Robot 6

Quote of the day | Louis CK and ‘the death of comic shops’

Louis CK

“Louis CK is described as a hero for circumventing the entertainment industry. If he made comics he’d be called THE DEATH OF COMIC SHOPS.”

Girl & Boy creator Andrew Tunney, commenting on the experiment by comedian Louis CK to make his new standup special available for download for just $5, forgoing traditional distribution channels.

Within three days, the special had been downloaded more than 110,000 times, amounting to a profit of about $200,000 for the comedian. “This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you,” CK acknowledges, “but they would have charged you about $20 for the video. They would have given you an encrypted and regionally restricted video of limited value, and they would have owned your private information for their own use. They would have withheld international availability indefinitely. This way, you only paid $5, you can use the video any way you want, and you can watch it in Dublin, whatever the city is in Belgium, or Dubai. I got paid nice, and I still own the video (as do you). You never have to join anything, and you never have to hear from us again.”

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19 Comments

I don’t see the problem. The mark-up on DVDs and Blu-Rays is still utterly ridiculous, especially when they’re usually things like films that have made millions already. Moreso than paper comics, discs are easy to print and manufacture. More to the point, the show’s his property. It’s not like Marvel or DC or Dark Horse deciding on the methods books are released in, because barely any of their creators own the properties they use. The way CK explains it is incredibly fair to his fans, but it’s not a method you could apply to comics at all, except in very specific circumstances.

I dont think he’s talking about Marvel or Dc. He’s talking about creator owned comics. Or at least thats how it seems to me (using louis ck as an example). Having the backing of a company is still big but as a creator putting out a creator owned book you cant rock the boat cause it will cause the publisher problems with the stores. so if you have a creator owned book and you cant afford all the marketing or the kind of push your book would need you have to stick with selling 5000 print copies (through your publisher) and maybe 500 digital (at a ridiculous similar print price) cause the industry is so tied into marvel and dc and you cant afford to get screwed by them, but releasing digital same day cheaper is screwing over book stores. so now you have to get a second job while putting out your comic. just to ensure stores stay in business and the evil digital doesnt kill them…how is that fair? and its not like im saying death to comic shops. i love comic shops, but there seems to be a very much double standard here.

by book stores i mean comic shops.

At least someone in Hollywood gets it. The entertainment industry including Hollywood, the video game industry, and the comics publishers increasingly want to control how you use the content you buy from them. That’s why we’re getting these repressive DRM schemes. Basically they don’t want us to really own the movies we buy. What they want to do is charge us a lot of money to “rent” the content from them. I applaud Louis CK for his stance.

However, I don’t think what he’s doing is analagous to the death of comic shops. What he’s doing is more like what Marvel did a few years ago when they started releasing dvds with pdfs of the entire runs of their comics at an incredibly reasonable price. But they scrapped that program so they could charge us $3.99 for DRMed files of single issues.

I’m not even a Louis CK fan. Gonna buy it anyway to support his reasoning. Digital downloads suck because I don’t “really” own the product, even though I paid for it in the same way I would a physical product.

Wow, nice — he doesn’t just see the personal advantage in circumventing the industry, he also has a clear understanding of what’s wrong with region locks and DRM.

This is a good, good thing. The more people in the public eye bring this stuff up in a forum where the public will here it, the better off the public is.

Especially with crap like SOPA getting rammed through Congress.

The two have nothing to do with each other. Comic books are a niche market. DVDs are mainstream. He’s taking the money away from Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Apple.
I don’t hear anyone freaking out when a publisher (Top Cow for example) sells books on their website. How is that any different than what Louis CK is doing?

This literally has nothing to do with comics.

“Louis CK is described as a hero for circumventing the entertainment industry. If he made comics he’d be called THE DEATH OF COMIC SHOPS.”

Some comics creator is just anacdotally stating that some in comics would call a comparable incident in comics “the death of comic shops”. Not necessarily to any real effect.

Cool story and i like LCK but unless this got picked up here because he’s a comic himself? I don’t know.

Jim, why does he owe anyone anything for his work? He paid for it himself, and he’s selling it himself. How does Wal-Mart or Best Buy deserve a cut?

Also, if you don’t hear people freaking out about publishers selling books on their website, you haven’t been listening.

God bless you, Louis CK.

10 years ago he’d be called the death of video stores. But see, they’re already dead.

The real power of this story is how many people were willing to pay for it when he made it so easy to steal. I got it immediately and it is worth way more than the $5 I spent.

@sandwich eater:

To be fair, I assume the issue is not about preventing you from owning the material, it’s about preventing you from reproducing the material for all of your friends.

He is the best living comedian since George Carlin passed away.

@Glenn: Can you name a single DRM scheme that has ever prevented a product from being illegally copied?

I can name one that effectively locked the entire market into a single product line for playing music.

And another that’s in the process of doing the same with ebook readers.

But I can’t name one that ever actually prevented a song or ebook from showing up on Pirate Bay.

This is an unfair comparison. Most of us who like comics appreciate the local mom-and-pop stores that serve our fix. These people are hard-working, creative, and seldom really given much reward for their efforts. That does not describe the corporate and retail companies that Louis CK cut out of the picture. More power to LCK. Less to Time-Warner and Disney.

@Glenn, it may not be their intention to prevent us from owning the content, but when they place so many restrictions on the content that we can’t use it effectively, they’ve basically taken ownership away from us. However, I do think it is the intention of the companies to create a situation where we own a product in name only.

Lately every company is talking about “the cloud.” They want us to store all our entertainment and work on their remote servers. This gives them control over our files.

I think companies would like it if they could charge us extra for every person who views a DVD. Like if you gathered with 4 of your friends to watch a movie they’d like it if they could force you to buy 4 more digital copies of the movie before it would play. Because theoretically, they lost 4 sales because your friends watched the movie at your house instead of buying it and watching it at home by themselves. That may sound ridiculous, but I think that’s where we’re headed.

Anyone saying this isn’t comparable to or relevant to comics needs to remember the ridiculous lengths DC went through to keep retailers onside over the summer, when they decided to go day-and-date, or the hissy-fit that many retailers threw when they thought Dark Horse were going to make a rational and consumer-conscious business decision about digital distribution, in just the last two weeks.

The quote, or the experiment it referred to by LCK, might not be a position you agree with, but irrelevant? No, it’s pretty on-the-nose.

Bear in mind also that mainstream comics weren’t always locked into this ridiculous niche/clique/fetish model we’re stuck with now. I love my comic book shop, but the relationship the industry and the audience has with them is a pretty ridiculous 25-year-long Stockholm Syndrome three-way.

Why has this even made it on here? Other than Louis CK being googled a lot since he released LATBT?

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