Authors Guild proposes new AI training use clause

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(Image by Maria Korolov via Midjourney.)

The Authors Guild has come up with a new model contract clause that prohibits the use of an author’s work for training AI without their express permission. Authors — or their agents — can request this clause be added to their contracts if they don’t want AIs to be trained on their writing.

“The clause is a response to recent concerns about publishers and platforms adding language to their terms that allows them to data mine books for use in training AI models that will inevitably compete with human-authored works,” the organization said. “We recommend the inclusion of such clauses unless and until there are licensing solutions that allow authors to be paid for these uses. Even then, authors who do not want their works used in this manner should be able to retain the ability to say no.”

I personally don’t mind if AIs are trained on my writing style but I also don’t mind being paid for it. But, more importantly, I very firmly believe that everyone should be able to decide this for themselves and have the option of opting out if they want to.

According to the Authors Guild, publishers can try to sneak in these clauses in ways that might not make it obvious that they’re about AI training.

“Such clauses sometimes refer to AI expressly, but other times they are more oblique, giving a publisher or distributor the right to use an author’s work for ‘internal purposes,’ ‘research,’ or ‘data mining,'” the organization said in its statement.

If you’re faced with a click-through agreement that you can’t negotiate, you can let the Authors Guild know by emailing [email protected].

The Guild’s Model Trade Book Contract and Literary Translation Model Contract have both been updated with the new clause.

Here’s what the model clause looks like:

No Generative AI Training Use.

For avoidance of doubt, Author reserves the rights, and [Publisher/Platform] has no rights to, reproduce and/or otherwise use the Work in any manner for purposes of training artificial intelligence technologies to generate text, including without limitation, technologies that are capable of generating works in the same style or genre as the Work, unless [Publisher/Platform] obtains Author’s specific and express permission to do so. Nor does [Publisher/Platform] have the right to sublicense others to reproduce and/or otherwise use the Work in any manner for purposes of training artificial intelligence technologies to generate text without Author’s specific and express permission.

The Authors Guild is the oldest and largest professional organization for published writers in the US, with more than 13,000 members. They advocate for working writers to protect free speech, freedom of expression, and authors’ copyrights. They also fight for fair contracts and authors’ ability to earn a livable wage, and provide a welcoming community for writers and translators of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and journalism.

MetaStellar editor and publisher Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist, writing stories set in a future virtual world. And, during the day, she is an award-winning freelance technology journalist who covers artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and enterprise virtual reality. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Email her at [email protected]. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.

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