Amazon to require self-publishers to declare if content sold on site is AI-generated
Amazon has introduced new rules and guidance for Kindle books generated by artificial intelligence tools, including the requirement that authors inform it when content is AI-generated.
The company announced the new rules on its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forum on Wednesday. It said in a statement: “Beginning today, when you publish a new title or make edits to and republish an existing title through KDP, you will be asked whether your content is AI-generated.” KDP allows authors to self-publish their books and put them up for sale on Amazon’s site.
Amazon also added a new section to its content guidelines focused on AI, which now includes definitions of “AI-generated” and “AI-assisted” content and states that sellers are not required to disclose when content is AI-assisted.
AI-generated content is defined by the company as “text, images or translations created by an AI-based tool”, even if substantial edits are made afterwards. AI-assisted content is classified as that created by authors and sellers themselves but where AI tools are used to “edit, refine, error-check, or otherwise improve”.
The guidelines also state that AI-based tools can be used to “brainstorm and generate ideas” without disclosure, as long as the text or images were ultimately created by the human author.
The new rules come weeks after the site removed suspected AI-generated books that imitated the work of real authors. In August, the author Jane Friedman complained that several books, which she believed were created by AI tools, were falsely listed as being written by her. The books were subsequently removed by Amazon.
In Amazon’s forum announcement, the company wrote that it is “actively monitoring the rapid evolution of generative AI and the impact it is having on reading, writing, and publishing” and that it remains “committed to providing the best possible shopping, reading, and publishing experience for our authors and customers”.
It added: “We will continue to keep the interests of our authors, publishers, and readers at the forefront of our thinking and decision-making.”
The new guidelines state that sellers are responsible for reviewing and editing any AI output to “confirm an AI-based tool did not create content based on copyrighted works”.
Amazon did not say what it will do with the information about AI provided by sellers and whether it will disclose to buyers when Kindle books are AI-generated.
Nicola Solomon, the chief executive of the UK’s leading industry body for writers, the Society of Authors, said: “Readers deserve transparency when they purchase a copy of a creative work, so we have regularly highlighted the need for clear labelling of AI-generated content in our discussions with industry.” Solomon said she and her colleagues welcome Amazon’s announcement, as it “will ultimately benefit human authors and their readers”.
However, she added: “While this will apply to new and updated KDP publications, we would like to see Amazon ask the same question of all books published on KDP.” She continued: “The past year alone has seen a huge influx of poor-quality, rapidly generated titles in the KDP store alongside human-created works. We also look forward to understanding how readers will be able to filter out AI-generated content from search results when they browse for books.”
The society is “seeking guarantees from Amazon that, when it acts as a publisher or as a supplier of services to authors – whether via KDP, Amazon Crossing, Thomas & Mercer, or any other venture – it will respect our recommended contractual wording on AI and, ‘not allow access to the work (by the publisher, or by any sublicensee) in any manner which could help the learning or training of artificial intelligence technologies. In addition, it will not without the author’s consent use or allow the use of AI in association with the production of this work, including but not limited to AI for translating, narrating, design of the cover or other artwork.’”