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The Almighty Buck Entertainment

Paramount Claims Louis CK "Didn't Monetize" 288

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the louis-ck-living-in-poverty-by-industry-standards dept.
Weezul writes "Paramount's 'Worldwide VP of Content Protection and Outreach' Al Perry has insinuated that Louis CK making $1 million in 12 days means he isn't monetizing. Al Perry asserted that 'copyright law gives creators the right to monetize their creations, and that even if people like Louis C.K. decide not to do so, that's a choice and not a requirement.' Bonus, Slashdot favorite Jonathan Coulton apparently grossed almost half a million last year."
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Paramount Claims Louis CK "Didn't Monetize"

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  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:53AM (#39700665)
    He got a million in 12 days, how is is not gaining money ? Wait I get it, he sould have made 20 million 19.99 of them goes to them and he only get 10000$ ?? Ok sorry apparently I don't know much about buisness...
  • by Roogna (9643) on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:53AM (#39700671)

    What would Hollywood know about monetizing anything? After all from what they keep saying it's my impression that they loose hundreds of millions on every production just to have their hard work stolen by Evil Pirates(tm). So sounds like he made at least $1 million more than they ever do

  • Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:53AM (#39700675)

    Copyright does not give creators the "right to monetize their creations," it gives them a limited duration (hah) in which they can control duplication and redistribution of their work. Louis C.K. monetized his creation in the way he saw fit and it paid off handsomely. It might not have turned into many many millions of dollars, but it turned a healthy profit, sans DRM and other industry pushed bullshit.

    Fuck you, Al Perry. You're deliberately blind to his success because it points out that you're completely wrong.

  • Not monetizing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by inode_buddha (576844) on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:56AM (#39700709) Journal

    Not monetizing *for whom?*

    He made a mil in 12 days. For most of us that is a lot of monetizing. So for whom is it not monetizing, and why?

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:57AM (#39700713)

    They didn't say he didn't make any money. They said he chose not to 'monetize.'

    You probably don't know what that word means.

    You monetize content when you license it to a big studio and they take all your money.

  • Re:Comedy Specials (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:03PM (#39700775)
    which is why he sold his latest special on his own website and made the money he deserves. fuck paramount
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:07PM (#39700811)

    Monetize. As in "Now, now, Louis, be a good boy and bend over so we can continue monitizing you and your peers"

    P.S. the captcha is "spreader," now that's just gold.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by justforgetme (1814588) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:09PM (#39700823) Homepage

    Apparently Monetization [] is creating an environment (or set of rules) for a thing that isn't money so that one can use said thing like money. Like the well known phrase "I'll pay you four van Goghs for that ratburger".
    Which is kind of odd really for the Entertainment industry to go that way since you usually monetize non precious things (common metals or rock, hemp etc.) to monetize representations of art like music files, video recordings or image files is openly admitting that those things do not have a value other than the perceived/mandated one and that production of said forms of legal tender is negligible (aka you can't steal an mp3 or gif because it has no value of its own).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:09PM (#39700825)

    How about that? Another AC who conveniently forgets, or doesn't know, that Hollywood uses 'creative accounting' with their films.

    Please go look up how the movie 'Titanic', actually lost money on the books, through billed well over $1Billion globally. Or how Stan Lee had to sue to get his massive share from Spiderman 1, when they tried to claim it lost money on the books, though billed well over $300 million domestic US in the first few months. Oh, right. Contracts. Has nothing to do with monetize, which is exactly what this guy is ranting about! He didn't contract through us, which is why they're complaining.

    What you're thinking monetize is, isn't what the Paramount bobble-head is talking about with this doublespeak.

  • by Chrutil (732561) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:11PM (#39700835)
    I suppose Monetize means using "Hollywood accounting" to pretend no money was made from enormous profits.
    No question Louis CK made good money of it (rightfully so), and I really hope others that use the same methods will as well.
    Jim Gaffigans recent Mr. Universe, for example (and yes - get it and see it - best ever)
  • Re:Idiots (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:11PM (#39700843)

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

    --Upton Sinclair

  • by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:12PM (#39700853) Homepage

    "The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website."

    Al is just pissed that a neophyte producer was successful without him.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 19thNervousBreakdown (768619) <> on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:12PM (#39700861) Homepage

    Monetizing means squeezing the maximum amount of money possible out of something, and letting everyone and their brother get their fingers into it. Much like Al Perry's mom, heyoo!.

    *ahem* Anyway, it's unlikely Louis CK would have made a penny more (and pretty likely he'd have made a lot less less) if he'd have gone with Paramount. But we would have paid at least $20, so four times as much, and gotten a DRM'd-to-hell-and-back file, if we were even lucky enough to get one that can be played more than once. In return, Paramount promises to "promote" his shows, so he theoretically makes it up in volume. Paramount would make a bunch of money, the artist would have made less and pissed his audience off at the same time, everybody (who counts, i.e. the Paramount execs) is happy!

    When Louis becomes over-saturated because Paramount would rather have $10 today than $2 year-after-year and can't sell tickets anymore, well, sorry bud, guess you're just not funny. Nope, it has nothing to do with the fact that we forced you into a terrible TV show because of some shitty clause in your contract and let Comedy Central rerun your specials until everybody knew them word for word and spent all of your money on over-promoting your stand-up shows that you don't have time to write new material for because we're running you ragged "monetizing" your every breath. Not our fault, the numbers don't lie. Next!

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by notgm (1069012) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:14PM (#39700879)

    while this is a subtle sarcastic jab at the big studio, it's not far from correct, but it isn't entirely insightful, either.

    to monetize is to turn a profit. If Louis CK paid all of the salaries of all the workers (including himself), paid all appropriate fees and whatnot, and sent all of the surplus from the gross proceeds to charity, he didn't monetize. Al Perry is right in saying that he didn't monetize, because there was nobody to turn that profit over to.

    HOWEVER, his assertion that profit should drive art/entertainment is what we should take issue with. profits are for corporation or group-funded ventures, not individually founded enterprises. the whole corporation=person loophole has killed his perception.

  • Re:Idiots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j-pimp (177072) <zippy1981@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:17PM (#39700911) Homepage Journal

    You're deliberately blind to his success because it points out that you're completely wrong.

    The problem is Louis removed may market inefficiencies created by the RIAA/MPAA, and those inefficiencies create jobs!</sarcasm>

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:20PM (#39700955)

    Movies that Hollywood has claimed a loss for: - Forrest Gump (as a result, the author refused to sell the studio the rights to the sequel) - Spiderman (Stan Lee successfully sued over this one) - My Big Fat Greek Wedding (most of the cast then sued the studio for a share of the profits) - Babylon 5 ("Basically", says Straczynski, "by the terms of my contract, if a set on a WB movie burns down in Botswana, they can charge it against B5's profits.") - Lord of the Rings (resulted in Peter Jackson not directing The Hobbit, also - 15 actors suing the studio for not receiving their cut of the profits) - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (reported a $167 million loss... which is roughly equal to the film's budget.)

    Gee, I wonder how many Hollywood elite are homeless and bankrupt because of this?

    Oh wait, that's right I forgot. None of them.

    'Nuff said.

  • by Jeng (926980) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:21PM (#39700967)

    Considering that googling still didn't pop up the relevant results, the information was not in the article, and this is not a tech issue in the least I agree that a little bit of background would have been nice.

    Just a little link to a story about his selling direct to customers would have sufficed.

  • by mounthood (993037) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:23PM (#39700991)

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmauro (32523) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:40PM (#39701133)

    That's the problem the studio is complaining about not being allowed to take their cut, mainly because they were cut out of the process entirely.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:45PM (#39701179)

    Of all those things, the commercials they show before movies now is the most egregious thing in my opinion. I can't say for sure when I saw my first ad before a movie at the theater (but it can't have been before the mid-90's, because I don't remember it happening when I was growing up) but it's pretty much ubiquitous now.

    Still, I guess it doesn't really matter much to me because I go to the movies maybe 3 or 4 times a year, mainly because it's getting ridiculously expensive on top of all that "monetizing" going on and it's hard to justify the expense for a couple hours of entertainment when the shitting movie is going to be out on Bluray within a few months and Netflix and Cable a month or so after that.

    The only movie I even care to see this year in theaters is The Hobbit, and that's mainly because I've been following the production diaries and am intrigued to see what the quality of the film and the 3D work is going to be given the extensive amount of technical expertise involved in the filming. Nothing else, not even The Dark Knight, has me excited to go to the theater. I probably spend more time watching home made shit on Youtube than I do consuming Hollywood crap these days, honestly...

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:48PM (#39701217)

    Of course he utilized copyright laws. The whole "make something and offer it for sale" model intrinsically utilizes copyright laws. That's why he made $1m instead of everyone just going off to TPB or whatever and downloading it for nothing. Without copyright laws there would be no moral environment in which paying $5 for something would be remotely interesting to people. People paid because they respect the moral principle from which copyright law derives. This moral principle is often lost amongst all the shouting about how studios rip everyone off. Here is proof that people want to pay creators. Everyone needs to stop using things like this as "proof" that copyright law is wrong.

    I'm not even sure who this guy is anyway. Who is Louis CK, and how did he get famous off his own back without the assistance in any way shape or form from the copyright-based corporate businesses he's now apparently a poster-child against? [Google] *sigh* Oh, he didn't. He's just another guy who got famous working within that system and now seeks to undermine it once it's no longer any use to him. Jeez, how original :p

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by residieu (577863) on Monday April 16, 2012 @12:56PM (#39701309)

    No, if they'd produced his show for him. They wouldn't have made any money either. If they made money they'd have to pay him, so they'd insist to both Louis CK and the IRS that the show did not make any money whatsoever.

    We should feel lucky that despite the fact that even the biggest blockbusters don't make money, all these media companies stay in the business and keep putting out movies and music for us. Less generous companies would look at all the money-losing movies and get into another line of business.

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday April 16, 2012 @01:01PM (#39701367)

    He's selling. That's how he made that money. You know, exchange of goods for services rendered.

    The primary issue is that a clean quicktime movie is a good, but it's non-excludable and non-rivalrous. Nor is it really a service, since it's mechanically reproducible for marginal cost and no labor. In effect he's like a free-to-air PBS station, and his website is like the pledge drive that guilts you into ponying up there instead of going to bittorrent.

  • by PhrstBrn (751463) on Monday April 16, 2012 @01:05PM (#39701399)

    Basically, what you're saying is, even though the same ads, materials, and movie are used in both the theatrical and post-theatrical release of the movie, they roll all the production costs into the theatrical release, instead of spreading the production costs between theatrical and post-theatrical release. Remind me how this isn't shady accounting?

    It's like saying it cost me $1 million dollars to design a new car, I then sell $750k worth of cars to claim a $250k loss, and when the next year comes I add a pinstripe for $100 and claim it's a brand new car and that the investors aren't entitled to their cut of the profits because this car isn't the same car.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by robot256 (1635039) on Monday April 16, 2012 @01:45PM (#39701787)

    The moral principles behind copyright law are totally fine. Where your argument breaks down is where you assume the present scope of copyright law is in any way consistent with its moral basis. When people paid for what they could have got for free, they did it because they respect the moral principles, *not* because they respect the law. When I enjoy your work, I have a moral obligation to help you stay alive so that you can produce more work. I do not have the same obligation toward the corporation that bought the rights 60 years after your death. The additional incentive during your lifetime would have been so negligible that society is much better off with free access than they are with providing that incentive.

    For your second point, are you suggesting that artists who become famous by having the music companies promote them while taking all/most of their profits for the first N years somehow owe those companies for the rest of their lives? Have you not considered whether fame is a finite commodity for which a finite payment should be rendered? If anything, CK should be applauded for showing that the corporations do not have a monopoly on ways to make money from art. He engaging is classic capitalism: He decided that the services they rendered were not worth the price they charged. If the corporations really provide something of value for other artists, then his actions won't affect them. If everyone bails, and is the better for it, then it was only bullying and monopoly pressure that kept the corps in business and they deserve to fail. If everyone bails, and is no better for it, then I guarantee that the industry will regrow in short order, but with significant and beneficial changes. It's a win-win-win a far as I can see.

  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <<gro.suoirafinmo> <ta> <hsals-cire>> on Monday April 16, 2012 @02:25PM (#39702261) Homepage Journal

    That's a fairly cynical view. Another view is he provided a convenient way for people to support entertainment they liked. I don't contribute to Kickstarter projects out of guilt. I don't click on the contribute via PayPal links on Open Source projects out of guilt. I do it as a way to reward the people who make stuff I like. I full well realize that they are likely to make more of it if they don't have to worry so much about food and things.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.