Following Radiohead into the wild world of micropayments, comedian Louis CK is offering his latest concert film, Live At The Beacon Theatre, as a DRM-free download or stream for $5.
Once payment is tendered, downloaders can both stream and download the movie twice. Once those four chances are used up you have to pay again, although because the MP4 file is DRM-free there is nothing stopping you from watching again and again, projecting it on a building across the street, or making a tiny flip book of Louis CK excerpts. However, Louis does ask that you not “torrent” his film:
To those who might wish to “torrent” this video: 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 this video 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 video, and let other people find it in the same way.
While I’m sure this is already available on the pirate boards, it’s a bold step for a comedian to break with the traditional models of distribution and it’s a testament to CK’s understanding of his young, plugged-in audience. Given that his eponymous television show is probably the best thing on TV since Freaks & Geeks and that his comedy is top notch, it behooves you to check it out.