Author Exposes AI-Generated Books Sold on Amazon Under Her Name, Raises Concerns About Company Policies

Technology

Jane Friedman, an author, recently uncovered the existence of counterfeit AI-generated books being sold on Amazon using her name. Subsequently, Amazon has taken action by removing these books from its listings.

Several instances have emerged where writers have voiced concerns over their content being utilized without authorization for training extensive language models. The realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is experiencing rapid evolution, with new advancements constantly emerging. Recently, an author gained attention after exposing the presence of multiple books attributed to her name on Amazon, which were, in reality, counterfeit and unrelated to her work. In a blog post, the author discussed this predicament, unveiling that up to 5 books ostensibly authored by her on Amazon were, in fact, products of AI-generated content.

While not all, a significant portion of these books had been penned by AI, leading to a detrimental impact on the author’s reputation. In the initial stages, when the author approached Amazon, the company declined to remove the books, citing the absence of a trademark on her name. Nonetheless, the author’s proactive engagement on social media appears to have influenced the company’s stance, prompting them to ultimately eliminate the counterfeit books from both Amazon and Goodreads.

Proliferation of AI-Generated Books on Amazon

Jane Friedman, a seasoned author with an extensive 25-year background in the media and publishing sector, has brought to light a disconcerting scenario. Despite her notable works including titles like ‘The Business of Being a Writer’ and ‘Publishing 101’, she discovered books such as ‘How to Write and Publish an eBook Quickly and Make Money’ and ‘Igniting Ideas: Your Guide to Writing a Bestseller eBook on Amazon’ being peddled on Amazon under her name. Friedman revealed that these books, often deemed ‘garbage’, were published with her credited as the author.

In a blog post on her personal website, she exposed that an individual was capitalizing on her name, exploiting it for personal gain. She indicated that these books appeared to be crafted by AI, a suspicion she confirmed based on her own experiences using such tools to evaluate their ability to replicate her work. Notably, Friedman has been an active blogger since 2009, resulting in an extensive collection of her content available online for training Language Models.

Elaborating further, she mentioned, “I also do a lot of vanity prompting, like ‘What would Jane Friedman say about building an author platform?’ I’ve been blogging since 2009—there’s a lot of my content publicly available for training AI models. As soon as I read the first pages of these fake books, it was like reading ChatGPT responses I had generated myself,” she added.”

Infiltration onto Goodreads Platform

The saga continues, as Friedman disclosed that these fraudulent books were also making their way onto her official Goodreads account. Removing them from this platform has proven to be a prolonged and arduous endeavor.

With this disconcerting turn of events, Friedman advocates for the establishment of a robust verification system to confirm an author’s identity. In her plea, she wrote, “We are in dire need of safeguards against the avalanche of misattributions and inaccuracies. Amazon and Goodreads, I implore you to establish mechanisms to verify authorship or allow authors an uncomplicated way to thwart the inclusion of deceitful books under their names. Urgency is paramount.”

In a tangentially related incident, a coalition of authors recently united to voice their concerns against AI companies, urging them to cease using their works for AI training. In an open letter, more than 8,500 authors contended that the proliferation of AI could potentially oversaturate the market with subpar and algorithmically-generated literature.”

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