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Louis C.K. issues stern copyright notice to prevent reporting on his standup shows

on May 05, 2019, 12:36pm

Louis C.K.’s attempted comeback has been filled with cringeworthy jokes. There was the time he reduced his sexual misconduct controversy to his own financial hits, or when he mocked Parkland survivors for thinking they were “interesting because you went to a high school where kids got shot…” Of course, considering the nature of C.K.’s hard fall from grace, these types of bits have been the focus of numerous news reports, including from this very publication. Now, the disgraced comic is trying to prevent further reporting by issuing a copyright statement for his current run of shows.

As writer James Shotwell noted on Twitter (via Vulture), comedy clubs that book C.K., such as Acme Comedy Co. in Minneapolis, have posted a copyright notice about his upcoming shows. The message informs ticket holders that the gigs are “phone-free” and attendees will have to place their devices in secure Yondr pouches for the performance; that’s actually becoming standard practice for comedians, as phones can be distracting and videos shared online essentially render the jokes “dead” for future shows.

(Read: How Louis C.K. and the Rest of Us Failed in His Comeback Attempt)

But here’s where C.K. takes things a bit further than normal:

“Louis CK owns all rights in the content and materials, including any jokes and sketches (the “Materials”), delivered during his performance. The Materials may not be copied, translated, transmitted, displayed, distributed, or reproduced verbatim (the “Use”), in whole or in part, in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, without the express prior written consent of Louis CK. Any Use of the Materials without the express prior written consent of Louis CK is strictly prohibited and shall be subject to all available legal remedies, whether in equity or at law at the cost of anyone who violates this prohibition.”

Copyrighting your material is one thing, but preventing people from reporting your remarks at a public, live event “in whole or in part, in any form, media, or technology” is a bit extreme. Essentially, C.K. is trying to block anyone from even quoting something he might say on stage.

(Read: We Won’t Get Fooled Again: Staying Alert in the Post-Weinstein Era)

Like everything C.K. does at this point, the move has brought divisive responses. Many have pointed out the gross irony of C.K. asking for consent considering his whole habit of masturbating in front of female comics was predicated on an abuse of stature. Others, like Conan writer Laurie Kilmartin, see the logic and value in such a copyright move, but stop short of agreeing with C.K. coming back at all.

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