Prosecraft Taken Down After Authors Protest
Prosecraft faced a significant backlash on Monday after uploading over 27,000 books, comparing and analyzing them based on the “vividness” of their language. While the owner, Smith, found it “fair play,” authors continued to take offense and demanded that the website be taken down.
I count 20 @StephenKing books, 20 @jodipicoult books, plus books by tons of other contemporary writers (@legroff, Madeline Miller, Angie Thomas… just search and they're pretty much in there). Did any of these authors/publishers consent to this use of their work? https://t.co/osRXyxmLJ3
— Celeste Ng (@pronounced_ing) August 7, 2023
The authors feared that data-driven Prosecraft would become an AI-generative tool. Smith, however, categorized the website differently. They also took offense at the language analysis function of the website. Prosecraft would pick the most passive and vivid paragraphs from a book and then put them in percentile rankings. The writers argued that its metrics were unfair as these standards are meant to apply to business whitepapers.
As a result, Smith offered the authors to accept an opt-out facility and email him if they wanted their work to be taken down. The suggestion, however, triggered them further. After facing massive criticism on Monday, Smith took down Prosecraft and uploaded an elaborate blog post.
“Your feelings are legitimate, and I hope you’ll accept my sincerest apologies. I care about stories. I care about publishing. I care about authors,” he wrote.
Jane Friedman’s Battle Against Gen AI
Owing to the rise of generative- AI, the literary climate has been quite tense. One of the victims is Jane Friedman, a veteran publisher and the author of The Business of Being a Writer. Recently, she found around six books unlawfully printed with her name on Amazon and Goodreads. “Most likely they’ve been generated by AI,” she wrote in a blog post.
While Goodreads removed the titles from her profile, Amazon kept them up for sale despite her complaint. It was because she neither had a copyright claim to these texts nor a trademark for her name.
“We desperately need guardrails on this landslide of misattribution and misinformation. Amazon and Goodreads, I beg you to create a way to verify authorship, or for authors to easily block fraudulent books credited to them. Do it now, do it quickly,” she expressed.