Thursday, March 1, 2012

Censorship: Alive and Rampant

Hard to imagine, and sad to think, that in this day and age censorship is still alive and rampant. I just read a blog post on Dear Author from February 24, 2012. Besides a plagiarism issue it talked about the issue that Smashwords is dealing with concerning Paypal's terms, aka threats.

Read the full article here:

Here's another very good article about the problem:

Paypal has issued an ultimatum to Smashwords to remove titles that contain certain themes or they threaten to deactivate their service. Smashwords, like Bookstrand and All Romance, is pulling titles from their cyber shelves that contain those themes: Erotica books containing incest, rape, bestiality, or sex with underage characters. (Where these themes are used to titillate.)And bestiality does not include shapeshifters as seen in paranormal stories like werewolves. Thank goodness because most of my books would be gone. Not on Smashwords, I don’t have any self-pubbed books, but Bookstrand and All Romance.

If you check out the Bestsellers on Amazon for Erotica there are numerous “Daddy” books. Why these are so popular, I have no idea. And as an erotica writer, I’m not thrilled to see these types of stories available. I have mixed feeling about them. I know fiction is fiction, and everyone has the right to explore their art in their own way, but I would never write them.

I deplore censorship, and I really don’t like anyone telling a bookseller what books they can and can’t sell. I may not like those books, but no one is making me buy them. Some television shows or movies may offend me too, but I change the channel, no one is forcing me to sit there and watch them.

Would Paypal consider censoring books about underage children fighting in an arena to the death while an audience cheers them on and watches for entertainment? Ah, Hunger Games?

I think Smashwords is handling the situation as best as they can considering their options. They say it would be very difficult and I imagine expensive to change to a difference form of payment. What do you think?

And Paypal, who elected them the moral gatekeepers?

There's an on-line petition to sign appealing to PayPal to respect our rights to
write and read what we like:

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