8,000 Authors, Including Nora Roberts, Margaret Atwood, and Jodi Picoult Are Fighting Back Against Generative AI
More than 8,000 authors have joined forces to urge tech leaders to respect writers’ rights in training AI algorithms.
The Authors Guild’s Open Letter demands consent, credit, and fair compensation for the use of copyrighted materials.
The letter highlights the threat of AI flooding the market with machine-written content and the decline in authors’ income. The authors request permission, fair compensation, and payment for AI-generated output.
Renowned authors have appealed to the leading tech company leaders, urging respect for writers’ rights and interests when training AI algorithms.
The Authors Guild’s Open Letter to Generative AI Leaders has been signed by more than 8,000 writers, including Jennifer Egan, Nora Roberts, Jodi Picoult, Louise Erdrich, Michael Chabon, Suzanne Collins, Margaret Atwood, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and more. The letter calls on the CEOs of OpenAI, Alphabet, Meta, Stability AI, and IBM to obtain consent, credit, and fairly compensate writers for the use of their copyrighted materials.
The Authors Guild argues that generative AI poses a threat to the livelihood of writers and tech companies have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that their practices do not harm the literary community.
In the letter, authors argue that generative AI relies on their writings, mimicking and reproducing their language, stories, style, and ideas. Countless copyrighted books, articles, essays, and poetry serve as the “food” for AI systems, without any compensation, they wrote. Considering the significant financial investment in AI technology, authors demand to get paid for their writing used in training the systems, “without which AI would be banal and extremely limited.”
“As a result of embedding our writings in your systems, generative AI threatens to damage our profession by flooding the market with mediocre, machine-written books, stories, and journalism based on our work,”the letter said.
According to the letter, authors have witnessed a 40% decline in income over the last decade. Moreover, the median income for full-time writers in 2022 was merely $23,000. The signatories argue that AI further hampers the ability of writers, especially young and under-represented voices, to make a living from their profession.
The Authors Guild made three key requests. Firstly, to obtain permission to use their copyrighted material within generative AI programs. Secondly, to ensure fair compensation for both past and ongoing usage of writers’ works in these programs. Finally, to provide fair compensation for authors’ works in AI output, regardless of whether they may be considered infringing under existing laws.
A recent survey by the Authors Guild gathered the opinions and experiences of over 1,700 writers from different backgrounds on generative AI. One of the key findings was that 90% of writers think they should be paid if their work trains generative AI systems, and 65% support a collective licensing system that would collect and distribute fees to authors for using their work in AI training.
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