Check your machine learning licenses. Even if you didn’t know you had granted one. Especially if you didn’t know you had granted one.
I have just been alerted by my narrator to a clause tucked into my Findaway Voices distribution agreement. It was the last bit of attached Schedule D, distribution policies about things like poor recording quality, hate speech, and [highly inappropriate behavior with animals and minors], and other categories I never expected to apply to our work, so I hadn’t seen it.
Rights Holder grants Apple a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable right and license to use Digital Audio Products files for machine learning training and models
The distribution agreement includes permission for using our audiobooks to train Apple’s AI, without payment to the authors or to the narrators they want to replace.
Now, we can have a separate conversation about whether AI use is ever appropriate (though I feel like we should be applying robotics to mundane tasks rather than to the creative humanities), but that’s not the point today. The point is, authors and publishers should be able to opt into this licensing rather than having it assigned by default.
The publisher can revoke permissions. As an independent author handling most of my own audiobooks, I wrote to revoke these permissions for all my existing self-managed audio and the one in progress.
Send your permissions revocation (I recommend including both title and ISBN) to [email protected]
And please share this post with other authors, voice actors, narrators, publishers, etc. Putting it all the way down under content disqualifying for distribution is a little sneaky.
Check for yourself: You can find your Distribution Agreement at https://my.findawayvoices.com/docs/Findaway_Voices_Digital_Distribution_Agreement_(9.7.2022).pdf (the clause in question is on page 16, in Schedule D).