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Comedian Louis C.K. Turns to Copyright in Comeback Attempt

Louis C.K. is making a stab at a comeback, less than two years after sexual misconduct allegations cost the comedian his television show, a Netflix special and a variety of movie roles. The only catch is that the funny man doesn’t want anyone recording his performances as he tries new material out on the road.

Comedy clubs are forcing C.K. fans to put their cell phones away if they want to see the shows, New York Magazine reports. They’re also posting notices making clear that the comedian owns the copyright in all of the jokes that he performs and intends to use “all legal remedies” to prevent anyone from taping and sharing or otherwise transmitting them without his blessing.

“Louis CK owns all rights in the content and materials, including any jokes and sketches (the “Materials”) delivered during his performance,” the sign posted before a recent C.K. show at the Acme Comedy Co. in Minneapolis reportedly read. The club also required attendees to put their phones in YONDR pouches, which lock phones without taking them away from their owners.

C.K. is not the only performer by far who has gone to certain lengths to limit unapproved live recordings. Tapings cause particular issues for comedians working on new material on the road, New York Magazine points out, because a joke is largely treated as “dead” once it has been recorded.

But there are additional reasons what this particular comedian may want to play it close to the vest. C.K. has drawn criticism since recently going back on stage from those who say his new material is tone deaf. That includes arguably minimizing the sexual misconduct allegations that landed him in the hot seat in the first place, as well as reportedly taking aim at the Parkland High School shooting survivors.

Legal Protections for Copyright

The Louis C.K. news highlights how important a legal tool copyright protection can be for the producers of a wide range of creative material.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection that extends to creative works, such as literature, music, art, drama and other types of expression. It covers the life of the author plus an additional 70 years and is available regardless of whether the protected work is ever published.

A person whose work is being used without consent has the right to sue for copyright infringement. These legal actions are designed to stop the unapproved use of copyrighted work and compensate the copyright holder for any damage caused by the infringement.

Consult an Intellectual Property Lawyer

If you are grappling with copyright infringement or the theft of other intellectual property theft, you are well advised to seek the counsel of an experienced intellectual property lawyer.

At Glancy Prongay & Murray, our firm has an extensive track record of assisting people and businesses in a wide range of intellectual property disputes. Call us at (310) 201-9150 or contact us online to speak with an intellectual property lawyer today.