National Film Board's archives go free and online

It's a good day if you like any combination of the following: the Internet, Canadian film, free stuff, and enlightened copyright practices.

The National Film Board of Canada has put its archives online, all 100 per cent free and awesome. There are 700 films up already, with more on the way. This is a good thing. Not only does it give Canadians unrestricted access to a big chunk of their cultural history, but it may also help the NFB sell more of their films. And when you sell more, you make more money. Money that can be used to support more great Canadian films.

Contrary to what the copyright hystericists may tell you, making work freely available online typically delivers real commerical benefits. Look at

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Monty Python (which I do, frequently). After years of having their skits and movies pirated all over the Internet, they launched their own free YouTube channel. As a result, their sales on Amazon have jumped a spectacular 23,000 per cent. That's right. Twenty-three thousand per cent.

So, good move NFB. More access, more enjoyment, and maybe even more profile.

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