The Rise of AI in the World of Publishing Scams: A New Frontier

NNicholas August 12, 2023 2:57 PM

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to disrupt various industries, it is now making its mark in the publishing world - but not in a positive way. Scammers are starting to utilize AI to scale their fraudulent activities, causing major concerns for authors and publishers alike.

AI: A new tool for publishing scammers

When we talk about the intersection of AI and the publishing industry, it's not all rosy. Scammers are finding clever ways to leverage AI, specifically large language model AI, to create text and sell it. Given that AI-generated text isn't subject to copyright, this provides a lucrative opportunity for those with less-than-ethical intentions. The book market is a prime target, as it's one of the few places where consumers still pay directly for text. This problem isn't just a minor annoyance, it's causing a significant increase in fraudulent submissions and creating a sense of alarm among authors who view this as a threat to their livelihoods.

The Author's Guild isn't sitting idle amidst these developments. They've voiced concerns over potential copyright infringements, particularly as large language models used by AI systems are often trained using text from pirated books. The Guild has issued an open letter to AI company CEOs, calling for compensation for writers whose works have been used, without their permission, to train AI. The Guild argues that the use of their work gives value to the AI systems, and thus, they deserve to be compensated for past and ongoing use of their work.

AI-generated e-books: The new wave of fraud

Adding fuel to the fire, some have started advising scammers to exploit AI technology to create and sell e-books on platforms like Amazon. The catch? These AI-generated books are often marketed under the names of legitimate authors, creating a ripe situation for fraud. This alarming trend has led to authors filing lawsuits against AI companies alleging misuse of their copyrighted works. This is a clear indication of the escalating tension between authors and the AI industry.

Despite the controversy, the AI industry continues to forge on. New companies are emerging, like Prosecraft, which has been accused of stealing copyrighted books to train its AI and develop its services. On the other hand, approximately 50 new AI-focused companies that aim to create, package, edit, and market books have launched in the past year. While these developments may offer potential benefits, they also further exacerbate concerns about copyright infringement and the protection of authors' rights.

The financial impact of AI on authors

Authors are already fighting an uphill battle when it comes to income. With the advent of AI in the publishing industry, this battle is becoming even steeper. The misuse and exploitative use of AI are seen as attempts to siphon off even the little income that authors manage to earn from their works. This new challenge adds to the pile of concerns for authors who are already struggling to make ends meet.

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