After months of complaints from the Authors Guild and other groups, Amazon.com has started requiring writers who want to sell books through its e-book program to tell the company in advance that their work includes artificial intelligence material.
The Authors Guild praised the new regulations, which were posted Wednesday, as a “welcome first step” toward deterring the proliferation of computer-generated books on the online retailer’s site. Many writers feared computer-generated books could crowd out traditional works and would be unfair to consumers who didn’t know they were buying AI content.
In a statement posted on its website, the Guild expressed gratitude toward “the Amazon team for taking our concerns into account and enacting this important step toward ensuring transparency and accountability for AI-generated content.”
A passage posted this week on Amazon’s content guideline page said, “We define AI-generated content as text, images, or translations created by an AI-based tool.” Amazon is differentiating between AI-assisted content, which authors do not need to disclose, and AI-generated work.
But the decision’s initial impact may be limited because Amazon will not be publicly identifying books with AI, a policy that a company spokesperson said it may revise.
Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger said that her organization has been in discussions with Amazon about AI material since early this year.
“Amazon never opposed requiring disclosure but just said they had to think it through, and we kept nudging them. We think and hope they will eventually require public disclosure when a work is AI-generated,” she told The Associated Press on Friday.
The Guild, which represents thousands of published authors, helped organize an open letter in July urging AI companies not to use copyrighted material without permission. James Patterson, Margaret Atwood and Suzanne Collins are among the writers who endorsed the letter.