Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Stories We Buy At WMG…

Pulphouse, Holiday Spectacular, Other Projects…

If a story comes to us, such as through the Pulphouse Kickstarter, the author warrants the following…

If you submit a story, you warrant that you are the legal representative for the story, and that it was not created by or with the assistance of “AI” machine learning tools, such as ChatGPT or others, and that it has not been previously published in English, and that it is not under consideration by any other publishers.

And we have a similar, more legal-sounding clause in our contracts now.

Why? Because simply if you use one of the AI writing services, you are taking other writer’s work (and we hate working with thieves) and secondly you don’t own the copyright.

Pretty simple.

Write your own stuff. Stop looking for shortcuts by taking other writer’s work.

And please go to your favorite social media site to yell at me and defend AI crap. Don’t do it here because I don’t want to know you are that uninformed. And I will never let your post through anyway. (grin)


  • Harvey Stanbrouigh

    Couldn’t begin to agree more. As I wrote in my blog over at the other day,

    When people use AI to generate fiction and then call it their own, they are cheating the reading public, plain and simple, even if they warn them in advance they are being cheated.

    Of course, some say, “But really AI is only another tool to help me create original work.”

    Okay, snicker. Whatever you have to tell yourself. But you wouldn’t be saying crap like that if you didn’t know you were cheating. And you know it.

    Of course, today cheating is the expected and even applauded norm in sports, politics, and pretty much every other aspect of life. Those who “get over” get ahead, and the public seems to love them. Fine.

    Times change, but what doesn’t change is the knowledge you hold within yourself of what is right and what is wrong. Rich or poor, ill or able-bodied, male or female, your personal integrity is down to you. As my buddy Wes Crowley would say, “Upright is not a matter of degree.”

  • Kate Pavelle

    Wow. Dean, I like the clause and agree with it, but has WMG in fact received AI artifacts? It’s not something I’d expect of this crowd. Just curious – human nature is weird at times.

    • dwsmith

      We take almost no submissions from people we do not know and respect. But there are a few newer people coming in and we just want to make our position clear and clear in our contracts. You use AI, someone whould use it doesn’t belong in our publications. And we can’t buy it if someone did. We could take it, however, and just use it and not pay for it because it is public domain. But we would never do that either.

  • Balázs

    Hi, Dean! I never would even consider to use AI art or writing programme to my writings. For a writing programme it wouldn’t be even a cheat. I would like to write, why would I let anyone else do the fun part instead of me? I have a question, though. Do you think there would be a fair use of AI art? What I mean? For only personal use. Reference picture, if I learn to draw, or just to have a moodboard for myself to get into the mood to write. Not for sale, of course. Just to have my imagined pictures at hand… Do you think it is acceptable? To just have AI art for playing around?


    • dwsmith

      At the moment AI art is still theft. But no intent to sell, only personal use, fair use would sort of apply.

  • Philip

    AI prose is disgusting. What really saddens me, though doesn’t surprise me, is the amount of indie writers enthusiastically endorsing heavy use of AI. “It’s the future!” they say. If the future isn’t human, I don’t want it. Poor Ray Bradbury is rolling in his grave yet also saying, “I told you so.”

    People need to re-read Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.”

  • S. H. Miah

    AI, other than pretty prose with no author or character voice that’s stolen from other writers, can’t really do much. I doubt any stories written using it would ever be sold to short story markets or readers if put up indie. It just can’t understand any storytelling techniques deeper than the words on the surface.

    The only writers I’ve seen singing the praises of AI are beginner writers who think pretty prose is all there is to a good story. It’s sad to think that those writers might be deterred from creating original work when they see AI can create “incredible” fiction on the spot.

  • Kristi N.

    One thing that struck me when reading posts by people adopting AI for their writing was the sense of ‘look how easy it is to do (blank)!’ Most of what they wanted to make easier were things I enjoy about writing–character, setting, plot, story, etc. So maybe there is a connection between what those writers have made hard about their writing, and using AI to get around it. I don’t think cheating to get around things you don’t enjoy doing is going to make the end product better, and it’s not going to make writing easier. The critical voice will just find some other way to stop them.

  • Ric

    Thanks for this, Dean. I think most publishers and platforms will have a clause similar to this in the near-future. How they’re going to police it, I don’t know. Perhaps by taking legal action against the writer if it’s proven they had AI write their stories for them. (And I hope so, too).

    I’ve kept AI away from my writing. Not only because it writes inanely bland sentences that have had the life and voice sucked out of them, but because I’m addicted to writing while in the creative zone. Why would I let a machine in to do that? That’s the best part of the job!

    Plus, as you rightly point out Dean, these language models have (allegedly) scraped the internet, scooping up copywritten text and generating new words with it. How would you feel if your novels were hoovered up, and you found your characters and worlds being spewed out in mangled, automated prose? I’d feel sick if that happened to me.

    Notwithstanding the above, I have dabbled with it for the marketing stuff, thinking it might save time. I may also have wanted not to come across as a ludite. (And also may have bought a ticket on the hype train).

    But again, it makes bland, voiceless copy (that my eyes can’t even be bothered reading). It didn’t save any time at all. Plus, I wouldn’t own any of the copyright of the material on my blog. And why would anyone else want to read it if I didn’t?

    I’ve tried it to check spelling and grammar, only to have it rewrite my prose in that awful tone; and I’ve tried it for research, only to get vague assumptions and the advice to check with an expert. Several times, the sketchy details it gave were incorrect.

    Which leads me to the real threat I see from AI at this stage: people will use it to think for them, they’ll become dependant, and lose the skills (if any) they had.

    Like today while writing, I wanted to research a detail. Instead of asking ChatGPT or the new Bing thing, I pulled out a reference book. It took me longer, but I learned three times as much. If I’d gone with the vague ‘maybe it’s this’ that ChatGPT spews out, I wouldn’t have learnt anything.

    It’s the same with spelling and grammar. If you’re asking it to check your spelling and grammar, what’s the point in knowing spelling and grammar? And if you use it to write for you (?!), then what the hell do you think will happen to your writing skills?!

    [Grabs forehead].

    Skills need to be practiced or they’ll atrophy!

    All I know is that the future of mankind shown in WallE is a few decades away. Big, fat, useless babies being carried around in hovercrafts, unable to remeber how to walk. And, unfortunately, I’m young enough to probably see it.

    [Deep breath].

  • Sheila

    Thanks, Dean. Though I know I’ll never submit to your publishing house/s, it’s good to know you won’t allow this kind of cheating to get in. It’s saves a spot for someone who actually writes.

    I’m tired of the argument that it’s just another tool, or that everybody does it when they use Grammerly, et. al (I don’t use such things; if I don’t understand grammar and punctuation enough, I have no business writing, at least not without hiring a human editor/proofreader).

    I tried ChatGPT for a few hours, trying to see how it worked. By the time anyone learns how to “prompt” all that supposedly great writing, you could just write it yourself, and end up with more books.

    Somehow publishers, magazines and self publishing sites are going to have to figure out how to put a stop to people uploading or submitting this crap. If they don’t, there’s going to be a point where we can’t weed it out, and I’m not sure most readers have the skills to realize what they’re reading is fake, stolen computer “art”.

  • Keith West

    Thanks for this post, Dean.

    Several things come to mind.

    First, when I submit a reference letter for a student to med school, physical therapy school, etc., I have to check a box stating I didn’t use any sort of AI to write the letter before I can begin the submission process. This has started in the last six months.

    I’ve been attending a monthly get together of local writers, more for the socializing than education. Only one of these writers is a professional, but there are a lot of wanna-bes sharing bad advice. When I got there a couple of meetings ago, the tpic of AI came up. I told the group about the recent court ruling affirming the copyright office’s decision. And the response I got, well, let’s just say, the stooopid, it burned:

    “That can’t be right.”
    “I only used a little, and I modified it.”
    “I’m going to use it anyway.”

    They all said I was wrong and were going to look into this for September’s meeting. That’ll show me. But I’m in the process of moving and probably won’t make the meeting. Just as well. My blood pressure probably couldn’t take it.

  • Amy

    In the last few days, I think, KDP has added this yes/no question to its submission forms both for paperbacks and ebooks: “Amazon is collecting information about the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools in creating content.
    Did you use AI tools in creating texts, images, and/or translations in your book?”

    I wonder what happens if you tick “Yes”? I wonder if they reject your work because they don’t want to be involved in legal risk?