AI and Data Scraping on the Archive

With the proliferation of AI tools in recent months, many fans have voiced concerns regarding data scraping and AI-generated works, and how these developments can affect AO3. We share your concerns. We’d like to share what we’ve been doing to combat data scraping and what our current policies on the subject of AI are.

Data scraping and AO3 fanworks

We’ve put in place certain technical measures to hinder large-scale data scraping on AO3, such as rate limiting, and we’re constantly monitoring our traffic for signs of abusive data collection. We do not make exceptions for researchers or those wishing to create datasets. However, we don’t have a policy against responsible data collection — such as those done by academic researchers, fans backing up works to Wayback Machine or Google’s search indexing. Putting systems in place that attempt to block all scraping would be difficult or impossible without also blocking legitimate uses of the site.

With that said, it is an unfortunate reality that anything that is publicly available online can be used for reasons other than its initial intended purposes. In many cases, AI data collection traffic relies on the same techniques as the legitimate use cases above.

Once we became aware that data from AO3 was being included in the Common Crawl dataset — which is used to train AI such as ChatGPT — we put code in place in December 2022 requesting Common Crawl not scrape the Archive again.

We cannot go back in time to stop data collection that already occurred, or remove AO3’s content from existing datasets, as much as we may dislike that it happened. All we can do is attempt to reduce such collection in the future. The Archive’s development team will continue to be on the lookout for individual scrapers collecting AO3 data, and to take action as needed.

Likewise, our Legal committee has and will continue to serve the OTW mission of protecting fanworks from legal challenge and commercial exploitation. This includes their position that users should be allowed to opt out from having their works incorporated into AI training sets, a position that they have presented to the U.S. Copyright Office. They, too, will continue to keep pace with this developing field.

What can I do to avoid data scraping?

You may want to restrict your work to Archive users only. While this will not block every potential scraper, it should provide some protection against large-scale scraping.

AI-generated works and AO3 policies

At the moment, there is nothing in our Terms of Service that prohibits fanworks that are fully or partly generated with AI tools from being posted to the AO3, if they otherwise qualify as fanworks.

Our goals as an organization include maximum inclusivity of fanworks. This means not only the best fanworks, or the most popular fanworks, but all the fanworks that we can preserve. If fans are using AI to generate fanworks, then our current position is that this is also a type of work that is within our mandate to preserve.

Depending on the circumstances, AI-generated works could violate our anti-spam policies (e.g. if a creator posts a significant number in a short time). If you’re uncertain whether a work violates our Terms of Service, you may always report it to our Policy & Abuse team using the link at the bottom of any page, and they can investigate.

This statement reflects AO3’s policy at the time of writing, as we wanted to be transparent with our users about what our current stance is and what can be done – and is being done – to mitigate scraping for AI datasets. However, these policies are also under discussion internally among AO3 volunteers. If we agree on changes to these in the future, those will be announced publicly; additionally, if there are any proposed changes to the AO3 Terms of Service, they will be made available for public comment as is required of any and all changes to our Terms of Service.

We hope that this helps to make things more clear – this is a complicated situation, and we’re doing our very best to address it in a way that doesn’t compromise AO3’s principles of maximum fanwork inclusivity or legitimate uses of the site. As discussions and approaches evolve, we will keep our users updated.

Announcement, Archive of Our Own
  1. helloliriels commented: so glad some attempts are being made to combat this. feels so invasive.
  2. Reply
    • Unicron commented: AI is not creativity. It is regenerating what already existed. By definition it cannot be transformative
    • Reply
    • AI is a 4chan psyop. commented: Computers can not be fans of anything period. Only humans can be a fan. Ban AI or suffer the consequences of LiveJournal.
    • Reply
  3. chocolatepot commented: Thanks for this update! Can you speak to why your legal chair previously spoke positively about what AO3 could do for AI training?
  4. Reply
    • chocolatepot commented: (To clarify, I don't mean this in a hostile manner, I just want to understand the context of the earlier remarks.)
    • Reply
    • commenter commented: She didn't. Please re-read the interview. She said that AI trained on fanfiction would exhibit a "more contemporary, broad, inclusive, and diverse set of ideas" than AI trained only on works created before 1927 - which is true. And she said that legally, the act of training an AI should be considered separately from the legality of AI outputs - a logical position also held by organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She said nothing whatsoever about AO3 doing anything to support AI training.
    • Reply
      • nicole commented: thank you for saying this!!! she made a couple of jokes that people seem to be taking as evidence that she loves ai and doesn't care about fan authors' concerns. but she doesn't say anything of the sort
      • Reply
        • betsy is that you? commented: Um she literally said that what Stability AI did was fair use. That's as pro AI as you can go.
        • Reply
          • Aster commented: "Fair use" is a legal position, not a moral one. It's not "pro ai" to say that there is no legal grounds to prevent it.
          • Reply
      • chocolatepot commented: I think you've misunderstood me. What you just summarized there is positivity about AO3's influence on AI. I'm not accusing her of the things everyone else is (deliberately sending fics to be scraped or something), but it's basic reading comprehension to see that she was being positive rather than negative or even neutral. I'm not particularly worried about this, I just found it really odd that she would effectively take a stance for AO3 before the site as a whole did.
      • Reply
  5. Elizabeth commented: I’m still interested why the person in the article (I can’t think of her name and really don’t care to) thought it was such fun and such a laugh. That is not something I want to hear from someone who is involved in the legal aspects of the site.
  6. Reply
  7. marithlizard commented: Thanks for the update! No surprises, but I hope it will help to calm the fears.
  8. Reply
  9. Dreamin commented: I don't know why this couldn't have been posted instead of the non-apology. While I thank you for the clarification, it still leaves the question of Betsy and the conflict between her position within the OTW and her support of AI. She needs to resign over the conflict of interest.
  10. Reply
    • nicole commented: that's not what conflict of interest means. you are assuming she has a difference in opinion (we don't know if she does). a conflict of interest would be if she was part of a company that wanted to scape ao3 for profit.
    • Reply
  11. pnutbutter commented: I do hope to see firmer restrictions on AI use in the future. Fanworks are a labor of love, and it pains me to see the personalized aspect of fanfiction being stripped away in favor of fast and easy production. I care a lot about WHO wrote something, as they bring their own style and flavor to a fanfiction, than I care about how fast they wrote it, or how funny the idea is. I would prefer to keep AI-generated fiction away from the archive and the PEOPLE who have made it the amazing collection of works that it is.
  12. Reply
  13. mythicaltunes27 commented: You can’t say in one breath that you are against scraping of fanfic for legal reasons and then say that it’s okay for people to then post that theft on the archive.
  14. Reply
  15. Mel commented: "If fans are using AI to generate fanworks, then our current position is that this is also a type of work that is within our mandate to preserve." A computer is not a fan. If it is generated by a computer, it is not a fanwork. It was not a work created by a fan. I appreciate the steps OTW is taking to prevent scraping, but I believe the above is still a bad call and hope that OTW changes it.
  16. Reply
    • SLWalker commented: This. A computer or chatbot is not a person or a fan and therefore the works are not fanworks. But they likely are theft.
    • Reply
      • ApocalypticRomantic commented: I wholeheartedly agree.
      • Reply
        • Trepkos commented: Please do not allow AI generated items - I won't call them works - to be included on this site. I agree with those above who say that such works are essentially stolen fanworks.
        • Reply
    • Dani commented: I understand your feelings on this, but there is currently no way to effectively distinguish AI created work from human created work. Existing detectors are helpful, but not foolproof and so using them would risk the works of many human writers being caught in the filter and not being able to share their work on AO3. This will continue to be the case as these AI programs get better. For AO3 to implement a policy banning AI content on their site would be implementing a policy they are unable to enforce and would only result in people posting AI content to AO3 without tagging or labelling it as such. I would much rather it be permitted so that people who create content using AI will have no reason to pretend they wrote it themselves and thus allow the rest of us to filter those tags out of our search results.
    • Reply
      • Mel commented: Policy and enforcement are separate questions. This is like saying "please don't make littering illegal, we shouldn't shoot people for littering". There are other enforcement possibilities that aren't as aggressive as what you're imagining.
      • Reply
        • Dani commented: If we are unable to tell with 100% certainty what text is AI generated and what is human written (and collaborations, which is what we are most likely to see), then there is no possibility for any kind of enforcement, no matter if it's lax or aggressive.
        • Reply
    • G commented: Thank you
    • Reply
  17. RaraeAves commented: There’s a significant difference between wanting to save as many fanworks as possible, and saving machine-made versions that blatantly steal from the aforementioned fanworks. While you can’t undo the scraping that’s already been done, the Archive/OTW could do more to discourage its use, including preventing the posting of products from scraped data. This is disappointing to say the least. In the meantime, what are members meant to make of Betsy’s enthusiasm for AI in the interview that initially raised alarms? How are writers who are anti-theft supposed to feel comfortable with her continued involvement in the organization?
  18. Reply
    • EchoEkhi commented: You should take comfort in that Prof. Betsy Rosenblatt is a subject-matter expert and a professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law. She knows more about this field than all the rest of us combined, and she is the best possible person to chair the legal committee and stands the best chance to persuade legislators on OTW's behalf.
    • Reply
      • Mel commented: This is an appeal to authority. While expertise is valuable in understanding the possible outcomes of a decision, expertise alone does not determine one's values.
      • Reply
        • EchoEkhi commented: But her values don't have any bearing on this matter. The legal chair is a technocratic role and not supposed to be democratically accountable, and she only advises the Board of Directors with no power over OTW policy.
        • Reply
          • OK, but... commented: She still advises the board who decide policy. No one's questioning her field of expertise, we're questioning her field of influence.
          • Reply
        • commenter commented: An appeal to authority is only a logical fallacy when the authority's expertise is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Prof. Rosenblatt is an expert in Intellectual Property law and therefore her expertise is extremely relevant to issues of IP and fanworks.
        • Reply
          • Mel commented: Her expertise is relevant to understanding the legal landscape, but it's ridiculous to say that only people with expertise should be allowed to determine societal values. It's like saying only experienced marksmen should be allowed to have stances on firearms.
          • Reply
          • yolkcheeks commented: "it's ridiculous to say that only people with expertise should be allowed to determine societal values" I must have missed where that was said (by Prof. Rosenblatt or otherwise), would you mind pointing me to it?
          • Reply
      • Ring commented: I am not questioning her legal expertise, but she did not accurately describe how the models used to generate content work, and she drew a frankly bizarre conclusion about the impact fanfic could have on them. These models have been trained on such a large volume of text that if they're still biased--and they are--the only way to correct that bias is probably direct human intervention. This is demonstrated pretty much every time people discover biased results that can be reliably reproduced; it's usually fixed shortly afterward, because actual human beings go in correct its behavior under those circumstances. The example she gave of models not recognizing certain professions as being open to all genders was brought up very recently with a blatant example; despite the fact that "women can be firefighters" almost definitely exists as a set of words among the billions ChatGPT was trained on, it did not actually learn from this that women can be firefighters. If you ask it, "Can women be firefighters?" it will probably tell you yes; what people discovered was that (simplifying) if you use different pronouns to refer to a firefighter and a teacher and ask it which one did what, it will confidently say that the firefighter took whichever actions correspond to he/him pronouns and assign the teacher she/her pronouns, even if that makes no sense in context. All it "knows" about how to answer that question is what answer is most likely to be used in similar text. Not to be utterly flippant, but the only thing large language models will "learn" from fanfic is how to get who tops wrong if you want the opposite of what the majority of your fandom prefers.
      • Reply
      • Odamaki commented: I take no comfort in this at all. She may be an expert in her field but that is no guarantee she is using that with the interests of the community in mind. She has generalised her own personal opinion and failed to serve in the manner she ought to have by consulting with the community she represents first. What she said was 'I'm totally fine with you stealing my clients' work' while we were at the table expecting her to do very much the opposite. Experts can be nice people who are got at thier jobs but they are not immune to getting it wrong. Experts are not immune to acting in a way which is technically correct and yet entirely malign. Experts can be wholly blind to areas of non-expertise where different fields overlap with thier own. The outcry at the interview demonstrates that Betsy is poorly placed to represent. If she was my legal council in any other circumstance, I'd already be briefing her replacement.
      • Reply
  19. shadowmaat commented: Thank you for the clarifications. I'm reassured. And I know it'd be difficult/impossible to ban AI-generated fics since there's no concrete way to tell if something was reconstituted by a computer or written by a human. Sure, if they boast in the tags/summary, but otherwise? I hope things will settle down a bit now and sorry for any additional headaches y'all've been having lately.
  20. Reply
    • chocolatepot commented: There are detectors like Zero GPT and GPT Zero that can tell if text is ai-generated with a high degree of accuracy! It would be trivial for the Abuse Team to check any fics flagged by users with them.
    • Reply
      • amarisllis commented: These tools exist but their accuracy is still *highly* suspect. They are not magic bullets and currently are pretty insufficient in terms of what they do/don’t flag. It’s not something that you should rely on at this stage. At best it’s a strong signal, at worst a coin flip.
      • Reply
      • Rose commented: ZeroGPT? You mean that thing that doesn't work and when someone tested it with the US construction, the result was that it thought it was ninety-something percent AI generated? That AI detection tool? And other "could it be AI" tests wouldn't work either, as some users 'horde' (write a bunch of fics over the course of a while then upload them in a short space of time), some users are uploading a bunch of their own fics from elsewhere (also creating the "lost of posts short space of time"), and others have a grammar and sentence structure that could be misconstrued for AI. Since the de-dress-up-gamification of AI put it into the eyes and hands of malicious parties, resulting in the data scraping we see today, I've disliked AI generated content as much as the next guy, but an attempted crack-down could cause that case where an artist was harassed off of I think it was an art subreddit for having a style that was "too close to AI" (think that painterly anime style), even though they had proof that they drew the image from scratch.
      • Reply
  21. MangoTea commented: "If fans are using AI to generate fanworks, then our current position is that this is also a type of work that is within our mandate to preserve." AI generated fanworks should fall in the same category that plagiarized works do. Also, want a spam problem? This is how you GET a spam problem. You've just told spammers to go ahead and try to shoot their shot.
  22. Reply
  23. azimuthal commented: While this is good to hear and I'm glad that you're finally clearly communicating with the users with what's been going on, and that you'll continue to do so- it's also something that feels insufficient. I understand AO3's position about maximum inclusivity- but there's also the fact that AO3 was built on preserving fannish content and protecting writers. A machine is not as fan. A machine built on the non consensual labour of the very writers you profess to stand for is not something you should be including in your definition on fanwork or transformative work. There's also the fact that we did not consent to our donations going towards you legally recognising AI outputs as fanwork and advocating for them being such when speaking to government officials. Opt out is also not a remotely sufficient solution in regards to consent when this puts all the onus on not being exploited onto the writers themselves-- when so many people are not aware of their exploitation/have passed away and thus cannot consent. The ONLY thing you should be asking for is clear and ethical OPT IN. Otherwise it's a hollow and insufficient gesture. This is not even getting into the fact that these models are so clearly built for profit and to replace every creative profession, which goes against your policy of non-commercial fanwork being fair use. As you say, even in your post that you would protect users against commercial exploitation. The output of these models is just one part. The fact remains that these models themselves are built on commercial exploitation and until there is an ethical AI, there is no place for them, or the works produced by them in fandom. I also get that there is not yet any magical detecting machine for AI, but all we ask is that you do not officially endorse and include these works. Copying this from a petition that worded this very well- " -We are NOT asking ao3 to implement some magical tech detection system that scans and analyzes every fic uploaded. This is not a witch hunt. -We WANT ao3 to update their TOS and FAQ to reflect that they don't allow AI works to be hosted on the archive, they don't condone AI generated works (fics, comments, etc). -We DON'T WANT AO3 to implement a reporting tool for works suspected to be written by AI. This is just going to be another tool to harass and abuse writers, will overwhelm support, things which we absolutely do not want. -We believe IN GOOD FAITH that every writer on AO3 is a human writer. Yes, it means that some works will "sneak in" to the system, but at that's on your writer's conscience. The ban on uploading AI-generated works can be as simple as changing a few lines on the FAQ/TOS to reflect AO3's stance, to putting a small checkbox before posting that YES THIS IS WRITTEN BY A REAL HUMAN. eg. on youtube and other user-generated-content platforms have checkboxes or other verification to show that you're the person uploading." Again, reiterating, that maximum inclusivity does not trump your other ethos, which is protecting your writers.
  24. Reply
  25. extremelydisappointed commented: I am highly disappointed in OTWs response to this. Not only will this still allow AI owners like those of Chat to steal from fanfic authors, but it can and will call into question the legitimacy of Fair Use and potentially cause creators to abandon their work in an attempt not to get sued by corporations for using their properties in fan work. OTW's entire stance on AI generated fanfiction should be "It is not allowed", and they should be finding better solutions to prevent theft of fanfic authors' works from being stolen by greedy corporations who want to justify shutting down fandom communities. I will be withdrawing my support of OTW until they choose to do right by the authors who use their site. And I hope others will follow me in this boycot..
  26. Reply
  27. Longtime Ao3 writer commented: AI is not a co-author and, the fact is all AI is made of stolen data. How is that ethical? How is it okay that a machine is going to be okay to make FAN works? Machine are not fans, and they have no business in a FANWORK archive. I'm disgusted by the abject disregard for creators who are victims of exploitation and the use of something that THE VERY INDUSTRIES WE ARE FANS OF BOYCOTT. The writers strike highlights WHY AI content has 0 place in ANY creative spaces and I look forward to the OTW team doing the right thing and unilaterally banning all AI aided or generated work.
  28. Reply
  29. RogueSareth is still unimpressed Ai fic is not fanwork fucking period commented: This is at least an attempt to address the issue, but it certainly doesn't explain why you would send a pro Ai lawyer as your official rep to the US government. Or quote part of her interview so gleefully in Signal like it's a good thing. Also NO, Ai generated fic IS NOT AND NEVER WILL BE FANWORK. It is generating those fic off stolen work. If you are still allowing work that was created using the stolen work of actual human authors you are not protecting writers. Period. This is an attempt but you need to put in some more effort if you want people's trust back.
  30. Reply
  31. onereyofstarlight commented: This update is both appreciated and well overdue. The methods put in place to prevent such large scale scraping is welcome news although I do understand that the ability of OTW to prevent this entirely is limited. I still firmly disagree that AI generated works fall under the umbrella of fanworks for the simple reason that these works are not made by fans. Even if they have been edited by fans, this process still relies on stealing from the hard work of other fans and is not acceptable to me. I will certainly be needing to consider the two positions presented here carefully as I do not believe they are congruent with each other and am still concerned that when push comes to shove OTW will fall on the side of AI and not fans, especially given the recent comments that have come to light.
  32. Reply
  33. PP commented: Thank you for the clarification on these issues. However, I do want to voice my strong disagreement with the idea that AI-generated items should be considered fanwork. For one, AO3 was scraped prior to December 2022 as stated, which means these AI-generated items have a high chance of having used the the AO3 data that was collected without consent. Two, I strongly believe that fanwork must involve individual or group labor and skill of some kind beyond typing a prompt into a chatbot. Regardless of the subjective quality of what the AI generates, it should not be allowed on the Archive. I urge the OTW to reconsider their stance on this.
  34. Reply
  35. b commented: i have two thoughts on this: 1. your legal chair is not some random volunteer and i want to hear an apology from her for conflating her personal views on AI with the goals of the OTW. if her views don't represent the OTW, why were they posted at all? calling her one volunteer out of 900+ severly downplays her position. if it was a tag wrangler (also one volunteer out of 900+) no one would give a damn. 2. allowing AI work to be posted is hypocritical to the idea of not allowing scraping. AI work is not fanwork and you can't call it fanwork just because a fan told chatGPT to write about homestuck. and i'll say what i did on the initial post again: if this had happened before the donation drive, i would never have donated. this is not consistent with what i expect from the OTW.
  36. Reply
    • blcwriter commented: ^This.
    • Reply
    • Anti-AI commented: Same.
    • Reply
    • commenter commented: The only people conflating the comments of the Legal Chair with the organizational goals of the OTW are outraged commenters. She never claimed to represent the views of the OTW in her interview.
    • Reply
      • g commented: she was actively representing the OTW, idiot
      • Reply
  37. Active Writer commented: Thank you for this update. There's a lot of important information included here that I think provides clarity. I also understand the complications with preventing AI-generated work from being posted to the archive. The one issue still remaining is the context of the interview itself and the way it was presented as enthusiasm for having fanworks contribute to AI learning. I'm sure Betsy is doing other important work for OTW, and IF the interview did not accurately represent her stance on AI, then people need to know so we can regain that trust. Right now, it certainly seems like she truly is enthusiastic about AI as a writing tool, and if that is the case, it's worrying to have that difference in opinions between the legal team's chair and the organization's current policy - which you state could change.
  38. Reply
  39. Lif commented: AI is a plagairization, and not legitimate fan work. This sucks. I will not be using AO3 in the forseeable future, and forget any donations from me.
  40. Reply
  41. dead commented: So, will AO3 keep on legally championing AI as transformative work? This is the worst, and honestly, the most concerning part of this. If AI output is termed as 'transformative' rather than generative work legally (and it is generative since there's no human element involved,) it will spell devastation to the working class creatives all over the world- as then it strengthens its position as 'FAIR USE' which it in no shape or form is, when it's threatening the income of millions of people. I do not want to be a part of such exploitation and as such cannot continue to support OTW in any form, until such a time that they change their policies regarding this.
  42. Reply
  43. amarisllis commented: As much as I hate AI, I’m satisfied with this response. I’m glad to see that steps to limit scraping have already been taken. Though I don’t believe that AI-generated works should be classified as legitimate artistic products, I would be *very* hesitant to see a ban on AI generated work on the site as I am not at all confident in the ability to do it without catching a lot of legitimate fic in the crossfire. And moreover, it wouldn’t actually work; it would still be there, just untagged. AI detection tools exist, but they are *very* imperfect at this stage and the inaccuracy rates are too high for me to be comfortable relying on them. Moreover, this also does not fall in line well with AO3’s permissive content policies and would likely lead to enforcement problems and persecution of a lot of legitimate writers as a result. What I *would* like to see however, is an AI-generated warning label similar to the other major Archive warnings so that users may filter out AI-generated works as needed. Given technical and legal limitations, and given the lack of perfect ability to detect ai-generated work at this stage (the technology is simply not there yet), this is the best-case scenario.
  44. Reply
  45. DL commented: On April 19th, Ms. Rosenblatt, acting as the official representative of the OTW, told the US government's copyright office that the OTW has "heard from fans" who are excited about the use of AI. Could you tell us how these fans communicated their feelings to the OTW? Has there been any quantitative polling on the feeling of OTW members, AO3 users, or fandom at large? While I don't disagree with the basic legal stance the OTW is taken (I lack the legal expertise to presume to try!), I AM very concerned that the OTW is speaking for fandom without seeming to have a good idea of what fandom wants to say.
  46. Reply
    • Ring commented: I'm very curious about this, and would like to hear where she got feedback and what the context was. A huge number of tools fall under the catchall term "AI," and not all of them are designed to generate variations on training material.
    • Reply
      • DL commented: @Ring The Legal Committee, which Betsy heads, is now in charge of deciding what content is allowed on AO3, so your questions about LLM-boosterism on the committee are apt.
      • Reply
  47. heather commented: "If fans are using AI to generate fanworks, then our current position is that this is also a type of work that is within our mandate to preserve." Okay, but why though? What is your justification? What about procedurally-generated work constitutes some sort of transformative artistic thought on the part of an author or artist? These programs are making statistical guesses based off reams of data. It is not thinking. It is not making some sort of observation or commentary off the original work. It's just ... generating text. Look, I do think that in an internet that is getting continually sanded down and sanitized, the OTW's commitment to letting people post erotica Is Good Actually. Beyond that, though, you do not seem to have an ethical thought in your collective body. The training of large language models threatens jobs across the industries that feed fandom in the first place--the entertainment industry wants to institute AI writing to kill writer's rooms (and by extension, their UNION). Short fiction magazines are overrun with A.I. submissions, making it harder for new authors to break into publishing. Tor has already published a Christopher Paolini book with AI-generated cover art. Meanwhile big tech is paying workers in the global south a PITTANCE to moderate the data that goes into these programs and keep them marketable. As in, these are the people who end up watching beheading videos all day and get paid $1.50 an hour to do it. And! On top of that! The processing power requires a lot of energy *and water to keep it cool*. So you've got a program that exists to eliminate jobs--the very jobs that inspire and motivate Fandom, that thing you so wish to protect--which is in turn subsidized by nightmarish underpaid labor, that wrecks the environment in a rapidly deteriorating climate, but you step back and decide that it's no ethics just right to allow its output on the archive. Wow. Great. I'm glad you're taking such a strong stand for fandom here.
  48. Reply
    • this commented: 100% agree
    • Reply
    • Plantzawa commented: Absolutely agree 100%. Do better OTW. We're watching you.
    • Reply
    • fuck AI commented: 1000% this
    • Reply
    • RogueSareth is disappointed but old enough to not be surprised commented: Absolutely 100% agreed. This wishy washy response from the OTW is disappointing and far below the standard of practice I expect from them. They also did not address or acknowledge Betsy being their official rep to the US government in Ai discussions. None of this is a good sign, I don't want Ao3 to go the way of FF/.net or LJ and fandom to have to rebuild *again* but if OTW doesn't start taking a stronger anti Ai stance that's where we're headed.
    • Reply
    • Odamaki commented: 100% agree and thank you for putting it into words for me. I post my works on AO3 on the express understanding that they are protected, both from people who want to quash fandom works in general but also against those who would capitalise and monitise work I undertake. Right now, I am free to take 6 coffee shop AUs at random and manually combine then to produce a 'new' work but I think I would rightly be called out for it. If I used AI to write this comment for me, it would rightly be dismissed as spam. Why are we enabling machines to churn out poor imitations of creativity we have spent years cultivating and giving it the same value? Why are human writers being pushed into a position of making fodder for computers? OTW must make a clear and unambiguous statement that they do not support this. The archive is OUR own, not AIs. I have a decade of fanfic on AO3, I don't want to have to find a new home for it, but if the only place it is safe is my personal harddrive, then that is where it will be removed to if I cannot trust OTW to defend my value as a creator.
    • Reply
    • Meg commented: Very well put! I'm most concerned about the real people who are being abused in the data set creation, but "AI" generated text and images are not just bad fanworks, they are not fanworks at all. They do not fall within the OTW's purview. I'm really disappointed with OTW's response on this. I realise it may be difficult to enforce a ban on machine generated works but you don't have to *encourage* this garbage.
    • Reply
  49. thosenearandfarwars commented: Great. Please focus more on updating the harassment policy, the abuse report system, and the TOS around hate speech.
  50. Reply
  51. Cassie commented: I respect the position of allowing AI-written works (even if I disagree) but can they be reported if they're not tagged as AI-written? I don't want to support AI works when I can be supporting legitimate artists.
  52. Reply
  53. fts commented: An AI work is not a fanwork and Ao3 needs to clearly define a hard line between them before considering any change to ToS. This impacts all users and we need a definitive definition that can be agreed upon or debated: AI policy needs to be treated with all the transparency of elections.
  54. Reply
  55. DL commented: This Time article revealed ChatGPT's dataset was managed by workers in Kenya, paid very low wages. In at least one case, a worker was required to read underage noncon Batman fanfic, which had been removed from its fannish context and presented with no warnings, to a worker who could not freely choose not to read the work without risking her job. AO3 has a robust tagging and warning system to allow readers to know what we're getting into. We can find the porn we like and avoid the porn we don't, and we aren't being threatened with unemployment for choosing not to read something that squicks or triggers us. That fanfic is being used by corporations in a way that strips the community standards we've put around it and may traumatize exploited workers seems like a topic the OTW would be well-positioned to address. A particular use of fannish content need not be infringing to be unethical or undesirable.
  56. Reply
  57. ladydragon76 commented: I am glad to see limits to scraping are a consideration and something the team is on top of. I'd like to add my voice to those who do not want AI created fics allowed in the Archive though. My reasoning is this: Someone came in, stole (scraped) our work and now an AI is going to regurgitate work REAL people did. How's it artistic or creative to tell a computer program to write you a story about X & Y where Z happens? Where is the work or effort in that? The answer is, of course, it's in the people who wrote all those stories in the first place before they were taken without permission or even notification that the site would be scraped. Some computer is going to use MY work, something I cried or bled my heart onto the page for, but that's ok? No. It's... cheating. It's theft and regurgitation without effort. It's cheap. Is it cool that programming is this advanced? Yeah, sure, and as soon as an AI is sentient, it can write for itself, until then, it's this grey area legal theft that isn't at all in the same vein at all as someone sitting down, using the imagination and CREATING something for themselves the way every living person on this site does.
  58. Reply
  59. Gloria commented: ‪Sorry, but “users should be allowed to OPT OUT from having their works incorporated into AI training sets” is ridiculous.‬ ‪Users should be allowed to ‘OPT IN’. That should be the default. Not the other way around. This seriously puts in doubt the sincerity of your intentions.‬ ‪This is very transparent: Opt Out models are based on the strategy that users will only be able to withdraw consent if they know how to do it, and are motivated to do so. Meanwhile hile most users will live in ignorance that they’re giving tacit approval for their work to be used to train AI.
  60. Reply
  61. M commented: Thanks very much for this thorough and honest statement - it answers many questions. I’d appreciate it a lot if OTW continues to update us in this manner.
  62. Reply
  63. long time fandom enthusiast commented: The inclusion of AI fanfics is really disheartening, especially in very small fandoms. Where exactly do you think the content being "generated" comes from in a small community? It is legitimate plagiarism of the few top authors driving that fandom forward. I cannot express enough how *AGAINST* this policy I am. Really, really disappointed in you, OTW.
  64. Reply
  65. leen commented: Thank you for the info and for continuing to protect the interests of fans online.
  66. Reply
  67. d commented: Vehemently disagree with the idea that AI-generated works can be considered fanworks - they are created by a machine scraping datasets for associations. There's nothing creative or meaningful about them. It's an astonishingly poor position to take and astonishingly at odds with the rest of the creative community's understanding of the value of these works - it's a major reason the WGA is on strike and the subject of several lawsuits, and AI-generated works have negatively affected writers and artists in creative employment across the globe. Given the overlap between fan creatives and our professional counterparts, it's pretty insulting for the OTW to treat AI-generated works on the same level. While it may be very difficult to know when a fic is AI-generated, it would at the very least discourage people from posting them and take an ethical stance in protecting creative endeavors. I strongly urge the OTW to reconsider this stance - or to make it a topic up to public vote to members in a future election.
  68. Reply
  69. Taenith @ AO3 commented: Legal Chair Betsy Rosenblatt still needs to resign. You say her views don't reflect the OTW's, and that she is one of 900+ volunteers. Yet, you entrusted her to represent the OTW and its views to the US government. And she spoke in an OTW capacity to the Association of Research Libraries, which subsequently published the interview you highlighted in OTW Signal! How does any of this make sense?!?! ------ I do understand she possesses extensive professional qualifications in terms of intellectual property law. But she seems completely out-of-touch with the experiences and concerns of the vast majority of OTW's donors & userbase regarding our subcultural understanding of the term "fanworks" and the very real ethical/environmental consequences of AI-generated texts or images. -------- I very much appreciate the greater clarity about what is being done to prevent scraping. I know that comprehensive legal and/or technical solutions to this issue do not yet exist. I urge OTW leadership to invest time and money pursuing such solutions. ------- However, I strongly disagree with your current characterization of AI-generated text/images as fanworks. A software program cannot be a "fan" of anything. It cannot feel protective towards a child character in a horror franchise and decide to create an alternate reality where the child is rescued and eventually defeats the monsters. It cannot exist as a sexual minority in a world full of cishet people, wonder if the two "best friends" in a space mecha show have feelings that go WAY beyond friendship, and decide to create an alternate reality where those characters' feelings DO blossom into romance. ---- I understand the legal and technical definition of "transformative works/fair use" etc do not match up with our fannish subcultural understanding of "fanwork". But you were created to uphold FANdom and FANworks. Please think about this!!! ------ Finally: please add "generated by AI" to the list of top-level warnings like Major Character Death. If users don't want others to know that the text they submitted was generated by AI, then "Chose not to use Archive Warnings" would still cover that scenario. While I personally would prefer AI-generated text not be hosted at all on the Archive, I appreciate that it would be nearly impossible to prevent them from being posted entirely. This way, those of us who don't want to interact with them in any way will not have to do so.
  70. Reply
    • Mel commented: Agreed, this is very bizarre. This wasn't a random volunteer posting to their personal Twitter account, this was the Legal Chair speaking in an OTW-related capacity later quoted in formal OTW communication.
    • Reply
    • L8 commented: "A software program cannot be a "fan" of anything." As Taenith said above. That sentence needs to be the tagline for why AI generated fanworks should be disallowed.
    • Reply
  71. Sei-notti commented: I too would like to leave my name down as a voice against the inclusion of wholly AI-generated fic; how can you stand against individuals scraping content to feed into AI, but permit them to show the fruits of the countless items that existed in the archives prior to strengthening the defenses against it? Numerous people have posted to their social media about how they've taken abandoned stories - or ones they think to be abandoned, or even just those they dislike the ending to - and had AI generate the next chapter or a different ending to it. Do you want to embolden them by saying they could post content spat out by a computer, 'inspired by' another fan's hours of work tailoring each word? There will not be a perfect way to prevent the content from being added, but to not even pretend there is an honor system of 'this work was created by a genuine, human fan without the use of AI or other generative technology' is a joke.
  72. Reply
  73. H. commented: So Ao3 is about to become a junkyard with no one but strat bots? Because that's what will inevitably happen like it happened to other sites that allowed AI "art". There is nothing, literally nothing, fannish in AI. It's not fanwork. It's a bot generated text posted specifically *because* someone didn't have the fannish drive to create anything on their own.
  74. Reply
  75. seaara commented: Right can we calm the hysteria a little guys, they literally say “at the time of the writing” and “internal discussions are ongoing” because this is a new problem in all our lives and there isn’t an easy solution, as evidenced by varying comments who disagree on how to solve this issue—despite all agreeing that they hate ai. If people in the comments can’t wholly agree then members of the otw team will be the same. It’s been less than 2 days since the backlash started and all the otw have other actual real life full time jobs so can we let them try to work on something that might be agreeable without us all being at their throats for the time it takes them to do it.
  76. Reply
    • Mel commented: If there are internal discussions, then it's worth them getting ongoing member input. If we can't all agree, why not bring it to a vote?
    • Reply
  77. Firepup commented: I'm disappointed Legal's recommendation was an "Opt Out". Not even an "Opt in"? Opt Outs feel inherently predatory. This is a weak stance. Please argue that AI is unethical without consent, credit, and/or compensation to scraped creators. Also, if fanfiction is nonprofit, nothing scraped from us should be allowed to garner income either. It puts all fans, who were obeying the laws, in legal jeopardy through no action or fault of our own. AI shouldn't be allowed to plagiarize people's work to splice into commercial works in the first place! Literally nothing trained with the Common Crawl database should ever be allowed to be used for more than personal non-monetizable assets BECAUSE our non-monetizable work is in it. Yet people have and will use this database to sell books with AI! People are saying AI like ChatGPT "allegedly" take from databases without permission. Meanwhile, you're sitting on proof Common Crawl infringed on the consent of roughly 5,740,000 of your own users. It's not a "'Whoopsie' looks like they stole everything from us prior to December 2022!" Legal take these people to court! AI should not be allowed to "transform" our nonprofit work, swiped from under our nose with no consent, into commercial viability.
  78. Reply
    • long time fandom enthusiast commented: ^this
    • Reply
  79. apprepuff commented: We appreciate that you’re trying to protect us from scraping, but ❰❰❰AI-generated work is NOT FANWORK because ROBOTS CANNOT BE FANS.❱❱❱ When AI becomes sentient, then it can participate in fandom, but AI “fics” are NOT fanwork. They are regurgitated Frankensteins of STOLEN HUMAN WORK.
  80. Reply
  81. A Still Rather Peeved Puppet commented: While I am happy to read this update and receive further clarification on AO3's collective stance on AI and AI-generated works, there are two things in this response that I am not very pleased about, which other people have mentioned before: 1. The recommendation to allow creators to "opt out" of letting our works be used for AI training purposes is a bad one. It should be "opt in", ensuring that all fics used for that training are being enthusiastically volunteered by their authors. There are works on the site whose authors no longer have access to the accounts they posted them with, authors who are DECEASED, for god's sake. It is incredibly disrespectful to allow their works to be used for that purpose without obtaining their active consent. Make it opt in. 2. I understand and appreciate the difficulty in identifying AI-generated text, so I respect that removing all AI-generated fics from the site is an impossible and possibly even damaging-to-the-site task to undertake. I would not ask that of AO3's volunteers, but it is very disingenuous to present fic that was wholly AI-generated as if it were equivalent to the care and effort a real human would put into writing something. AI-generated fics are /not/ fanworks, because they were created by unthinking machines and not fans, and should NOT be treated as such.
  82. Reply
  83. VisceralComa commented: Perhaps adding to the existing Archive required warning with the option of "AI Generated" to cover partially or fully generated fics. That way its something authors can elect to mark their fic as.
  84. Reply
    • cmon now commented: This does not solve the problem of ai being inherently unethical and otw continuing to choose to include them as fanwork. This is not a case of different fictional tastes to do away with a tag. This is a technology inherently built on exploitation that they should completely disavow.
    • Reply
      • Ring commented: I would like to see them take a much stronger stance against this as an organization, but I don't think there's any way they can realistically ban generated content without risking false positives. There have already been a number of creators harassed because their work looked enough like generated content to strike people the wrong way (sadly, it was probably in part because their work was done in a style that's popular enough to get prompted for regularly). I -have- seen people tag their generated fanfiction, so there may be enough willing to be honest to make a difference; it would also set that content apart from tagged work.
      • Reply
        • effectiveness is not the point commented: The point is not whether such a ban would be effective. I do not want any policy of reporting fics only suspected of being AI. What I do care for is a firm anti-AI ethos established within the organisation seeing as these models are completely unethical.
        • Reply
  85. Not Good Enough commented: This is disingenuous and insufficient. How can you say in one breath that the large-scale dataset scraping that occurred is bad and you've done what you can to stop our work from being scraped to fuel AI moving forward, AND say "fanwork" that's partially or FULLY AI created is worth preserving. It's stolen work! It should fall under your plagiarism guidelines. Period. I don't know how someone could even put both parts of this update into one post with a straight face. It's completely illogical. I get that you can't undo the scraping, and that you can't necessarily enforce an AI ban. But you can take a stance. You can say that work uploaded to the archive should be generated by a human without use of AI, because AI is theft. Tagging alone is not enough, as people who can't write their own work probably aren't interested in self-identifying. I know this isn't going away. But it's outrageous that you're openly welcoming lazy machine-generated theft, made possible because of actual work by your users, and defending its preservation right alongside the work it stole from. I'm also highly concerned that all of this is coming out AFTER the fundraising drive when it's been an issue needing addressed well before this year's drive took place. I have been a supporter and sung ao3's and otw's praises every chance I get as a place that truly supports and protects writers. You completely flip that upside down with this policy and I have lost an immense amount of respect until this is rectified.
  86. Reply
  87. Elsa commented: Thanks for the update !
  88. Reply
  89. Veruska commented: " it is an unfortunate reality that anything that is publicly available online can be used for reasons other than its initial intended purposes. " Essentially, you're saying that fanficion is an unfortunate reality. :D
  90. Reply
  91. mabyn commented: Thank you for posting your current position. - It is reassuring to hear that AO3 does not support web scraping for the purpose of training AI. - I appreciate the steps already taken to limit it. - I am asking that AO3 update the Terms of Service to explicit forbid web scraping for the purpose of AI. - I am asking that AO3 update the Terms of Service to only allow web scraping for academic research projects or for individual or fan-based backup purposes. - I disagree with AO3's current position that works generated entirely by AI are viable fanworks. I am disappointed in this position. I request an update to the Terms of Service that such works are not permissible. - I am asking that AO3 have a public conversation about the inclusion of AI-generated fanworks in the archive. - While AO3 may not always have the means to enforce Terms of Service, it is important that the terms reflect our values and also external parties understand legitimate and illegitimate uses of the site. - Although I disagree with Betsy's position on this matter, I did want to say that I believe her position as articulated in the interview 1. did not seek to represent AO3 and 2. was legally sound and 3. was ethically sound (although I take a different ethical position) despite the tone being too light for the subject matter and 4. was published in a professional organization for libraries and not part of a fandom conversation. While it is legitimate to ask whether or not Betsy has a conflict of interest, merely having a different opinion than AO3 and/or fandom is not a conflict of interest, it is a difference of opinion. Therefore I would as of now caution against calls for her resignation as long as she prioritizes the interests and wishes of the fandom community. Note: I have absolutely no relationship with this person at all or know of her, but I do value how important it is for AO3 to have legal expertise. Thank you for your attention to this matter and we hope to see more done to protect fandom writers and engage fandom in this conversation. This should not be a closed-door conversation.
  92. Reply
  93. Poly commented: I'm glad something is being done about any bots that would incorporate my fanworks in a for-profit enterprise. AO3 is one of the few places left where a fanwork can truly be free. I'm ambivalent about allowing AI fanworks. I'm not gonna be the person who snipes at fans who like to make what are essentially word collages. Other people's pictures can be arranged into a new art, and that's how I look at it. Just don't use any of it for profit and we're good.
  94. Reply
  95. WhyAreYouProtectingTheComputerAndNotTheHuman? commented: Years ago, I was reported for plagiarizing a fic I had never heard of--not even just never read, but NEVER HEARD OF--and ao3 chose to uphold the accusation and tell me to take the fic down because they found the premises too similar. I didn't bother fighting the accusation. How could I when ao3 had clearly made the decision that it didn't matter that I'd never heard of or read the fic? What possible defense could I have against that when they'd ignored the only defense (and truth) I had? Now otw is going to sit here and tell me that a program that is fundamentally incapable of thinking for itself, which means that the only way it can write ANYTHING is by being fed other (human) writers' works, doesn't count as plagiarism unless it's using word-for-word passages. Please explain to me this double standard. Please explain how something that can't write for itself, can't be given anything but a concept--the very same thing I supposedly plagiarized--isn't plagiarism when the only thing it's capable of using is what actual human authors have already written. You can't tell me that a similar concept counts as plagiarism when it's a human author but "innovation" when it's a computer, especially when the computer literally cannot think for itself and can only regurgitate what was put into it, which in this case IS other people's writing. When I'm teaching and I come across a passage that a student took from someone else's writing but changed a few words, I don't go "oh well that's not plagiarism because some words were switched around," so why is it any different when a computer does it? If this is going to be your new stance going forward, then I want my fic back, because if an AI had spit that out, apparently you would have applauded it, not told me to delete it.
  96. Reply
    • Can’t believe I have to say this commented: THIS. I can understand that enforcing a no-AI generated fics policy may be impractical with current resources, and I’m not advocating allowing people to wholesale start reporting “suspected” AI works. HOWEVER. OTW could, and should imo, have taken a stance against AI overall which would have been far more consistent with their supposed ethos of protecting free creative expression for fair use purposes. AI is inherently both predatory and non-creative; furthermore, as many commenters have pointed out, it’s also being trained on our and others’ work so that it can be used for profit while cutting out human creatives eho would have to be paid to create unique and new content—***which is inherently NOT fair use***. Seems to me that OTW’s legal counsel is setting OTW (and all of us AO3 users) up for a big, hard fall by taking a positive stance on AI.
    • Reply
  97. Plantzawa commented: Allowing machine created works into the archive first flies in the face of the definition of art(which relies on HUMAN experience), and secondly embraces the deeply unethical theft of work to create the datasets and pattern recognition used in these AI language models. These AI generated stories are not art, they are not fanworks, and they are made from stolen writing. Get your act together OTW. This is NOT a complicated situation.
  98. Reply
  99. Kamari333 commented: if youre going to insist on preserving AI fics alongside those written by actual writers, then AI made (in whole or in part) needs to be an Archive Warning we can filter out and avoid immediately AI written works are being weaponized against hardworking writers by corporations, and this is the bare minimum we can do as a community.
  100. Reply
  101. D Z commented: really appreciate the explanation on what AO3 is doing to guard against scraping. however, i don’t believe AI-generated fics have a place on the site. it’s not about “best” or “most popular”, but simply that all fanworks indexed on this site until now, as i understand it, have been created by humans, and AI-generated fics are not that. inputting a prompt into an AI tool is not the same as writing or drawing a fanwork yourself. if AI is trained on a pool of writing, some of which may or may not be other existing fics on AO3, how is that any different from posting plagiarized work?
  102. Reply
  103. Jane commented: You say this: "If fans are using AI to generate fanworks, then our current position is that this is also a type of work that is within our mandate to preserve." The problem is that fanworks generated using AI are by default plagiarism. They were trained using art, fic, data, etc. that the original creators did not consent to. I wouldn't be able to put a piece of someone's fanart in Photoshop, slap a Gaussian Blur on it, and call it transformative when I repost it - but that's what AI does. This devalues every single piece of fanwork hosted on the AO3, and it's honestly really, really troubling that no one taking part in your "internal discussions" seems to have recognized this. The intention of preserving all fanworks is noble, but AI-generated stuff isn't a transformative fanwork - it's plagiarism of fanwork. ------------------ Additionally, it's weirdly unlike the AO3 to make something opt-out by default. If you develop any mechanism to allow users to request that their fics or works aren't scraped by LLM crawlers, it needs to be on by default for everyone. What about users who pass away and don't have a fannish next-of-kin? You're just gonna let their works be dumped into the dataset training for chum?------ It's really strange the way that the OTW seems to be dancing around this "We don't want to NOT support AI, but we can't say that we really support it, either..." Your beating around the bush is deafening. Either say you support it or don't, but stop hemming and hawing about fanwork preservation when you know darn well that we can read between the lines. If this is the direction that the OTW's non-elected positions are steering the organization, I'm out. You've lost your way.
  104. Reply
  105. Ring commented: I appreciate this statement, and I think it's the best position that can be reasonably taken right now. While I understand the desire to archive all types of fanwork--and it is historically significant that these stories exist, for better or worse--I would like to see an archive label created for generated works and a requirement that they be tagged, similar to the rule on ArtStation. There is no way to enforce this, but it would clearly separate this type of work into its own distinct category and at least give the people posting it an opportunity to be straightforward about it.
  106. Reply
  107. Thenerdyindividual commented: I appreciate you taking into consideration our concerns. While I understand why you might be struggling with whether to archive AI generated works considering AO3 is meant to be an archive, not a collection based on arbitrary morality, I do not wish to see AI works approved. I know it may be hard to draw a distinction between fans using established works as inspiration, and fans using a bot to generate works as both are relying on preexisting works. However, my distinction comes in a few forms. First is plagiarism. The TOS of AO3 already disallows you to post other people’s works and claim them as your own. All AI/generated works are all lifting writing wholesale from other works and spitting it back out, which then people claim as their own thought. It is not original thought, and as the user did not write it themselves but copied it they are taking work from other writers directly without permission. Second is the term “fannish works”. The TOS also disallows users from posting non-fannish works. A machine cannot be a fan of anything itself as it is not sentient. All it can do is copy from preexisting fannish work and spit it back out. The user prompting the machine may be a fan, but as they are not creating the work themselves I don’t think it’s fair to categorize it as a fannish work. It feels more like fannish generated spam. Similarly, a machine cannot transform a work as it cannot understand the work as a concept. It can only spit back what it was trained on. Lastly, is the labor involved. Even short fics take time, effort, and creativity. It takes work for someone to sit down and transform the thing they are passionate about. It’s why OTW/AO3 was created, because our labor of love needed to be protected from corporations and morality policing alike. It feels unfair to protect works that were not actually created. I know this last reasoning is more of an emotional appeal, but it felt it needed to be said. I understand that taking a hard stance against generated work puts OTW in a sticky situation. It opens up doors to the exact kind of morality policing it was created to prevent. Unfortunately, I also share the concerns of others that by allowing generated works, you are still giving tacit permission for scraping and plagiarism. There needs to be a balance. I, personally, think it can fall under plagiarism but I am not a policy maker. I’m just a concerned fan.
  108. Reply
  109. Aewin commented: A computer/AI is not a fan, thus works they produce are not fanworks.Fanworks are meant to share passion for a work with the fandom at large, and computers are incapable of passion. It is that simple. AIs were trained using unethically acquired datasets - and you admit in your post that you are aware of this. AIs also consume massive amounts of power and water (to cool hardware performing calculations), so use of AI directly harms the environment. There should be zero support whatsoever for this technology. Users should not only be able to opt out of having their works used to train these datasets, but this should be an opt-in option by default. Features like this should ALWAYS be opt-in from any organization that values their users' privacy and autonomy, and having it be opt-in erodes trust and makes me worry that you don't have users' best interests in mind. Please reconsider your stances on this and strengthen your commitment to user control over their works and data, or this may lead to a major schism in fandom and the userbase. Of all threats to AO3 and the OTW I've seen over the years, this one has caused the biggest and most serious immediate rift.
  110. Reply
  111. concerned commented: There should be an OPT IN option, not OPT OUT. The default must be that we do NOT consent to our data being scraped for AI "training". Millions of users on this website do not follow the news like those of us commenting and/or are not regularly active.
  112. Reply
  113. Lymmea commented: Thank you for clarifying your stance on AI! This is exactly what I was hoping for, at least in terms of your keeping your users informed - and I also think that (unlike, perhaps, your last announcement) you explained things to the average OTW/AO3 user in a manner that helped them understand the OTW's position and decisions. I knew that preventing all data scraping would be next to impossible for the OTW to do, since this would require (for example) the entirety of AO3 to no longer be able to be searched by search engines or being able to be backed up by the Wayback Machine, both measures which would frankly be kind of rough on the site. (To say nothing of most likely being extremely hard to implement.) And now, having learned from my last time posting...I'm going to make a new reply for each new paragraph to break up my words.
  114. Reply
  115. Lymmea commented: Doing what you can to block widescale scraping, while explaining that 1) there's no way to undo scraping that's already happened, and 2) why blocking all scraping forever is not really feasible and would come with some pretty severe drawbacks, is both I think as much as any reasonable person could have hopeed for, and also communicates effectively to users what they need to know to understand why this is a reasonable stance. Which is excellent!
  116. Reply
  117. Tatiana commented: An AI-generated story is just Plagiarism With Extra Steps. AI-generated stories should not be allowed on AO3, just as plagiarism is not allowed on AO3. If AO3 insists on allowing AI-generated stories, then I will not be donating to OTW next year.
  118. Reply
  119. Lymmea commented: The continued allowance of AI-generated fanworks on AO3 is NOT what I wanted to hear, admittedly, but I respect that at least it is a coherent stance the OTW has taken on the subject. And I do understand the logic behind allowing such works - there's nothing I respect more about the OTW than its dedication to preserving as many fanworks as possible, and leaning as much towards permissiveness on the subject of what kind of fanworks are allowed is in line with this goal. As stated previously, however, my own stance on the matter is that AI programs are effectively tool-assisted plagiarism, because they are fed on other people's works without their consent and use that content to generate profit that the creators of those works will never see. If and when AI programs that do NOT do this are used to generate fanworks, I would have no objections to their being hosted on AO3 or any other site! But as long as AI programs have their roots in stealing content from others in order to generate their own 'remixes' of other people's work, I feel like they should be treated the same way plagiarized works should be - which is to say, they should not be welcome, and if someone is discovered to have posted such content it should be removed. (And, if the site policies against doing such things were clear enough, it could be taken as a violation of those policies, and the respective user banned as one would ban anyone else flaunting site policy.) I would argue that plagiarizing multiple works in order to generate your own is NOT the kind of 'transformative' the OTW stands for. Again, I understand the underlying principle of AI works being a form of transformative fanworks, and wanting to protect them on those grounds - and IF they were not generated using stolen content, I could agree with that assessment. But that's not the way these types of AI programs currently work, so I feel any works generated by programs without STRICT restrictions on what kinds of works they are trained on should be considered a form of plagiarism.
  120. Reply
  121. Lymmea commented: I appreciate that the discussion about AI works is still ongoing within the OTW, and I hope that these considerations about the ethics of how these programs work and how they are trained to generate these works - which involves using other people's creative efforts without their consent to generate profit for programmers and companies who have no right to monetize other people's hard work against their will in that way - is taken into account, just as much as the OTW's commitment to preserving fanworks in as broad a scope as possible. I don't think the OTW's values involve protecting heavily plagiarized works, and you've already made it clear that you as an organization wish to protect your users from the very kind of data scraping these programs engage in, so I feel like how AI programs are trained is extremely relevant to the question of whether work they generate should be allowed on the site, and I hope the OTW comes to see that there really is only one decision in line with its overall values on this least until how AI programs work changes significantly for the better.
  122. Reply
  123. Chamber commented: Appreciate this update for the most part, but I do agree with others here that AI generated "work" is no different than plagiarized work, and should not be archived /here/ - at least without significant separation from genuine submissions. Stuff like that can be hosted where it is /welcome/, elsewhere.
  124. Reply
  125. Tor commented: As a part of one of them, I can accurately say that major commercial vendors of books are not allowing the sale of AI-created books because they recognize that AI generated content is plagiarism. Why is AO3 not following this same understanding when a piece of software is incapable of creating any original work and can only function after being trained on the stolen work of others? I sincerely hope that AO3 and OTW quickly changes its official policy and TOS around AI generated works - not fanworks, because software is not human and cannot be a fan of anything.
  126. Reply
  127. S commented: "Maximum inclusivity of fanworks." You people need to understand what the hell an archive even is! Most archives in real life have some degree of curation involved. Honestly the OTW is a fucking joke. You and your staunch supporters make the same arguments when people try to challenge racism on the archive. Take some responsibility for once. Protect your users! I love using the AO3 but it's becoming increasingly more obvious that you really don't care about anything but yourselves and preserving your image instead of taking an actual solid stance on something. Pathetic!
  128. Reply
    • Chamber commented: "Maximum inclusivity of [human] fanworks." should be the goal, not... whatever this is
    • Reply
  129. Member commented: AI is not a fan, it does not write, it does not belong to a community. It has nothing to do with transformative culture. AI is plagiarism. I hope you will rethink your stance.
  130. Reply
  131. h commented: the shitcourse being so prominent that it's even infected AO3 is ridiculous. so many brainless takes in this thread predicated on the Objectively False perspective that the goal of AI is to replace creatives, that it rehashes what already exists, that it's plagiaristic by nature. if you learned about AI from illustrators on Twitter who have a history of stirring up bullshit for attention, I literally don't want to hear your opinion on it. be silent. approach AI developers in good faith and be prepared to be corrected or don't do it at all.
  132. Reply
    • h commented: models don't and can't contain their training data. it's physically impossible to compress data that much. text AI generates random words with weight put towards different words at different times. training just defines those weights by analyzing text. let me underline that: *a text AI model is a map of weights, showing how much more likely one word is to come after another word. it DOES NOT contain any copyrighted content.* therefore it CANNOT be plagiarism. if you read the interview with Betsy you'll understand why.
    • Reply
      • Chamber commented: you seem troubled by this series of events in an entirely different way than anyone else, are you okay? do you want kudos on something?
      • Reply
    • the cooler h commented: I'm sorry the mean professional artists on twitter don't think your big titty waifu sakimichan knockoff images that the computer spat out are cool :(((((((((
    • Reply
    • i commented: Purely out of curiosity, what NFT do you use as your Twitter profile pic?
    • Reply
    • Ring commented: I learned about it by using it, because I was neutral-to-cautiously positive on it until it became obvious that it's being sold to companies and investors as a cost-saving breakthrough, and many people in the position to buy into it are absolutely delighted at the idea that they'll be able to hire lower-paid workers to clean up generated material. I suspect that's not a realistic future at all, but I've never seen company leaders in my industry or any adjacent one glimpse a rake lying on the ground without slamming their collective foot onto it deliberately. It's entirely possible that in two years it'll go the same way as pivot-to-video and every CEO who got talked into believing this shit could cure cancer and suck cock will sheepishly admit that devastating their workforce in favor of it was a little oopsy-daisy on their part. But they are actually being told that, and they are ridiculous enough to believe it, so that is a very rational fear. And I have seen very few examples of models straying close enough to existing text that it would be considered plagiarism if a human wrote it, but I do think it's reasonable for people to consider it ethically fucked that for-profit projects were able to scrape the public internet to create money machines that THEY THEMSELVES are now pretending are powerful enough to be an existential threat. People who are for this shit need to get their house in order--is it a harmless, fun tool the plebs are flinching at for no good reason, or is it so overwhelmingly world-changing that we're all going to be applying for prompting positions soon and hoping it gains benevolent sentience? I personally think it could have been a neat convenience that would have had about as much overall impact as Photoshop if startup investment ghouls could shut the fuck up about how they just totally invented the singularity for five minutes. But they can't, so it's fucking NFTs all over again and should probably be strangled before another emergent techlord dipshit is granted the influence of a sovereign head of state.
    • Reply
      • Ring commented: Like, how the fuck do you see this happening and sincerely argue that the goal of implementing this for many, many companies is not to replace creatives? How do you see the specific language the WGA is concerned about and think this is unreasonable to be worried about? Unless you didn't know it was happening across multiple industries, in which case, now you do!
      • Reply
  133. azi commented: This is a little emotional and I have written more nuanced takes elsewhere but I'm tired and upset. You know what? the bottom line of this is this- does AO3 care enough about the existing works to protect them over plagiarised AI outputs? Because if it doesn't, then its policy of maximum inclusiveness isn't all that inclusive is it? When that means that they blatantly support ripping off the writers who have poured so much love and time into this community? There's no supporting both in this case. You're either pro-art and pro-writers or you're pro-tool built on the backs of unconsenting labour. That's it. This is the last I'll write to AO3 on this topic and sincerely hope that they do the right thing. The ethical thing. Toodles.
  134. Reply
  135. Lizonka commented: I understand that there’s no way you can completely ban AI works. After all, how can you even tell if a story was made by AI? There aren’t really any tools for it. So far, we’ve just been relying on the “author” themselves admitting it. If there’s a ban, people will just post AI works in secret. Since AI stories are here to stay, I suggest creating a separate category/warning/tag for it so users who don’t want to read such works cane asily filter it out.
  136. Reply
    • Clarity Jones commented: AO3 bans many kinds of content that isn't plagiarism and isn't illegal. For example, ads, blog posts, and liveblogs/reactions are all banned, despite being legal. The reason for banning them is that they're not fanworks, and AO3 is just for fanworks. I don't believe that text generated by an algorithm that doesn't understand what it's writing counts as a fanwork.
    • Reply
  137. Help Me Understand commented: This is an ill-considered and deeply insufficient response that condescends to the very groups the OTW claims to work to represent. I don't understand why this organization would choose to burn its reputation and name on the altar of billionaire techbros' rights to exploit the labor of creatives for personal profit.
  138. Reply
  139. disappointed fan writer commented: Fortunate that AO3's code is open source, indeed, and that the general path of 'own the servers, collect as safely as possible' is already established. Fortunate that there's at least one currently existing alternative, given all this. Already, the problems with racism on the archive are ... well it's said they're not on backburner, but it certainly looks that way to people who have suffered from it. And now, with the 'AI' problem? 'AI' that cannot generate anything of itself without a prompt, unless someone tells the program what to generate, or the parameters with which to generate? 'AI' that was built off the scraped and stolen data of the internet, including AO3 itself, which is how it can be prompted to mimic fanwork at all? 'AI', which let us not forget, is owned by corporations now using the hype and the programs they built off others' exploited labour to make profits? To squeeze out the same people they exploited? THAT 'AI''s poisoned fruit, you wish to call fanwork and include in the Archive? The Archive of fans, for fans? Just because some hypothetical fan, for whatever reason, decided to take a shortcut and prompted the 'AI' to give them something and threw it onto the Archive? Ripping off the hard work of others? I'm personally glad that yes, as a nameless, anonymous whole [for understandable reasons] the Archive and the OTW are discussing this -- but seriously, how did any of you miss the literal months, over a year, of fury about 'AI' being used to savage creative works and creators? Please do better. Please consider the old question of 'Who Benefits'. Fans aren't allowed even to put a ko-fi or donation box out, in the name of preserving what space there is for fanwork to exist via free-use, and also to preserve the gift economy of fandom sharing and sharing alike. But for these 'AI', it is not fans or ordinary people who benefit. And especially not under the current systems of resource distribution across the world. The utopian dream of 'AI' apologists should first amend that, before proposing that the exploited welcome fruther exploitation.
  140. Reply
    • Steff commented: Working on #3 use of OTW's archive software, though it's for a single franchise archive. But if I could get OTW's software working with almost no experience (though definitely with the help of those who have it), then others can, too. And I intend to facilitate the hell out of them doing so precisely because of stuff like this. I'm a member of OTW. I'm also very aware that they've created a defacto monopoly on fanworks for AO3, that their archive software is NEVER EVER going to leave beta and that they have no interest in preserving fanworks in their own context, rather than through Open Doors (which just increases their hold on fandom). Honestly, folks, resurrect the indie archive now while you still can. And I will help you every step of the way that I can.
    • Reply
  141. Ithika commented: This is a reassuring update, although I think allowing works to be scraped by AI should be opt-in rather than opt-out (what about writers who have passed away or abandoned their accounts etc), I am glad the OTW doesn't automatically approve of scraping across the board as the previous statement suggested. I can also appreciate the difficulties presented by AI-generated writing. To users saying it should be banned, I think for now we should push for clear and comprehensive tagging. Much like categories of fic that some find distasteful, banning them only means they can't be tagged for and thereby avoided. I do think the sheer ease of creation means the ao3 could be flooded with them, so something more might need to be done. I think a Fandom (AI) tag from the category level could be helpful (similar to the way Real Person Fic are differentiated from character/in-universe fic for shows and other media). I personally don't read RPF, and because of this category existing, I basically never come across it when searching in my fandoms.
  142. Reply
    • d commented: Again, this is not about fandom content being personally being found distasteful. This is about AO3 vouching for exploitative works. If they do continue to allow ai generated works, it would be a breach of trust of their users and show that they stand for unethical technology, even when it happens at the expense of actual creators.
    • Reply
  143. Scorpionturtle commented: "Our goals as an organization include maximum inclusivity of fanworks. This means not only the best fanworks, or the most popular fanworks, but all the fanworks that we can preserve. If fans are using AI to generate fanworks, then our current position is that this is also a type of work that is within our mandate to preserve." If they are using AI it is not fan made art, it is AI made art. Them posting it doesn't mean they created it. Fan art is made by a fan, AI can not be a fan as they are not capable of having any feel or personal motivation at all. This is so disrespectful of actual arts. If do you choose to allow it then it should be tagged as AI art no different other classification.
  144. Reply
  145. Disappointed commented: While I'm glad measures have been put in place to discourage scraping, that ao3 is still allowing AI works is, for me, a breach of the trust we've put on you. Those works were created by scraping existing work, it's plagiarism and theft on a large scale and that ao3 continues to allow it to be posted is a massive disappointment. I really expected better from you
  146. Reply
  147. disappointed commented: This is highly disappointing and disrespectful for fanfic writers. Like so many others have already stated, AI is not a fan, it cannot create fanworks. Have some respect for the people who put their time, love and tears into creating fanfiction. To say someone posting stolen work made by a machine is fanart is simply ludicrous. After this it's hard to trust OTW enough to continue posting works in the archive.
  148. Reply
  149. IT. commented: I did not expect the comment section to be like this... Wow. As a legitimate user I must say I would be willing to be much much much more inconvenienced if it meant no uncurated AI interference with the archive. I mean if someone wants to post as AI generated fanfic as theirs go right ahead but plagiarism and automatic stuff??? Alas I do not think this is even physically possible so it is what it is. Who are you people appalled there's no censorship on AO3??? Are you ok?
  150. Reply
    • please commented: We are appalled that the OTW is not taking a firmer stance against the exploitation of their userbase.
    • Reply
  151. Tricky commented: Look as a non profit obviously ao3 are not going to sell data to techbros, please be serious. Equally they are doing what they can to prevent scraping but ultimately if we post to any public site then people with nefarious intentions can still take actions against our arts without our consent, we just hope that they don’t. So the next issue is the otw policy regarding AI as fan works. I think the middle ground could be Ao3 stating that they do not encourage or condone AI but that should it be on the archive then it must be tagged , but even that is at the discretion of the poster. If they outright ban it, it will just be posted untagged. And there is almost no way to identify an AI fic vs just a not great human author. And then we’re getting into sticky territory or potential purges and censorship of innocent fics which ao3 was set up to prevent. The difference with fics being removed for plagiarism is usually you have the original work to refer to and can identify the word for word stolen passages. It’s not like that with AI. Or who knows, maybe the fear of being found out for using AI which could maybe be a bannable offence might put some people off. It’s just the methods of them being found which are lacking. Honestly I don’t know the easy solution because I too would rather them say it’s banned and delete the works already listed as AI. But then what do we do when it appears untagged.
  152. Reply
  153. Cha Cha Cha commented: Thank you for the statement, it's good to see the direction of travel at least. I do think OTW has a difficult line to tread here. If fans should, legally, be free to create & publish works that borrow significant amounts from existing sources, without consent or payment, it becomes difficult to argue that fanworks should be treated with more protection. It could potentially undermine OTW's own legal stance. (Creation for profit is a different matter - but not allowed under AO3 TOS anyway.) Nor do I want to see AO3 be held accountable for others' unethical use of our data - that is a fight to be had with that third party. Further, if AI does turn out to be a tool that fans use, archiving such will be useful for fandom researchers tracking patterns. Like it or not, AO3 is the main fic hub these days. If someone wants to clone the site and make an AI-only one that's an option but people are going to upload AI works here regardless. Focusing on appropriate use of policies including spam, tagging, and plagiarism, with appropriate clarification or extension where needed, seems better to me than a difficult-to-enforce blanket ban that could catch legitimate use. (Re: plagiarism, I'm tempted to see what happens if plugging a rare pair with only one or two writers in the tag into an AI prompt.) From the comments in here, there may well be very few fans that wish to use AI tools anyway (beyond for prompt generation or mad libs), and we may be barking at nothing.
  154. Reply
  155. eatingcroutons commented: Thank you for this clear and sensible update. I think the stronger point to be made about fanworks created with the assistance of AI is that any policy against them would be impossible to enforce - I remember how tricky it was to deal with regular plagiarism cases during my time in PAC, and the idea of trying to judge whether a work might have had AI assistance is the stuff of nightmares. I also want to voice my support for Betsy and all the wonderful work she does for the OTW. Her comments have been wildly misrepresented by people who have taken them out of context and failed to grasp that she was commenting on the legal realities of the situation, not putting forward an OTW policy.
  156. Reply
  157. r. commented: I do not consent to the use of my writing in training sets and I am frankly troubled by your laissez-faire attitude to the fact that it has already happened. Opt IN needs to be the default, not opt out. There are many egregious points in this statement which other people have addressed very saliently, but this is the one that I feel bears repeating. You will see from the overwhelming negative response that nobody wants their writing allowed in AI training datasets. If you are so determined to allow this at all, make people opt in.
  158. Reply
  159. AvidBeader commented: (1) Thank you for your efforts to prevent AI from taking our work. Given how fast this tech is moving, it's a huge challenge. I hope you will be able to keep us updated on this issue.----- (2) However, any future option between "opt in" or "opt out" needs to have the "opt out" choice as the default. Too many accounts here are inactive because the creator has passed away or has left writing for fandoms. Those creators do not deserve to have their works stolen just because they aren't here to protect them.----- (3) I have to agree that the policy of forbidding works that plagiarize other works and the policy of allowing AI-generated text in the name of preserving all fanworks seem mutually exclusive, given that AI programs take other work instead of creating stories through a human imagination.----- (4) And this is a key point. Generating AI text with some prompts is not writing. It does not have the human factor of creativity and is not transformative. I understand that efforts to ban AI text from AO3 would be a nearly impossible task: there are already far too many entries on the site for the volunteers to easily find them and take them down. I support the suggestion of creating an "AI-generated" tag to add to the Big Five archive warnings. It's not a perfect solution - there are many contributors who ignore or make mistakes in using those tags - but it would greatly improve the ability for readers to filter out a large portion of AI-generated text as they browse the Archive.----- This issue, along with the continuing issue of people using the Archive to spread racist beliefs or attack others, will be informing my participation in the board elections this summer. I hope the current board and potential candidates consider very carefully where lines need to be drawn in the effort to archive and preserve fanworks.
  160. Reply
  161. Kaycee commented: I am still confused on how AI generated fics don’t fall under the umbrella of theft or plagiarism, or how it is considered a FANwork when AI isn’t a fan, it’s a machine. A machine has no feelings, doesn’t create for love of something, doesn’t dedicate time, blood, swear, and tears to produce these works. AI is not a fan. It cannot participate in fandom. I had originally spoken of this being an opt-out, but now I see the wisdom in those stating it should be an opt-IN, those who consent to having their works mined for AI explicitly giving it, rather than the default being that of consent. This seems like it might be a small step in the right direction, but nowhere near where it needs to be yet. We need to know that AO3 values us and backs us, that we are protected from this sort of thing. This is why AO3 was made in the first place, an archive of OUR own, not of AI. As a long time member and donor I expect more from OTW.
  162. Reply
  163. Disappointment commented: AI generated fics are theft, imho, and have no place in AO3 and should not be allowed at all. There should be no feature to "opt in" or "opt out" on AI scanning and if you do implement that feature, "opt out" should be the default. I'm not entirely sure why OTW still wants to support AI while the whole community is saying "no" to AI. There will be a lot of people who will leave AO3 and delete their fics if you continue to support AI and I 100% support those creators because their fics are made with love and hard work. At this point, it seems like the original values of AO3 and creators are not lining up with OTW anymore and it's disheartening. Please protect creators instead of supporting AI and AI "creators."
  164. Reply
  165. A. commented: Seconding, thirding, what-have-you, everyone else's sentiments that AI-generated fics and fanart ARE NOT fanwork. It's puzzling how close y'all got to taking a good stance in favor of fanwork creators...and still fumbled the ball at the last possible minute. For goodness' sake, OTW, do better
  166. Reply
  167. concerned and frustrated commented: AI-generated fics are not fanworks. They are not created by a human fan, rather by a machine regurgitating words scraped from the net. Such content has no place in the archive. If it falls under plagiarism for most basic classroom assignments, which AI does in a great many educational institutions now, then it ought to here as well. We are about to see a sea of legal cases against AI across nearly every industry. Do better and lead by example by taking a stand against stolen, machine-created content.
  168. Reply
  169. Ashley commented: I don't understand why an API is not mentioned here. Because if an API was available, you'd have more standard researchers using that instead of scraping manually. Most want the meta data only, anyway, and it costs you mostly the same pings as it does to access the story when really you could have a database that would allow people to view that data that way. It wouldn't technically stop a nefarious party, true, but it would at least allow people to separate database/researcher/personal use (non-profit ultimately) scrapers from those who are using it for commercial services. True lovers of ao3 who scrape for personal reasons do not want to harm ao3, but there is no way currently that people who want to save all of a particular fandom or tag look any different from commercial scrapers and also understand how much those scrapers cost ao3. In turn, you could have a suggested donation for how much the pings cost you. There's researchers and people archiving who would consider paying whatever amount if you actually did this. I understand it's not about money, ultimately, but server costs are server costs. This way if there's a violation of using data for profit, you can perhaps have legal recourse for someone using your site to scrape because you made it clear going forward that for-profit use is not allowed and that there's legitimate avenues for non-profit use. So that way you can really close down IP addresses that start scraping without use of the API to do so. Right now you're basically just being like "please don't" because you have no legitimate way of researchers or personal scrapers to work with you. As for API works that are posted, I get that you can't stop people, and that people are tagging fics as API works. I know a lot of people are going to yell at you to change things and take action asap, but honestly moving fast on doing something different is probably not the best idea. Take it slow to think about this. It sucks that people are going to pressure you with "now, now, now," but ultimately I think a lot of discussion and thought should be put into this. If it were me, the most I'd consider is an Archive Warning for AI fic, to really separately categorize the thing away from other fics. The best we can really do is not give API works our attention or kudos, because we all know most authors thrive on the attention. It would allow us to starve them out on our own time.
  170. Reply
  171. Rele commented: The very fact AI-works can be considered as "fanworks" is an oxymoron. AI is not a fan, it's not a person showing love for a show, movie, comic o series. It's a scrapping tool making *something* out of the works of someone. So it doesn't produce something, it steals and pieces together things that do not belong to the AI or the one manipulating it. And that's not protected by the general use. AI does not create and for that it cannot produce fanworks. I would like to have a word with the legal team as a lawyer myself because the fact this is even considered worth of protection is very, very concerning. An archive is a place for works created by people, not by AI. And has no place in the protection or preservation the archive works towards to.
  172. Reply
  173. MM commented: Adding my voice to the many stating that this position is not acceptable. AI content spewing machines are being rushed into the public conversation by people who don't care about the damage they do - note the Kenya examples of people forced to read emotionally distressing material, the environmental impact (excessive water use) and the fact that every other professional creative industry is rallying against the use of AI in their fields. Yet, because it's 'fanfic', it's fine to let them rob us blind, rip our works out of context, slam them into automated blenders and then accept them back into the Archive? While giving us next to no options to protect, defend, or resist the process. Your current stance is disappointing, lacking in recognition of the nuances of the situation, and feels a lot like people sticking their fingers in their ears and going la la la we can't hear you! over a wall of legitimate complaints. I have already decided to cease using AO3 going forward, and I urge other concerned fan writers to do the same. It is unethical to continue to use a site that is happy to allow scraping for commercial uses while denying authors any voice or place in the discussion.
  174. Reply
  175. AO3 LoveIsStrong commented: Thank you for your response. This is super helpful and I sincerely appreciate it.
  176. Reply
  177. It's Fair commented: Idk this is fair. A checkbox indicating work being AI-generated could be helpful, but then that brings the question of "fully AI-generated" OR "AI-assisted", i.e. a 500 word ficlet generated by an AI vs a 100k longfic which used an AI to help smooth over a few sentences
  178. Reply
  179. Fatal drum commented: AI "fanworks" have no place on AO3. They're trash. We don't allow top 10 lists, personality quizzes, and other ephemera on AO3. We should not allow disposable AI "content" in our archive. If left unchecked, AI filler could dominate the archive, crowding out actual fanworks.
  180. Reply
  181. MC commented: Okay, well, I know this will be VERY unpopular, looking at all the other responses, but I, for one, am okay with the Archive's "maximum inclusiveness" policy. Mostly because it seems like it would become an utter chore and an "angels on a pinhead" style debate about what, if anything, constituted legitimate AI use. If an someone uses 100% AI and just types in prompts, I do get it, and get why many don't like that. But what if someone uses 70% AI, but hand writes 30%? 50/50? Or, maybe on the other extreme end, they use the AI for one scene they are writer's blocked on, but wrote the rest themselves? Ultimately, I think sorting that out is going to be a lot bigger of a hurdle than just making a system where those works are expected to be tagged (and perhaps we could have different tags for when an AI only does some of it "AI assisted" vs "AI generated" for when it's closer to 100%). Now, granted, people may lie, you probably can't guarantee anything, but I think that, at the moment, that would be a better way to sort it. The larger, societal debate about AI is just perhaps best not had on the archive itself.
  182. Reply
  183. ffs commented: So the archive should to use its resources - monetary and legal- to defend AI spam as well as host stuff plagiarised from our own works? Cool cool cool cool.
  184. Reply
  185. marks commented: You've admitted works in the archive have been scraped to train AI without the consent of the OTW, yet you're allowing AI-generated work? I haven't seen a satisfactory explanation about how this isn't a form of plagiarism, which is already against AO3's ToS. Sure, AI-generated writing might be hard to detect without someone tagging for it, but plagiarism also can be! That doesn't mean it should be allowed. And yeah, to answer a comment above, someone plagiarizing only a small part of their long fic as opposed to the whole thing is still plagiarizing. That's never been in question before, so why would it be now? Also, all new settings on AO3 should be opt in, not opt out. Anyone who got a hundred emails asking their fics be included in some rando's collection before that default opt-in function was finally implemented should understand this pain. Besides, someone who stopped writing fic in 2015 should not be considered tacitly agreeing to every new option that the OTW ever introduces, just because they're no longer an active user of AO3. That's not even figuring in all of the memorial accounts that exist. You're just begging for people to delete all of their fic from the archive if they leave fandom, which, you know, defeats the purpose of an archive. This is a ridiculous stance all around. No one is asking for 100% perfection in preventing our existing works from being scraped and generated works from being posted because people can be jerks, but you shrugging and saying this is no big deal is also extremely stupid. Set a good precedent and consider revising (again).
  186. Reply
  187. DL commented: Per the OTW's March 27 Board meeting minutes, the Content committee has been dissolved and its function folded into the Legal Committee. This means that Betsy Rosenblatt is head of the committee responsible for deciding what content, such as AI-generated works, is allowed on the Archive. As I understand it, the Board doesn't make these decisions; formerly Content and and now Legal committee does Could you comment on how Betsy's opinion influences decisions made about allowable content?
  188. Reply
    • i did NOT know this commented: holy shit. how tf is allowable content policy under a committee who's head cannot be voted on?
    • Reply
    • MM commented: Seconded, OMG. We need more transparency here. An AI maximalist influencing decisions about allowable content is a big conflict of interest.
    • Reply
  189. Jo commented: "At the moment, there is nothing in our Terms of Service that prohibits fanworks that are fully or partly generated with AI tools from being posted to the AO3, if they otherwise qualify as fanworks." Perhaps your Terms of Service need to be reconsidered. I doubt anyone would argue with the wisdom of prohibiting fanworks made by machine.
  190. Reply
    • A. commented: Agreed. I do understand that it's difficult to keep policy up to date with the acceleration of technology, but with how fast AI-generated writing is proliferating it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. ChatGPT is already illegal in some countries, and AO3 shouldn't be far behind in, at the very least, putting something in its terms of service about AI scraping being well, not good.
    • Reply
  191. A. commented: With the majority of other commenters here that AI-generated writing should not be allowed on the site and that being "opt out" is NOT enough for the site—this is never an acceptable position when it comes to AI; it's either opt-in or nothing. No AI scraping should be allowed, period; even if your ability to prevent such is difficult, your stance on this should absolutely be stronger. I have doubts that your head of the legal department's position on the matter can remain separate from this matter, and I strongly urge the creation of a specialized team with experience and knowledge of the AI field to address this issue instead.
  192. Reply
  193. bgtea commented: Terrible policy--AI-generated work should be equated to works created by fans. The heavy lifting is being done by a robot that uses dataset stolen from writers to spit out content. The closest equivalent to AI-generated work is plagiarism if we're looking at the level of effort expanded. Ergo, protecting AI-generated work goes against AO3's mandate.
  194. Reply
    • bgtea commented: *correction of the above^ It should read: "AI-generated work should *not* be equated to works created by fans."
    • Reply
  195. Frankly Disgusted commented: AI-generated writing is NOT fanwork, it is plagiarism, plain and simple, and should not be equated to work created by fans. This stance is disgusting, heartbreaking, and disappointing. OTW, we expected better than this from you. The "opt out" is NOT enough--AI should not be allowed on the site. Period. No scraping should be allowed. Period. And your Rosenblatt chair needs to step down IMMEDIATELY. We WILL remember this the next time you hold your hands out begging for our money, how you spat at us and denied us the protections we told you we wanted.
  196. Reply
  197. squireofgeekdom commented: Thank you! I really appreciate the clarity with regards to the existing data scraping situation, and the OTW's position, and measures being taken to reduce the risk of scraping on AO3, it's a great reassurance and I appreciate the timely response. The issue of future scraping was my most pressing concern before and it's now alleviated - I know it's not impossible to avoid entirely, but I'm glad it's actively being discouraged. I also appreciate the complexity in dealing with LLM created pieces of writing when LLM use cannot be consistently detected. I don't want to read LLM generated works and personally don't see them as belonging on the archive (And I hope users uploading them at present will label them in good-faith). However, both the judgement regarding the status of LLM pieces themselves, and considering how any new requirements on the Archive create questions: what to do with works from before the policy was implemented, how new rules will create opportunities for targeted attacks on works and users by creating new reports, and necessary future judgement calls and appeals - questions that take time and thought from people with a close understanding of these models and awareness of how they may evolve, the archive's function, and its purpose. I appreciate that the OTW is taking the necessary time for consideration.
  198. Reply
  199. Maiden commented: "If fans are using AI to generate fanworks, then our current position is that this is also a type of work that is within our mandate to preserve." Those AI generated fics were generated with the very same dataset that previously scraped AO3. So you're protecting and condoning theft. Please reconsider your ill-formed position.
  200. Reply
  201. . commented: Is it good that AO3 makes efforts to mitigate scraping from AI. I consider that this AI are stealing human creativity and are just very well done plagiarism. But I have 3 points to consider: 1. I strongly disagree about AI generated text to be a "fan work". It is not, because there is no work in it. The fan did not work to get the final product. 2. On the other hand, there is no way to stop users from posting AI generated texts. As there is no way to accurately identify them. To try this would be only lead to censorship and false/wrong acusations and would fill the system with unsolvable complaints. 3. AO3 is an archive. It is there to store fanfiction. Its purpose is not to reject works based on who or what made them. If they do, users who use AI will be just lie about it. Conclusion: As the use of AI to posts works seems to be unstoppable at this stage. I think there is not much AO3 can do about it. The best thing to do would be encourage users to tag any AI generated text so others can avoid it or seek it. I don't like it. I don't like that from now on will be almost impossible for me to know if I am reading the thoughts and creativity of a human being. I hate that my reading experience will be tainted with suspicion. But there is no turning back. The best we can do is encourage others to be honest about what they post and to tag it accordingly.
  202. Reply
    • d commented: But if they do continue to consider AI generated work as fanwork, this means our donations and AO3's legal resources will be used to defend AI generated works too, per their own policy. Look at what their legal department has already said to the copyright office. It is so wishy washy and useless. They suggested opt out as a solution- a technique favoured by tech companies to wriggle out of any real accountability, when they know very well that very few people will be able to specifically opt out their work (work that had already been used, btw!).
    • Reply
  203. SKGO commented: I do not know if I will be repeating sentiment already expressed, and I’m not going to read every single comment to check: if AO3 has any policy covering the stealing of written content, then AI generated works must fail the test in that aspect. By design AI is simply plagiarism with the benefit of millions of works from which to steal. AI cannot create fanfiction or transformative works that encapsulate the spirit of fandom, as a thing with no soul has cobbled together the voices of many souls, without consent.
  204. Reply
  205. Longterm AO3 writer commented: People here really don't know how AI works. You read the Harry Potter books and wrote a fanfic afterwards. Are you guilty of HP theft? Of course not. The AIs use the same mechanisms you use to write your work. The Art argument might still apply, but it is not THEFT. Modern AI models use only public domain and uncopyrighted works. So it's a moot argument anyway. I wonder what idiot has manipulated so many AO3 writers with lies.
  206. Reply
    • ai users know nothing other than stealing commented: Please write an entire book rn. Also create a photorealistic art piece. Oh, and while you're at it- how about a musical symphony? What do you mean you can't? Haven't you read so many books and seen so much art and heard so many songs in your life? So why can't you? I thought bots and humans were the same...
    • Reply
    • please check your source commented: > Modern AI models use only public domain and uncopyrighted works. So it's a moot argument anyway. That is a false claim. If you search Github's copilot and code with GPL license, midjourney's AI with artist's copyright work. It is clear that they are using other people's work in an unfair way, many of the training data have copy right or license, which the trainer/company don't care about.
    • Reply
  207. izhunny commented: Though this is a complex issue regarding transformative fan works in which the understandably kneejerk reaction is a call for a ban or disallowance for PARTIALY or ENTIRELY MACHINE-CREATED FANNISH WORKS posted by legitimate non-machine users which can't be easily applied or resolved. However, might we at least consider making this a REQUIRED CATEGORY label/tag for all works so those of us who do not wish to engage with machine created works can filter for it. I wouldn't mind checking off another box while posting my works that indicates I, a human writer, have crafted my story without the aid of an A.I. to perform that transformative fan work creation. I personally don't want to read fics created with A.I. Others are free to enjoy whatever as they like. But I'd sure like to be able to filter for my squick without being shamed for having it or called a luddite for wanting to know if users are doing paint-by-numbers(which is a form of creativity) fic instead of their talents. Can OTW/AO3 simply consider adding a self-applied user CAPTCHA categorization until a policy can be formulated and applied that doesn't conflict with the very foundations of what we stand for?
  208. Reply
    • d commented: A tag won't solve the fact that the otw including these ai as fanwork means they're using our donations to legally defend ai works too.
    • Reply
    • d commented: this is more about plagiarised/non fanwork content being allowed against ao3s policy itself than it is about anyone's personal comfort
    • Reply
  209. rgl commented: Absolute bullshit, AI should be blanket banned altogether. Ao3's owners cannot possibly say that they're going to help prevent scraping, only to then turn around and say that the """writing""" built off of said scraping is allowed to be posted to the site. Every AI-generated piece of garbage on the site is stolen from a human-written piece of fanfiction, the original pieces should be the ones Ao3 should be prioritising preserving, not the ones that stole off of them. In addition, you shouldn't be making people opt *out* of AI data scraping, the default should be that you are automatically opted out, and that you should have to opt *in*. So many people are going to get their data scraped due to not realising that they were automatically opted in against their wants. This is an awful policy and needs to be rethought NOW.
  210. Reply
  211. queenmabsrevenge commented: As an OTW member, I'm appalled at the stance that OTW is taking on allowing AI generated output onto the archive. This is a massive departure from the fan-centered approach to preserving human art, and as such this should be put to a vote. Especially since there is overwhelming dissent to this approach. To agree with the vast majority of responses to this post, AI generated output is not transformative fan work. A large language model trained on exploited data and processed by exploited labor behind a proprietary, opaque, privately-owned, for-profit generative model is not a fan and cannot transform. If the current WGA strike is showing us that production corporations are seeking to use AI generated output to exploit workers and increase profits, then how can it be argued that fans using the same resources to make the same AI generated output based off of those same copyrighted properties aren't representing 'lost profits' to these corporations? Conflating AI output with fan work could leave the archive and its users open to legal questions they’ve been told AO3 is a refuge from. Allowing AI output in the archive is tacitly concurring with the premise of the anti-labor practices that the WGA is currently fighting against: that AI output should be valued the same as human created art. I agree with others; AO3 should take an explicit stance against AI generated output being archived. As is mentioned in the statement, there is no definitive way to automatically identify AI generated output, and we're not asking for that to happen. Even if it's not enforceable it should be the stated stance of OTW, if for no other reason to be in solidarity with the creative workers who produce the original art that fans are transforming. As is clear from this comment section, there is strong dissent on the current stance on AI generated output - if this is truly an Archive Of Our Own, something this paradigm shifting should be debated and democratically decided by the fans referred to in the name.
  212. Reply
  213. just say NO to AI commented: I understand where you're coming from as a preservationist point of view, but I still stand by the viewpoint that "creating" fanworks with AI is not at all the same as traditional forms of transformative works. AI scraping itself should be considered theft and copyright violation; using that stolen data to "create" something "new" is more akin to tracing other people's art, or like... copy-pasting Twilight and just changing Edward and Bella's names to your preferred ship. It's not "creating" something. I do not believe that AI-generated works are the same *at all* as fanfic and fanart created by actually writing/drawing/etc. That said, if you're hellbent on allowing AI "works": you MUST make it possible for users to be able to filter that out. You already have such systems in place with the major content warnings, ratings, etc. Allow users to not specify if you must, but people should absolutely not be allowed to post AI-generated content and claim that it wasn't "created" that way. Also, for an Archive to remove their post of an unpopular opinion is not a great look. You should have left the original post up with an update pointing to this one, and locked the comments if there were too many to be moderated. I do appreciate the attempt to prevent more scraping from happening, but it's not enough. If the Archive does not take a firmer stance against AI (really, the *least* you can do is to make it filterable as I mentioned previously) then I won't be able to support the OTW any longer, as much as it pains me. You have done good work for fandom; it would be tragic to see all that good negated by something like this. Supporting AI is not supporting fandom.
  214. Reply
  215. tess commented: This really doesn't assuage any of my concerns at all. AI generated works cannot count as fanwork when the AI itself is not an entity. It's plagiarism or else, at best, a mimicry of creativity. Just because a person has turned a flashlight on doesn't mean they, themselves, are glowing. It's a tool with no ethical parameters remixing pre-existing work.
  216. Reply
  217. kedreeva commented: Legal or not, moral or not... AI isn't "one of us." This is not "archive of AI's own." This is the archive of OUR own. Us. Humans. Human-generated creative content? Okay. Good, bad, and weird, that's Us. That's Our Own. It all belongs here. But saying you're allowing fans to post content they "used AI to generate" is NOT like saying "used a word processor to write." It's allowing people to post works they didn't write, as their own. The person posting it didn't write it. Flat out, full stop, they did not write it. Something else /generated/ it, you said it yourselves. AT BEST those fans are sharing work that isn't their own w/ credit. That's NOT the same as creating. That's not the same as archiving creative works done by Our Own. You're not archiving our own at that point. If you're really gonna dig your heels in over it, please at least consider making it a major archive warning that can be easily filtered against. I come here to read stuff written by Our Own, not some machine regurgitating content it scraped from us in the first place. At LEAST give us the ability to easily look at the side of the archive that actually IS still "our own" if you're going to let AI in the front door.
  218. Reply
  219. Anon commented: I think the majority are wrong here. These programs do not contain and do not usually reproduce their training data. They're more like cutting a dozen novels into individual words, scrambling them in a jar, and typing up each word as you pick it up while doing your best to correct the resulting sentences' grammar. No reasonable person can call that plagiarism. Whether it's art is debatable, but I absolutely do not want AO3 to be in the business of defining what art is or which stories about preexisting fictional characters count as fanworks. I appreciate AO3 taking the stance it has, and I hope it keeps this unpopular but (in my opinion) correct position that's most compatible with with its defining principle of maximum inclusivity of content.
  220. Reply
    • really? commented: Maximum inclusivity of (human) content. You know, the ones actually paying for this archive to function. I'm not even going to get into the whole 'how it's not plagiarism just because it's paraphrased' bc it's so obviously wrong and a modicum of research would show you how. Instead I'll say that ao3 itself says it's taking measures to stop scraping. If it's not plagiarism as you say, they shouldn't do that either. Either they take the position against scraping of our content AND AI generated spam that ingested the same content or neither. Until then, it's hypocrisy at its finest.
    • Reply
      • Anon commented: I'm not interested in an argument, and this will be my last comment on this post. But I do think it's funny that when I expressed a dissenting opinion about originality and creativity, your response was to rephrase arguments from the previous comments I said I disagreed with and then accuse someone else of hypocrisy.
      • Reply
        • this guy thinks typing a prompt to steal other's work is original and creative commented: Can't see how any of that invalidates my argument that saying they're against scraping in one breath and that outputs that are a result of that same scraping are allowed in the next is hypocrisy but ok.
        • Reply
  221. resurcat commented: so basically now all i can do to prevent my works from being scraped is restrict access to them, thus limiting the audience reach dramatically? is there anything else being done to think of something MORE creative and LESS restrictive? i don't want to have to opt out, i want this to be default.
  222. Reply
  223. Wesley commented: Thank you for communicating surrounding this topic. Please make opt-out the default though, if at all possible.
  224. Reply
  225. Dex commented: Users should be required by default to manually opt in to permit AI scraping of their works, NOT opt out. By setting this standard, AO3 is leaving orphaned works and works by deceased parties to the vultures. All other concerns involving the validity of AI-generated works are secondary, as these bots are nothing without their source material.
  226. Reply
  227. izhunny commented: AO3/OTW I really need you to take a hard look at defining "Fan" and reach the conclusion that it means a "human being" and incorporate that definition into the TOS. Bots, scripts, and AIs are not and cannot be fans (no matter how much users of them wish they were), they're machines/machine codes. They do not produce fanworks, they do not create, they coalesce harvested data(ethically or unethically sourced) from fans for an output by a user, a user who is not a writer, creator, or artist, but a prompter. I really hope you get this right AO3. Stop thinking "fannish" and define fan. I think you may have an answer worth looking at.
  228. Reply
  229. BE FORREAL commented: "Our goals as an organization include maximum inclusivity of fanworks. This means not only the best fanworks, or the most popular fanworks, but all the fanworks that we can preserve." this is the most horse shit response i have ever read congrats. ai "fanwork" is not some fucking underdog beginner writer who isn't popular or not the best, it's used by a fucking thief using stolen content that also may not be the most popular or best. you think we all getting 100000 kudos and a million subscribers? you think thats all we fucking care about? this isn't social media. writers post to ao3 bc we felt protected, and now the interests of lackwit soulless brainless corporations funding these programs are ok to your missions if in the hands of a third party who doesn't know their lack of creativity and effort is detrimental to the community as a whole, ao3 you better wake the fuck up. fanfic is only fun around fellow fans, who also have respect for each other. allowing ai to coexist with us when it's literally stealing from us, do you think we are a bunch of pushovers just bc we write from the heart for free?
  230. Reply
  231. Aevas commented: Sincere question: will OTW engage in any sort of advocacy regarding what's resulted from its archives? There are people in the Global South who have to read and categorize fanfiction from AO3 that involves bestiality, gore, and child molestation for less than $2 an hour, but OTW has shown no interest in advocating for or acknowledging them. There's been no note of the WGA strike, nor of how AO3's data is being used by companies to put creatives in general out of work. Fandom has, through AO3, done genuine harm to people. I realize OTW wants to remain apolitical, but neutrality is, itself, a political position—one that currently aligns it with the status quo of exploitation and abuse of workers, particularly those in the Global South. Between this and the lack of response to racist harassment on AO3, it's impossible for me to justify continued use of the website or to donate to OTW ever again. I genuinely hope this organization finds a moral backbone.
  232. Reply
  233. tired commented: do you want to end up like artstation and pixiv? because this is how you'll end up with endless stream of ai-generated garbage that will clog your site lol
  234. Reply
  235. wembley commented: Allowing AI-written fic into the archive is a huge mistake. Please rethink this.
  236. Reply
  237. psocoptera commented: I think it's well-established that not all fan activities produce fanworks. I would like to suggest that the undeniable fan activity of prompting an AI text generator produces an *ephemeral* text output that, rather than constituting a standalone work, is only meaningful in the particular moment/context of the activity of making the prompt and receiving the output. Ephemeral vs permanent is a distinction that the AO3 TOS already discusses, and I think would be useful for distinguishing generated fantexts from fanworks.
  238. Reply
  239. J commented: While I very much disagree with the decision to allow AI generated content on a *fan*work archive, has there been any discussion of requiring labeling of AI generated content? At the very least, I think a 'Work is AI Generated, in whole or in part' should be included in the warnings. This would also make it easy for readers to filter out works when searching on AO3. While some users have tagged work AI Generated, many who are posting such works won't think to warn for it without being prompted. AI Generated art has already taken over online art archives and made search unusable because they don't allow users to filter out that content. It would be a shame if AO3's decision to allow these works also made the archive yet another wasteland of junk posts.
  240. Reply
  241. Synergic commented: I see some debate in these comments about whether an AI ban would be enforceable. It wouldn’t be, but that’s not the point. By releasing the above statement, AO3 is coming out in open support of AI. Saying that an algorithmic output stands equal to the content it was programmed to steal. That using a third party tool makes plagiarism OK. That “work” is not actually a qualifier of “fanwork.” I would 100% rather AO3 change their TOS to say that AI generated content is not permitted and will be deleted *when and where* it is clear that’s what the story is. ie: the “author” account is publicly announcing they used AI. Yes, such cases would probably be rare. But it would be on the record.
  242. Reply
  243. J commented: unless you can prove that ai work wasn't made with anyone elses writing that's creative theft, you cannot allow ai works if you can't see the works that were used to make it. You either support ai art OR artists, you can't support both
  244. Reply
  245. Terresdebrume commented: It seems contradictory to me to take steps to prevent AI scrapping of AO3 because it steals work from writers, but then allow "works" using those same techniques to be posted like any other. If the OTW is against data scraping, how can it view the result of this scraping as a legitimate thing to host? Or is it that automated art theft is okay when it happens outside of our garden? But disappointed by this stance, to be honest :/
  246. Reply
  247. Tay commented: Locking your posted content to registered users means nothing when those same registered users are the ones scraping specific ships for fic and posting AI-generated stories, then bragging about doing so in the summary. Am I supposed to be amused by trusted readers using the content I worked on to create mockeries of the fandom for lolz? This isn't a safe space to post content any longer, as long as AI-generated works are being allowed.
  248. Reply
  249. lore commented: This response and stance is not good enough, for the reasons many other users have already stated. Most specifically, Opting out instead of Opting in, and allowing fic written by AI, but other arguments against as well. I think I let my membership lapse by sheer accident/neglect after many years as a member. I'm certainly not going to re-up as a member until AO3 Does Better. love, disappointed lore
  250. Reply
  251. A tawny frogmouth commented: I am glad to know that the OTW and the Archive have taken steps to prevent scraping. However, I'm not convinced that it's appropriate for AO3 to be a host for works written through an algorithm. It doesn't feel right. And saying that in the current state of this, with the WGA on strike where AI is one of the points of contest, seems disingenuous. Just… I don't think generated writing being archived alongside writing as a hobby/for fun is an encouraging thing, and personally I was feeling pretty discouraged about fandom in general before this came out. Something to mark/filter AI fic would be useful. Further, I am concerned by the representation of fandom as positive about AI. Which sections of fandom did this stem from? Which communities? Was there a formal survey? What results were recorded? The OTW needs to be more transparent to its members, its volunteers, and the people it says it serves.
  252. Reply

Leave a Reply

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