YouTube has received an unexpected boon after Viacom ordered it to take down thousands of copyrighted video clips.

After the media pounced on the story at the beginning of February, YouTube's traffic increased 14% according to analysts at Hitwise.

This is double the average weekly traffic increase since the start of the year, according to LeeAnn Prescott, writing on the Hitwise Intelligence Analysts Weblogs.

On the 20 February, YouTube was the 12th most visited site in the US; MySpace, Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, MSN, eBay, Live Search and Facebook were all ahead of it.

However, it is receiving more hits that all of the TV network websites combined. The 56 TV cable and broadcast networks received 0.48% of US internet traffic during the week of the 17th February, while YouTube received 0.60%.

"This is a landmark event in the changing face of web traffic and entertainment consumption, now that entertainment seekers are now more likely to go to YouTube than any other television network or gaming website", Prescott wrote.