gotta go now. Thank you again. I will now stop bugging you. I really hate being in the news this much so I’m gonna just disappear for a while.

Happy hollidays. Louis C.K.



  1. See my previous post Wake up, media moguls: Louis C.K. no-DRM video makes $200K; also Mike Masnick’s posts Louis CK’s ‘Experiment’ Brings In 110k Sales, $550k Gross, Over $200k Net… In Four Days; Louis CK: Connecting With Fans & Giving Them A Reason To Buy By Being Polite, Awesome & Human. Update: see also Masnick’s post Louis CK: Over $1 Million In Sales In Just 12 Days For DRM-Free Download. []
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