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The business of the internet may be killing off artists online. That’s the view expressed by Copyright Alliance CEO Sandra Aistars in a column in today’s Congress Blog. Aistars presents three examples of recent internet business practices that may lead to the decline of independent artists and the increased piracy online. Ironically, it wasn’t that long ago that the internet was the home of indies who couldn’t find a place at a major media company.

Here are the examples:

  • YouTube Hardball: Reports abound that Google is getting ready to exclude content from indie music companies who don’t agree to license their content on YouTube soon to appear subscription music service. What’s more, artists will be denied access to the tools that enable them to identified pirated copies of their work on YouTube. So, legit indie work will vanish. Infringing copies will remain. Go figure.
  • Google Images’ Disappearing Act: We reported that Google has changed its image interface so that viewers are not automatically directed to the originating site of an image when browsing. This has resulted in declines of some 80 percent on visits to some photo rich sites. Google’s only response has been to offer artists the opportunity not to be listed at all (i.e. to remove themselves from the Internet.
  • Amazon’s Tricky Navigation: Amazon has been navigating some tricky shoals in its tough negotiations with publishers, notably Hachette. When negotiations between the two reached an impasse Hachette disappeared from Amazon. Its authors have been the ones held hostage, without access to the market’s leading sales engine.

Aistars concludes by saying that it’s time of a prolonged stroke of the chin (my words not hers) when the internet’s most outspoken evangelists create the conditions that cause creativity to dry up online.