skip to Main Content
Self-publishing News: Twitter Sued Over Failure To Enforce Copyright Violation Notices

Self-publishing News: Twitter Sued Over Failure to Enforce Copyright Violation Notices

In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway takes a look at Twitter's copyright woes and Storytel's adoption of AI voice narration for voice switching.

Dan Holloway head and shoulders

ALLi's News Editor Dan Holloway

Do tune in and listen to the latest Self-publishing News podcast. Howard and I have been talking about the German study of young people's reading habits. We had a particularly interesting time thinking about what the increasing clamp down on TikTok in the US meant for social media's reading culture and fiction-centred aesthetic groups (of special note because of the platform's prevalence in driving reading in Germany).

Music Publishers Sue Twitter

Breach of copyright seems to be the subject of the moment. First, there was the battle between rights holders and AI. Then there was the battle between rights holders and the Open Library. Now, as if they were unhappy about being kept out of the publishing news for more than a week or so, Twitter has taken its place in the firing line. Music publishers are coming after the social media platform for $250m.

That sum comes breaks down into $150,000 chunks. That’s the amount music publishers want for each of a series of alleged failures to comply with copyright violation notices. Companies allege that not only does Twitter fail to act against flagrant violations, but that the site incentivises such violations by favouring and encouraging certain kinds of content, especially video content.

As a side note, I found it interesting that this story comes the same week as Paul McCartney hit the news for using AI to release a final Beatles song. My curiosity comes entirely from the fact that The Beatles are famous for their litigiousness when it comes to writers infringing their copyright by quoting lyrics. I wonder how much thought McCartney has given to the question of AI and copyright before proclaiming himself such a fan.

Amazon's New Print Pricing

We know printing costs are rising. Global price rises, and problems with the paper supply make that inevitable. We now know how much KDP print prices will be going up. If you go to your bookshelf and click the pricing tag, you will see the cost of printing before June 23rd, when prices rise, and after. Full instructions are here. From what I can see, the cost seems to have gone up around 5%, and the minimum price Amazon lets you charge has gone up by a little less.

Storytel Adopts AI Audiobook Narration for Voice Customising

Narration was one of the first parts of our industry to feel the shadow of AI. From Spotify to Google Play, platforms have invested in AI-generated narration with the aim of expanding audio content. And of course, those options are open to us as well as indies. Storytel has become the latest platform to go down the AI narration route. They have partnered with ElevenLabs. The aim seems to be to provide a customisable experience for audio listeners. This may see listeners able to customise languages and accents. It may also enable them to switch between narrators for different parts of a story. 

Fan Fiction Writers Trolling AI Expose Its Carelessness with Copyright and Its Systemic Weaknesses

There is an inherent risk for any business taking on creative people. If you get on the wrong side of creatives, they will sometimes fight back… creatively. And if there’s a group you don’t want to annoy as much as you don’t want to annoy creatives, it’s fandoms. So getting on the wrong side of fan fiction writers is about the worst thing you can do.

And AI has managed to do just that. Sudowrite, the popular fiction-enhancing AI tool, revealed itself to be trained on Omegaverse stories by repeating back words and phrases unique to that world. I will let you Google The Omegaverse, as it’s not a set of fandoms I am overly familiar with and I fear I would get the details wrong.

The writers in question have used a variety of what I think of as the purple dye method. Scientists who want to know where a water source that goes underground flows will put a harmless purple dye into the water. They will then look at the coastline to see where that dye emerges. Anyone who watches, reads, or writes fiction with any element of intrigue will be familiar with the technique, as characters carefully seed pieces of different and unique information to different people. They see who is being indiscreet by keeping track of which pieces of information emerge where.

Omegaverse writers have decided to play a version of this trick on AI. They have mixed it with the more modern “let’s get…trending” approach to essentially bait AI into giving itself away. And attempting to fill AI-generated text everywhere with traces of Omegaverse purple dye.

Of course, “messing with AI” is hardly new. Microsoft had to pull its early AI chatbot Tay when, to put it succinctly, it learned to be racist from Twitter users. But this, whether malicious or mischievous, these stories make a serious point about the ease with which bias and manipulation can creep into systems that will have increasing control over our lives. On an unrelated note, unless Wikipedia has been fed a lie, I learned today that 1957 is the first recorded use of the saying “garbage in garbage out”.

Mixing Writing and Politics?

Writing and politics are constant but uncomfortable dance partners. I try to steer clear of anything partisan as this is a news column. But in the past two weeks, two news stories have shone a spotlight on that uneasy relationship. In recent days Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, has made headlines. A commentator as established as Nathan Bransford has suggested that this might have been the intention.

Gilbert has pulled the publication of her forthcoming novel The Snow Forest. The reason? Gilbert states she did it for her Ukrainian readers. The novel’s setting in the USSR (before the bloc split) was not appropriate, she felt, during the ongoing hostilities.

Meanwhile, other authors have found themselves receiving offers to do the opposite. Russian readers want escapist fiction in the current climate. And Russian publishers are turning to authors outside the country to provide it. And they are dangling pay cheques for them to do so across genres like SFF and romance.

As writers, we have to navigate a political landscape constantly. And to claim we can somehow be apolitical feels utterly unrealistic. But how we navigate that landscape in an age where social media amplifies our decisions requires as much skill and savvy as any other aspect of being a writer. Because the price of getting it wrong can be higher than an uncomfortable conscience.

Storytel to enable users to switch audiobook voices using 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

Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest advice, news, ratings, tools and trends.

Back To Top
×Close search