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dmfalk

Stop PayPal's censorship campaign!

by
As you know, various furry sites have been burned by PayPal's anti-porn policies. However, they've taken it further now to go after various commercial eBook publishers and retailers.

Below is quoted from an email newsletter I received from Smashwords.com, an eBook publisher/retailer I have an account with:

" ________________________________________

2.   PayPal Censorship
________________________________________

PayPal, the online payment service we use to process credit card payments, has asked Smashwords to remove fiction that contains themes of bestiality, rape and incest.  They tell us they are compelled to do this to remain compliant with the rules of the banks and credit card companies.  Regardless on one’s opinions about these objectionable topics, we view this attempted censorship as a bad precedent.  Fiction is fantasy.  It’s not real.  

PayPal’s request has caused a firestorm of debate on the Internet about censorship, and what this means for the future of ebook publishing.  Most people are horrified at the thought of any censorship, while others believe such content should be restricted.  It’s a contentious debate.

This story, out today by TechDirt, does a good job of summarizing the timeline of events and the issues involved:  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120301/17363217939/...

The case has even spawned a brilliant and hilarious $.99 parody ebook titled, TWO PEOPLE HAVING SEX   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/139100

There’s a petition at Change.org if you wish to sign it:  http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-censorship-2

A few independent privacy-rights and anti-censorship organizations have stepped in to challenge PayPal on their policies, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC).  More are likely to sign on.  Here are some quick links:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation:  https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/legal-censorship-...
ABFFE/NCAC:  http://www.ncac.org/NCAC-ABFFE-Send-Letter-To-PayPal-eBay

Our view at Smashwords:  We believe it’s wrong for credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions to censor legal fiction.  We believe this censorship is targeting a small subset of erotica fiction.  The same censored themes are prevalent in much mainstream fiction.  We believe it would be unfair to authors and readers alike for any organization to censor what writers are allowed to imagine and what readers are allowed to read.  If the PayPal restrictions were taken to the extreme, many mainstream classics including Nabokov’s Lolita or Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with The Wind could technically be banned.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with its depiction of rape could be banned.  Even the Bible could fall under the net since it contains scenes of rape and incest. Although such extreme censorship is unlikely, what about moderate censorship?  Therein lies the danger of censorship.  Where does it stop, and where do we draw the line?   It’s difficult for Smashwords or any other retailer, distributor or publisher to assume the role of moral arbiter when there’s so much grey area.  We’re engaged in ongoing discussions with our counterparts at PayPal to reach an equitable solution.

If you’re interested to learn more, or learn what you can do to help fight censorship, you can read my most recent email to Smashwords authors on this topic here:  https://www.smashwords.com/press/release/30  


If you feel as me, and find this action by PayPal odious, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION, and SPREAD THE WORD!


I did.

Enough is enough!

d.m.f.
Viewed: 101 times
Added: 6 years, 7 months ago
 
kamperkiller
6 years, 7 months ago
Many  seem to forget that Paypal is based in South Africa... so this is kind of moot. There are plenty of US based Online Payment options who could give 2 dicks about furry porn... as long as they get their $.
dmfalk
6 years, 7 months ago
I don't know about the South Africa angle, because PayPal is owned by eBay, Inc., which is headaquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, here in California, USA, about 300 miles south of where I am.

d.m.f.


CyberCornEntropic
6 years, 7 months ago
censorship, n. A method for measuring the dirtiness of a censor's mind.
dmfalk
6 years, 7 months ago
Ain't that the truth.... :P
1935 Hayes Commission
1953 Comics Code Authority
1965 Motion Picture Association of America (replaces the Hayes Commission)
1987 Tipper Gore... :P

d.m.f.
Shokuji
6 years, 7 months ago
Just. Stop. Using. Them.

There are alternatives to Paypal, use them. =3
dmfalk
6 years, 7 months ago
...Which isn't an option when many stores and services don't use anything else but PayPal.

d.m.f.
Shokuji
6 years, 7 months ago
If people stopped using Paypal, those stores & services would find another way to take payments or would die along with Paypal.
dmfalk
6 years, 7 months ago
True, but then we could be stuck with something worse-- Like AlertPay. :P

d.m.f.
Shokuji
6 years, 7 months ago
Nah, there's plenty of other things out there, like Google Wallet. IMO I wish people would start using Bitcoins more, that's easily the best choice. It just needs to stop having massive moves in value so it's a more stable option.
dmfalk
6 years, 7 months ago
Google and Yahoo! both have similar programs- Yahoo!'s system even predates PayPal, and used to be one of the Big Things in online shopping. (There used to be others, similar to Bitcoins, that even predate that, and were a popular way to shop and send money...) But because of PayPal's connection to eBay, it became the ubiquitous service we now know. Unless something drastic happens, PayPal will probably remain the primary payment service for some time to come, with Google Wallet being a distant second (mostly with its connection to the Android mobile platform). Used to be that the biggest rival to PayPal was called BidPay- Not sure if that's still around, but ever since eBay blocked ALL OTHER payment methods (even if you're paying by credit card directly), you only go through PayPal-- While there are other "auction" sites, most, if not all of them aren't true user-seller auction sites like eBay. (I should know- My mother has shopped through one before-- While the items offered are shown being offered by "users", they're ALL being sold by the site's owner, making it look and feel like eBay.) This means eBay, and PayPal, essentially have a monopoly on the whole payment service for users and businesses alike. (Many bisinesses do have credit card processing through services like Verisign, but those are far too expensive for smaller operations that can't afford their fees-- Which is where PayPal, AlertPay and Google Wallet, amongst others, come in.)

(It would be nice to apply monopoly laws to eBay/PayPal, but I don't see that happening anytime too soon, hence why the need to press eBay/PayPal on their censorship policies.)

d.m.f.
(who looks forward to whatever payment system Starling comes up with for Inkbunny...)
Shokuji
6 years, 7 months ago
Well it's up to 'etailers' to start using the other options available to them. Personally I don't really like using my CC over the internet and would prefer some sort of inbetween to keep my info safe, but I'd like to choose which one and not get forced into using one 'just because'. I don't think there has been anything quite like Bitcoins as it's a de-centralized currency that you actually own and no one can "freeze" your account.

I didn't know that Ebay blocked all other payment methods. That's shady at best, and bullshit as well. That alone makes it easy for me to boycott Ebay and Paypal (I've never purchased anything on Ebay before anyways, so that's easy). An artist was talking about a new type of payment system, something like paypal but it uses emails to send and get payments so it's built on existing things rather than some sort of proprietary set-up. I forgot the name of it right now but it looked promising. I would have been gung-ho for that but it's backed by American Express which I'm not really on good terms with at the moment. ^_^;

Google Wallet (which is merging with Google Checkout) could be the answer considering they're truly an international company and have to be open for people from all walks of life. So I don't think they'll have the same restrictions as Paypal has.But again, I really do hope that people 'discover' the whole Bitcoin thing. The whole thing does need to mature a little bit more, get more security so people don't get hacked and have their monies stolen.. but that kind of stuff already happens on sites like Paypal, so you can't mark that against Bitcoin.. plus once they make encryption a standard bit on the Bitcoin client the theft ratio will drop dramatically. =3

In any case, I hope Paypal gets lots more competition that can offer much better benefits to people so they willingly move off of shitty Paypal/Ebay. =3
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