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Writer Wednesday: Amazon's New AI Policy

Hello and good morning authors. It's another Writer Wednesday, where we talk industry, craft, and more. Today, it's an important #icymi moment, especially for authors pursuing self publishing. Amazon recently rolled out their latest policies regarding AI content. Now, Amazon is one of the key players in setting down rules for regulating AI content on the open market because of their position as a major retail platform and, essentially, a publisher. So let's breakdown what this new policy means and the distinctions made regarding 'AI Generated' content and 'AI Assisted' content.

Breaking Down Amazon's New AI Policy

According to Amazon's new policy, author's must now disclose if their content is AI Generated. This includes text, images, or translations, and the author must disclose this for new content and republished/ edited content. To clarify, even if an author has gone in and made substantial edits after using AI to generate content, AI will still be considered the main contributor.

This new set of guidelines does make an effort to draw a distinction between AI Generated and AI assisted content. Authors who create the original content and then use AI Based tools such as Grammarly to edit, refine, error-check, and otherwise improve their content do not need to report the usage of those tools.

That is to say, AI generated content is still allowed to be published, but Amazon will be cracking down on the guidelines it already has in place.

“You are responsible for verifying that all AI-generated and/or AI-assisted content adheres to all content guidelines. For example, to confirm an AI-based tool did not create content based on copyrighted works, you're required to review and edit any AI tool outputs.”

This is important, since many of the current AI tools have been criticized for scraping copyrighted works, especially images from digital artists, and spitting them back out with few edits. However what this new policy doesn't clarify is what Amazon intends to do with the data it is collecting about AI generated works or what a crackdown on AI generated content entails. In a post, Amazon stated:

"We are actively monitoring the rapid evolution of generative AI and the impact it is having on reading, writing, and publishing, and we remain committed to providing the best possible shopping, reading, and publishing experience for our authors and customers."

Despite the reporting system, at this time Amazon is not requiring authors to disclose publicly which works are wholly AI generated, but this could change in the future. Likely, it will take the public demanding to be informed before Amazon decides to do so.

AI remains a source of contention among authors and publishers because of its lack of regulation. That lack of regulation is already playing a big part in the current strikes of the WGA and the Screen Actors Guild, which have been on strike for nearly two months, with little to no contact from the studios, which does not bode well for future content creation. The WGA has deep concerns over the use of AI and the impact it will have on screen writers, focusing on the "clear guarantees that the use of AI will not affect writers’ pay, credit or separated rights.” (Chloe Melas & Daniel Arkin, NBC)

Likely, Amazon is waiting to see where the wind blows with public sentiment, and Studios may be waiting for the same. When the current content runs dry, will the public back the creators who entertain them? Will enough pushback from readers make Amazon disclose which books are entirely AI generated? That remains to be seen. The resources and further reading below includes links to both the new Amazon policy post and the KDP community article.

Resources and Further Reading

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