In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway takes a look at Amazon's challenge to the EU's Digital Services Act and the Writers' Guild of Great Britain's policy position on AI.
Keep a watch for the latest self-publishing news podcast this Friday. Howard and I have been talking about the way the legal cases that are being brought against Open AI as well as the FTC investigation. We've also been considering whether Meta's new Threads social media platform will be a viable alternative to Twitter.
Amazon Challenges EU's Digital Services Act, Which has Made them Change Advertising Transparency Procedures
If you advertise your books on Amazon, you may have received an email from the KDP team about changes to the process in certain marketplaces, specifically those that fall within the European Union (EU). From July 24th, Amazon will show customers in EU marketplaces the “advertiser name” associated with any ad they see. And customers will be able to see the name of the person paying for the advert as well. In the light of this change, Amazon has asked advertisers to check the details that will be displayed.
The changes are happening because the EU has deemed Amazon (along with 18 other firms) to be a “Very Large Online Platform” (VLOP). This means that it falls under the purview of the new Digital Services Act (DSA). The aim of the DSA is to provide transparency for consumers about the advertising they encounter. Other firms involved include the like of Google, Facebook, Booking.com and TikTok.
Amazon is not happy with the considerable burden this will place on it and those who advertise with them. As I have another story this week about falling ad revenues that’s perhaps not surprising. They are challenging the EU through the courts, arguing that they are not, in fact, a Very Large Online Platform. In the meantime, we will all have to live with the new arrangements.
Writers Guild of Great Britain Publishes AI Policy Position
AI is everywhere. And worry about AI is everywhere, especially among creatives. But the big question is what are we going to do about it? Of course we all have individual ideas of what we will do. But what about collectively. As an industry, or set of industries. In recent weeks we have seen that some writers are taking legal action. And industry groups have supported them.
AI is also one of the key issues at stake in the Hollywood writers’ strike, which last week saw actors join the cause. Both groups are concerned with the incursion of AI into the creative process. Their demands include the assurance that AI will not be used in any part of the creative process. The sheer numbers involved in the screen industry (whether cinema, small, or streaming) mean the resolution of this dispute, whichever way it falls, is sure to send ripples through the creative world.
Now the UK’s writing industry bodies are starting to draw up official positions. The Writers Guild of Great Britain has issued a policy paper on the subject. This comes on the heels of the Publishers’ Association's announcement of a new AI taskforce.
Those of you who have followed this column for a while will know a little of my frustration with many of the arguments creatives employ around AI. Sadly this paper places the most frustrating of those at its centre:
“While the AI systems are not yet sophisticated enough to produce works which accurately mimic the standard of writing produced by professional writers, this is a likely future scenario.
However, the WGGB does not believe that AI will be able to replicate the originality, authenticity, enthusiasm and humanity that professional writers put into their storytelling.”
I can explain the problem with this argument very simply. It may or may not be true (I don’t think it is. YMMV). But if it does turn out to be untrue, then everything built upon it crumbles. It means that, in essence, human writers have value only because they can do what machines can’t. That is a precarious enough position that I wouldn’t want to stake my future on it.
As a whole, the statement, which you can read in full here, is fairly anodyne. It calls for no data mining exceptions. It asks for AI training only to occur where there is a creator’s consent. And it asks for clearer routes for redress and more human involvement. I suppose it’s a start.
Twitter to Share (Declining) Ad Revenue with Twitter Blue Creators
Whilst embarking on such a noble quest, Musk has also had time to oversee more changes at Twitter. In the latest blue tick development, those who pay for verification will now be able to share the ad revenue their tweets generate. This is another attempt to drive people towards the paid Twitter Blue service. It comes at a time when the company has experienced a halving of ad revenue. Twitter’s new managers claim to have a strategy to revitalise the platform. They will be hoping it works soon.Writers Guild of Great Britain publishes policy position on AI, and other top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet