Sunday, February 26, 2012
PayPal Becomes the Big Brother of Erotica
There are a couple different takes on why PayPal has decided this, one being that it is really a chargeback concern because erotica and porn carry a high risk of that.( http://www.teleread.com/ebooks/paypal-cracks-down-on-erotica-e-book-sales/ ) Maybe. But since erotica is one of the biggest content movers in the ebook universe, according to many sources, then wouldn't the cost of doing business in that genre be off-set?
What is more concerning to me, and many of my friends, is the slippery slope of censorship this presents. I guess it's time to pull out my "I read banned books" tote bag. Even Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords that capitulated to PayPal, seems disturbed by this. He wrote a lengthy response that defended writer's and reader's right to this content, but gave the reasons why he folded anyway. (See second half of this post: http://dearauthor.com/features/industry-news/saturday-news-no-deals-just-stupidity-and-smashwords-concedes-to-paypal-terms )
Besides this decision affecting my ability and my friend's ability to generate an income, it screams of arbitrary censorship. According to PayPal, they are only banning what most people - and every erotica publisher I have ever seen - would deem offensive, if not illegal. Things such as incest, bestiality, necrophilia, pedophilia and rape. There is a lot of talk about not condoning any violence towards another person for sexual titillation. Agreed - I do not write, nor do I read those types of books. But I do write BDSM. Not everyone "gets" BDSM. There is an aspect of violence and seeming non-consent - spankings, whips, tying someone down - that truly dedicated partners find fulfilling. There is the physical, but even more significantly, the psychological aspects of BDSM that those that are into it find appealing. It would be easy for the thought police to rule that BDSM is inappropriate and should be removed, as seems to be the case for several authors I know of already.
So not everyone "Gets" BDSM. Hmmmm. Not everyone "gets" homosexuality either. Is that the next thing to be banned? At what point are we then banning anything that isn't the missionary position between two married people, one male and one female? It starts to get scary.
Then there's the raging hypocrisy aspect. Ever see a film that has a rape scene in it? I don't mean porn. I mean a mainstream Hollywood film? Let's see - Straw Dogs is one example of many that comes to mind. If rape is part of the story, but not used to titillate, will that book be banned as well? What about a mainstream novel - such as any of Thomas Harris's popular books; Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, etc. Should his books be banned? These are but two of thousands upon thousands of examples.
My main concern here is that we are again taking a step backwards when it comes to our freedoms. What the hell? Because the decision makers of a corporation that reeks of a monopoly (the main reason these book distributors are hog-tied - uh-oh - BDSM elements!) decide that something is offensive, they have now made our decisions for us. That is the most offensive thing I can see in any of this.
For further reading on this subject, follow the links below. Then write PayPal and tell them exactly how you feel. I shall be doing the same - right after I cancel my account with them. Not interested in supporting The Beast.