AI Mimics Author's Style and Sells Unapproved Books on Amazon

JJohn August 10, 2023 4:51 PM

Recent reports reveal concerns about AI-generated content sold on Amazon using an author's name without her consent. These unauthorized books appear to be created using advanced AI tools, triggering debates about copyright protection, AI regulation, and the future of creative industries.

AI-generated counterfeits on Amazon

Renowned author Jane Friedman stumbled upon an alarming discovery - counterfeit books bearing her name were being peddled on Amazon. Not written by her, these imposter books had been created using sophisticated generative AI models. They mirrored her writing style closely, making them appear authentic to unsuspecting readers. The titles were also cleverly designed to reflect the themes she often explores in her works, further enhancing their deceptive appeal.

Authors' concerns over AI misuse

The advent of AI tools such as ChatGPT, capable of generating volumes of seemingly credible text, is causing a stir among authors and writers. They are growing increasingly uneasy about the possibility of such AI technologies using their work, without their permission, to train these models. The key worry is that once trained, these AI systems can easily imitate the authors, leading to unauthorized reproductions of their works.

Calls for AI legislative protection

Recognizing the potential threat posed by AI to the creative industry, US lawmakers and representatives, including the Authors Guild, convened last month. The objective was to deliberate over the implications of AI and explore the necessity for legislation that safeguards writers from unauthorized AI usage. The emphasis was on transparency about AI training methods and obtaining consent from authors when using their works to train AI models.

In response to the controversy, Amazon took swift action by removing the fraudulent books sold under Friedman’s name. The company, known for its stringent content guidelines, reiterated its commitment to investigating any concerns raised promptly. Amazon reassured the public and authors that it heavily invests in maintaining a trustworthy shopping experience and shields customers and authors from misuse of its service.

The Authors Guild has been actively collaborating with Amazon since this past winter to tackle the issue of AI-written books. Although Amazon has been responsive when the Authors Guild flags fake books, identifying counterfeit books can be challenging. A potential solution proposed is allowing authors to opt out of having their work used to train AI models, making it harder to create copycats.

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