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AI Website Prosecraft Faces Backlash for Unauthorized Use of Authors’ Works

TL;DR

  • AI website Prosecraft faces backlash for scraping authors’ novels without permission, raising copyright concerns.
  • Authors worry about unauthorized use of their works to train AI models, potentially leading to profit without their involvement.
  • Lack of transparency in AI-generated content creation highlights the need for industry regulations to protect authors’ rights.

An AI-powered website named Prosecraft has come under fire for using artificial intelligence to analyze and scrape tens of thousands of novels without authors’ permission or compensation. Created by computer scientist Benji Smith in 2017, Prosecraft was designed to be a database to assist aspiring writers in enhancing their work by comparing their prose to that of established authors. However, the website’s actions have ignited a controversy as authors express concerns over the use of their intellectual property and copyrighted material.

Authors discover unauthorized use of their novels

Over 25,000 works of fiction from more than a thousand different authors were collected using AI-generated linguistic algorithms. Authors whose works appeared on Prosecraft argue that they were not approached for consent regarding the inclusion of their novels in the database. Many authors share the worry that their literary creations are being exploited to train AI models, potentially leading to the creation of new content that could be sold for profit without their involvement or approval.

Australian author Holden Sheppard, known for works like “Invisible Boys” and “The Brink,” was shocked to discover that his novel had been added to Prosecraft without his consent. Sheppard expressed his fury, emphasizing that he had devoted significant time and effort to crafting his book and that its unauthorized use deeply angered him.

AI-generated novels and potential misuse

A significant point of concern for authors is the utilization of the scraped data from Prosecraft to train other writing software programs. One such program is Shaxpir, developed by Benji Smith, which continues to operate even though Prosecraft has been shut down. Authors fear that their works could be repurposed for various AI models, including popular ones like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, potentially leading to financial gain or damage to their reputation.

Amazon’s involvement raises additional concerns

Author Jane Friedman, known for “The Business of Being a Writer,” discovered that AI-generated books bearing her name were being sold on Amazon. This incident highlighted a lack of transparency surrounding the use of AI in creating literary works. Although Amazon initially resisted removing the AI-generated titles, they eventually took them down after the situation gained attention.

Authors call for transparency and regulation

Devin Madson, an Australian author, acknowledged that data scraping itself isn’t inherently wrong but stressed the importance of transparency in these processes. Authors are concerned that the lack of clear guidelines and ethical considerations in AI-driven content creation exacerbates existing biases in the publishing industry.

As the backlash intensified, Benji Smith decided to take down the Prosecraft website. He issued an apology to authors who felt their works had been unfairly used but defended his actions by stating that he believed he was complying with the Fair Use doctrine by publishing only summary statistics and small text snippets from books.

Concerns extend beyond prosecraft

While Prosecraft’s actions stirred controversy, industry experts point out that the larger concern lies with global AI companies like Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI. These companies have employed authors’ works to train their generative AI models, raising questions about compensation and copyright infringement. The Australian Society of Authors’ CEO, Olivia Lanchester, urged tech companies to seek licenses and offer payment for using authors’ creative works to develop AI tools.

Impact on authors and creative writing

The appropriation of authors’ works by AI entities without compensation threatens the livelihoods of writers who already struggle to earn a sustainable income from their creative efforts. Melbourne-based queer fiction writer and poet Emma Osborne criticized such actions as “wildly unethical,” arguing that AI tools that produce prose undermine the years of dedicated craftsmanship that authors put into their work.

The need for AI regulation and industry guidelines

Authors and industry professionals argue that the current lack of AI regulation is exacerbating the situation. They call for government policies and industry codes of practice to ensure that writing remains a viable career option for future authors. As concerns mount and controversies like Prosecraft emerge, the demand for proactive measures to regulate AI’s impact on the creative industry becomes increasingly urgent.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Glory Kaburu

Glory is an extremely knowledgeable journalist proficient with AI tools and research. She is passionate about AI and has authored several articles on the subject. She keeps herself abreast of the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning and writes about them regularly.

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