Written by
Daniel Højris Bæk
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October 19, 2023

AI content sold on Amazon needs to be disclosed

New regulations by Amazon: Disclosure of AI-generated content if its sold or distributed on the platform.

AI content sold on Amazon needs to be disclosed

The digital landscape continues to evolve, with AI now firmly embedded in content creation and its distribution channels.

Recent updates from giants Amazon and Google showcase the changing attitudes toward AI-generated content - and that it differs based on the channel.

Amazon Mandates Disclosure of AI-Generated Content

Amazon, following concerns regarding AI-generated works being sold under human authors' names, has introduced new regulations.

As of recent, when authors use the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forum to publish or republish titles, they will be required to indicate whether the content was AI-generated.

The terms “AI-generated” and “AI-assisted” have been clearly defined by Amazon in its 'Content Guidelines'.

How Amazon define AI-generated vs AI-assisted content

AI-generated content includes any text, images, or translations produced by AI tools, irrespective of any post-creation edits. In contrast, AI-assisted content pertains to works crafted by humans but refined using AI for tasks like editing, error-checking, or improvement.

Amazon is still not clear on whether they will inform buyers about AI-generated Kindle books, but emphasizes the need for AI outputs to be scrutinized for copyright infringement.

Amazon's New Guidelines on AI-Generated Content

Amazon's new guidelines aim to address concerns surrounding the sale of AI-generated works under human authors' names.

These guidelines provide clarity on AI-generated and AI-assisted content, emphasize the responsibility of sellers to review for copyright infringement, and address the need for disclosure to customers.

  • Origins of the Change: The decision to introduce these new rules was influenced by issues where AI-generated books imitating the work of real authors were sold on Amazon. Prominent incidents, such as the one involving author Jane Friedman, saw her discovering books falsely listed under her name which she believes were created by AI.
  • AI Brainstorming: The guidelines specify that AI tools can be employed to "brainstorm and generate ideas". However, it's crucial that the final text or images should be the creation of a human author.
  • Monitoring AI's Evolution: Amazon stated in its forum announcement its commitment to closely watching the rapid growth of generative AI. The company is interested in how AI impacts reading, writing, and publishing, ensuring they provide the best experience for authors and customers.
  • Potential Copyright Issues: Sellers are entrusted with the responsibility of reviewing any AI output. It's essential to ensure an AI tool hasn't inadvertently created content based on copyrighted works.
  • Uncertainty Regarding Disclosure: Amazon hasn't detailed what actions will be taken with the AI information provided by sellers. It's still unclear whether customers will be notified if a Kindle book they're purchasing was generated by AI.

Google's Stance on AI-Generated Content

Google, on the other hand, has clarified its perspective on AI-assisted content.

Unlike Amazon, which mandates disclosure for AI-generated content, Google is more concerned with the purpose and quality of the content rather than its origins.

Earlier misunderstandings arose from a now-outdated guideline suggesting that automatically generated content was frowned upon.

But as earlier mentioned, Danny Sullivan from Google clarified a couple of time, that  it's content crafted chiefly for search engines, not humans, is problematic. This stands whether the author is human or machine.

Source: Twitter/X

Google's revised guidelines, the 'Google Search Essentials', are not explicitly focused on AI. Instead, they aim to prevent "spammy automatically-generated content". This includes content like incoherent texts containing search keywords, content produced without considering user experience, and content generated using obfuscation techniques.

The lesson from Google's evolution on this topic is simple:

Prioritize high-quality, user-first content. As Danny Sullivan emphasized, content should be "helpful, reliable, and people-first in nature."

Balancing Quality and Transparency in AI Content

As an SEO professional, I believe that the contrasting stances of Amazon and Google underline the importance of finding a balance between quality and transparency in AI-generated content.

While it is commendable that Amazon insists on disclosure for consumer transparency, Google's emphasis on content quality, regardless of its origin, should not be overlooked.

The road ahead for AI in content creation is still being paved, and it is crucial for content creators to adapt as technology continues to advance. As we navigate this evolving landscape, it is essential to prioritize the delivery of high-quality, user-centric content while remaining transparent about our processes, whether they involve human creators or AI assistance.

By doing so, we can maintain credibility and trust with our audience while harnessing the benefits that AI brings to the table.

AI content sold on Amazon needs to be disclosed

This is an article written by:

+20 years of experience from various digital agencies. Passionate about AI (artificial intelligence) and the superpowers it can unlock. I had my first experience with SEO back in 2001, working at a Danish web agency.