Unauthorized AI Written Books Being Sold Under Popular Author’s Name

An author has raised concerns after she stumbled upon newly published books using her name on Amazon–however, she did not write these books, instead they seemed to have been produced using artificial intelligence.

Jane Friedman, a seasoned author with a portfolio of books and expertise in the writing and publishing industry shared with CNN that a reader searching for more of her work purchased one of these counterfeit titles from Amazon. The titles of these fake books closely resembled the subjects she usually writes about, yet the content read as if someone was mimicking her style through the utilization of a generative AI model.

“When I started looking at these books, looking at the opening pages, looking at the bio, it was just obvious to me that it had been mostly, if not entirely, AI-generated … I have so much content available online for free, because I’ve been blogging forever, so it wouldn’t be hard to get an AI to mimic me” Friedman shared with CNN.

With the advent of AI tools like ChatGPT, capable of swiftly and inexpensively generating substantial volumes of convincing text, several writers and authors have expressed concerns about the potential threat this new technology poses to their work. Some have voiced their reservations about their writings being utilized to train AI models that could subsequently imitate their unique styles.
“Generative AI is being used to replace writers — taking their work without permission, incorporating those works into the fabric of those AI models and then offering those AI models to the public, to other companies, to use to replace writers,” Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the nonprofit authors advocacy group the Authors Guild, told CNN. “So you can imagine writers are a little upset about that.”

Last month, lawmakers in the United States engaged with representatives from creative industries, including the Authors Guild, to deliberate upon the ramifications of artificial intelligence. During a hearing of a Senate subcommittee, Rasenberger advocated for the establishment of legislation safeguarding writers from the influence of AI. This legislation would encompass regulations demanding AI companies to disclose their model training methodologies transparently. Over 10,000 authors, including prominent names like James Patterson, Roxane Gay, and Margaret Atwood, joined an open letter urging leaders in the AI industry, such as Microsoft and OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, to secure consent from authors prior to employing their work for training AI models and to ensure equitable compensation when such use occurs.

After discovering the fake books, Friedman posted  on X (formerly known as Twitter) and a blog post about the issue. Several authors responded saying they’d had similar experiences.

The fabricated books were also added under Friedman’s name on the literary social platform Goodreads. They were only removed after she brought the issue into the public eye.

The Authors Guild has been collaborating with Amazon since the previous winter to tackle the challenge of AI-generated books. Rasenberger noted that the company has been receptive to notifications from the Authors Guild regarding fraudulent books linked to authors. However, identifying these books can be challenging, especially when legitimate authors might share identical names.

The organization also aspires to have AI companies grant authors the choice to refrain from having their work employed to train AI models, thereby minimizing the creation of imitative content. Additionally, the Authors Guild hopes for clear labeling of artificially generated text. Rasenberger emphasized the necessity for companies and publishers to persistently invest in human-crafted creative work, even in the face of the seeming convenience offered by AI.

However, with the explosion of AI generated material, it appears as if are only just seeing the beginning of things and only time will tell how things will play out.

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