Louis C.K.'s DRM-Free Internet Experiment Nets Over $1 Million and Counting

Looking for a last minute gift idea? Time is running out, but if you have $5 to spare, a sense of humor, and want to flip the finger at big media companies who insist on shackling their content with sometimes draconian-level DRM schemes, you need to purchase Louis C.K.'s "Live at the Beacon Theater" comedy download.

Many of you already have. Louis C.K. cut out all the middlemen and made his performance available for purchase on his website for a Lincoln note, which entitles you to download the 720p video up to three times and watch it wherever and whenever you want. There's no DRM, just a reasonably priced 1-hour video that you're free to burn to DVD, and he even put up free DVD box cover and disc artwork you can print out.

The experiment worked. After just four days, Louis C.K. posted a note on his website announcing he was in the black for $200,000. By that time, he had already paid for the production costs (around $170,000) and website (about $32,000), and $200,000 was what was left, in profit, even after accounting for PayPal fees and taxes.

More recently, Louis C.K. posted another update announcing that in 12 days time, he hit a million dollars in his PayPal account.

"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 sharing this experience and since it's really your money, I wanted to let you know what I'm doing with it," Louis C.K. said.

He went on to break down where all that money is going, and if you didn't respect the man for his humor or for proving you don't need DRM to have a successful product launch, you have to give him kudos for treating his staff to a big time bonus.

"The first $250,000 is going to pay back what the special cost to produce an the website to build," Louis C.K. said. "The second $250,000 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 $280,000 is going to a few different charities... That leaves with me with $220,000 for myself. Some of that will pay my rent and will care for my children. The rest I will do terrible, terrible things with and none of that is any of your business. In any case, to me, $220,000 is enough out of a million."

And well deserved. Louis C.K. said he'll give even more away if he makes another million, yet another reason to hand this guy a five spot, which you can do here.