In a blog post, YouTube touts the program by highlighting an increase in sales of Monty Python DVDs after the group made dozens of clips available for free at a dedicated Monty Python channel.
"When Monty Python launched their channel in November, not only did their YouTube videos shoot to the top of the most viewed lists, but their DVDs also quickly climbed to No. 2 on Amazon's Movies & TV bestsellers list, with increased sales of 23,000 percent," YouTube boasted.
While the Monty Python channel itself is official, and obviously doesn't infringe on the entertainers' copyright, the conclusion would apply equally to pirated content: Making entertainment available for free increases demand, which ultimately results in sales.
Groups like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails already proved that people will pay for music that's available for free. People obviously pay for DVDs of TV shows like "Seinfeld," that are still available on the air for free.
Yet, big media companies nonetheless insist on sending takedown notice after takedown notice to YouTube (and other video-sharing sites), in attempts to control how their content is distributed. And Viacom is still pursuing a copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube for hosting clips from shows like "South Park."
The marked increase in sales of Monty Python should make these companies reconsider whether they wouldn't be better served by partnering with YouTube instead of continually fighting the site and the users who post clips.