Generative vs. Assistive AI…and When Writers Need To Disclose – K.M. Robinson

Generative vs. Assistive AI…and When Writers Need To Disclose – K.M. Robinson

Artificial Intelligence in the publishing space has become a hot-button issue. With a tremendous amount of potential uses for AI in the book world, there are legal, ethical, and creative ways AI can be used to help authors…and many ways it can remove an author’s copyright entirely. Once adequate research has been done, and decisions have been made on what will or will not be used, certain disclosures have to be made to the community.

The difference between Generative and Assistive AI:

Generative AI involves the program creating content for you, be it the plot of a story, an element for a book cover, or even rearranging lines you wrote to form something other than what you created. A prompt is inserted into the program, and draws from the information that was used to train it to craft something based on the description.

Legally, copyright protection is only offered when the creator of a work is human, not machine. Writing a prompt does not count toward human creation. Therefore, as the law is now, anything with even partial AI input is not worthy of copyright protection.

“The reality is that generative AI is not well received in the copyright world. This is because our judiciary and even the US Copyright Office have affirmed that only copyrighted works that were created using substantial human involvement will receive full-fledged copyright protection. Because generative AI does all the work for humans, any output it creates, like text or artwork, will not get the full protections that a copyrighted work typically gets by law,” says Tony Iliakostas, an IP and Entertainment lawyer.

Assistive AI is when your own work is input and it gives suggestions for tweaking it slightly. In the publishing space, great examples are Grammarly and ProWritingAid. These spelling and grammar check programs use AI to learn from what authors are indicating are correct and incorrect suggestions to learn to give better offerings in the future. In terms of graphics, assistive AI might look something like shifting where shadows fall on a model’s face, but not creating the image itself.

Copyright protection remains untouched when assistive AI is used. However, the exact amount the legal system considers assistive as opposed to generative has yet to be fully spelled out by the legal systems.

When To Disclose:

The publishing world is very quickly changing with the times, and most entities within the industry now have rules and regulations on AI disclosure. These can typically be found on a company’s website, and most often are found in the mandated Terms of Service on websites.

Agents and publishers are also very vocal about their stance on AI use with novels. Most publishers refuse to work with anything written, plotted, or planned by AI because the copyright protection is unable to be obtained for those works. In most submission sections of agent and publisher websites, there is a disclaimer on their standards for submitted works. Depending on what agent or publisher is being submitted to, assistive AI such as AI-driven spelling and grammar check may also need to be disclosed when sending in a work.

Disclosures in novels:

Currently, there are no legal rules nor industry-accepted standards when it comes to disclosures inside of books. Many authors are starting to include “No AI Used” wording on their copyright pages or in the early sections of a book. It is widely accepted that if AI is used, it is denoted at the start of a book.

Given the state of the book and publishing communities, many believe it is wise to preemptively add these disclosures to ensure readers don’t feel taken advantage of if a book uses machine input of any kind. Others project that it may be common in the future to see these disclosures, and are trying to stay ahead of what will become the new normal.

Moving forward, it is incredibly important to watch the court cases starting to happen that involve the use of artificial intelligence in creative works. The legislature in the music, publishing, art, etc., spaces will determine the future of how novels are published, presented, marketed, and sold. It is better to be cautious now than to have issues arise later that could cost much more than they’re worth


K.M. Robinson is a social media educator and speaker who helps entrepreneurs build profitable businesses through smart social media marketing with easy content creation. She’s been spotlighted by Facebook for her innovative work in the field, and has appeared on CBS News nationally, NBC news nationally, News Week, Business News Daily, Writer’s Weekly, Authority Magazine, Evie Magazine, Thrive Global, Newsweek, People Magazine, New York Comic Con, Penned Con Charleston, Penned Con St Louis, MerMagic Con, Live Con, and has partnered with companies like TikTok, Zynn, BeLive, Restream, Logitech and Lifetime. She specializes in livestreaming, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok growth. She is the founder of Livestream Action Plan, Social Time Saver, and IG Reels for Business. She’s also a bestselling fiction author.


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One Response to "Generative vs. Assistive AI…and When Writers Need To Disclose – K.M. Robinson"

  1. William Adams  May 27, 2024 at 12:29 pm

    “AI is genuine stupidity” — Wm. Adams circa mid 90s

    That said how can they tell if you used AI or not? And how much? Or what type?

    What did Shakespeare say about lawyers?

    Pass the popcorn, this is as good s watching a movie.