On February 15, Spotify issued new terms of use for authors uploading work to its Findaway Voices platform, terms that have raised concerns at the Authors Guild (AG) and the U.K. Society for Authors (SoA).

Findaway Voices is Spotify’s platform for indie and self-published authors to distribute their e-books on its streaming platform, and the newly released terms appeared to give the Swedish streaming company rights to a new range of activities—not the least of which was to “create derivative works” from the audiobooks posted by creators to the platform. Initially, the terms appeared to give users broad abilities to “create a new book, e-book, or audiobook, or to use user content to create a new, machine-generated voice without your permission,” which many perceived as giving Spotify the ability to create entirely new works, such as AI-driven translations or audio anthologies.

After an outcry from the indie author community and queries from the AG and SoA, however, the terms have since been revised to note that they are intended to allow Spotify to use the uploaded works for “training” and “modeling” intended for “anti-piracy and anti-fraud measures and the discoverability, promotion, marketing, curation, distribution, and sale (or developing the user experience in connection therewith) of the user content and the Spotify service.” The updated terms also removed language around irrevocability, derivative works, and translation.

Still, SoA reps remain concerned, and in a statement noted that the revised language in the terms of use remains too broad.

“We urge 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 stated in a press release. Furthermore, it continued, “Spotify must reinforce it to make clear it covers all types of derivative works, including, for instance, podcasts.” The Authors Guild, too, said it is following up with further queries to Spotify.

Since introducing its new audiobook streaming service last year, Spotify has been scrutinized for its contracts. PW has been informed that the initial contracts with the company for the majority of publishing companies that had books available at launch cover an 18-month period that started in October of last year.

The lack of transparency around Spotify contracts has been an issue for authors. The SoA in particular has been active in seeking clarity, and continues to urge its members to adapt and send a template letter to their publishers, asking for clarification on what the deals include and what the implications are for their work.