The Crime Writers’ Association

Society of Authors Urges Findaway Voices to Clarify New Terms of Use

The Society of Authors has voiced deep concern over new phrases included in a revised Terms of Use document from audiobook distributor Findaway Voices by Spotify.

The new terms gave Findaway Voices a range of new rights over creators’ works, including permission to ‘create derivative works’ from the audiobooks posted by creators to the platform – without their consent or remuneration – and included a blanket waiver of moral rights.

Following an outcry from creators, Spotify acknowledged the ‘confusion’ and published a revised version of the offending section 4(b) in their Terms of Use.

While the SoA welcomes Spotify’s acknowledgement of the issue and attempt to address it, they are still concerned with the wording. Their Terms of Use still refer to use of the audiobooks for ‘training’ in connection with the ‘promotion’ and ‘marketing’ of the Spotify Service. the SoA urges Spotify to make it explicitly clear in their Terms of Use that no works will be used in the development any type of generative Artificial Intelligence model or product without creators’ permission.

The SoA is pleased to see confirmation that the Terms of Use do not authorise Spotify to use audiobooks to ‘create a new book, ebook or audiobook, or to use User Content to create a new, machine-generated voice without your permission’ – however, their wording is too broad. Spotify must reinforce it to make clear it covers all types of derivative works, including, for instance, podcasts.

This latest issue comes only a few months after the SoA  raised concerns about the lack of communication from publishers with authors and agents about the streaming deals that ‘all major book publishers’ have signed with Spotify. The SoA continues to encourage authors to adapt and send their template letter to their publishers to ask for clarification on what the deals will mean for them.

As always, if you are offered a contract of any kind or you have queries about issues you are trying to navigate in your work, don’t hesitate to get in touch with SoA advisors.

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