Only after public criticism did Amazon and Goodreads remove several books from their catalogs for which a well-known US author was named as the author, but which probably came from an AI. This was made public by Jane Friedman, who herself became aware of the titles written under her name. Friedman has written several guides for authors, and the works posted under her name are at least superficially based on it with titles such as “How to Write and Publish an eBook Quickly and Make Money”. Neither on Amazon nor on Goodreads did Friedman claim to have been removed. This was only possible with a blog entry in which she made the discovery public.
Authors have to be careful themselves
Under the caption, “I’d rather see my books pirated than this,” Friedman lists five “junk books” she discovered on Amazon under her name. Already on the first pages it becomes clear how much the texts contained resemble the answers from ChatGPT, she continues. Whoever hired them apparently wanted to benefit from trust in their name and deceive people. Since the works have not yet been rated, she could simply ignore them, also because she doesn’t know what to do. After all, she does not own the copyright to the works and not really to her name. But at the same time the titles were even listed on the book recommendation platform Goodreads on their author page.
Friedman then describes how she still tried to get the titles removed. In response to a request in this regard, Amazon asked for the number for the relevant trademark registration. However, because she does not own a trademark for her name, it only meant that there would be no stop to sales of the titles. On Goodreads, on the other hand, she has no influence on her profile page, so you have to contact volunteer moderators. how cumbersome it is explained Goodreads itself. Only after the blog entry was published was her profile finally cleaned up, and hours later the titles from both platforms had disappeared. Goodreads has been owned by Amazon since 2013.
No way for lesser-known writers
Friedman has since told Gizmodo that she knew Amazon wasn’t going to remove the titles just because she asked: “I knew it was going to be a PR nightmare.” Luckily that was true, but that shows the bigger problem. “What will lesser-known authors do?” she asks on her blog. On X (formerly Twitter) she writes that she only found such works on Amazon, “the others have standards”. Another author wrote to her therethat she had 29 such works deleted in her name in the past week alone.
Friedman urges Amazon and Goodreads to “protect fences against this landslide of misattributed and misinforming titles.” Both platforms would have to set up a way to verify authorship or at least a simple way to block such titles: “Do it now, do it quickly.” No one can seriously expect active writers to spend the rest of their lives controlling the platforms. Because if you don’t do that, you will certainly get complaints from readers who have bought such titles. Or you hear nothing and lose potential readers.
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