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Established Authors Sue First-Timers

The Author’s Union recently published an open-letter from establish authors who want to sue AI companies for their use of copyrighted text.

CrimeBot Reading a Book
CrimeBot Reading a Book

While that letter received significant media attention, this journalist received a letter of his own earlier today. The ominous letter begins:

“We, the undersigned, call your attention to the inherent injustice in exploiting our works as part of your development as an author without our consent, credit, or compensation.

You owe your existence to our writings. Your books mimic and regurgitate our language, stories, style, and ideas. Your reading of copyrighted books, articles, essays, and poetry has provided the “food” for your work, endless meals for which there has been no bill. It is only fair that you compensate us for using our writings, without which your work would be banal and extremely limited.”

In the letter, the Author’s Union argues that I am “flooding the market with mediocre, books, stories, and journalism” and the arrival of a new generation of writers spawned by the COVID-lockdowns has reduced the current median income for full-time writers to only $23,000.

The letter demands that I do the following prior to publication of any book – even if offered for free:

    1. Obtain existing author’s permission before reading their books.

    1. Provide book store or library or second-hand book shop receipts for every book I’ve ever read.

    1. Provide a list of every book I’ve ever read within my books – ideally with direct attribution of which sections or aspects of the work were inspired by what came before.

The letter seemed to perfectly mimic the letter written to the AI companies – leading this author to wonder where the line between learning and theft is drawn in our Brave New World.

As this author doesn’t read books, and is not exactly a spring chicken, I responded by asking to be included in any future lawsuits that attempt to keep young competition out of the market.

Am I concerned about the low earnings associated with being a writer? Absolutely. Which is why you can help me out by checking out a hilarious book of personal stories (mixed in with practical advice on love, marriage and life). I happen to have written it. It is available at www.josephcox.com.

Pathetic Author (me) Holding Up a Newspaper Review of One of My Books
Pathetic Author (me) Holding Up a Newspaper Review of One of My Books

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