Censorship or Free Trade?
Maybe it’s because the winter has been so mild with no storms to make the news. Maybe it’s because the stars are out of alignment. Or maybe it’s because books are pushing the boundaries. I don’t know. But he end of last week, Paypal decided they weren’t going to allow payment for certain types of erotica. This affected all publishers using this method of payment including Bookstrand, All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords.
There are many authors/readers up in arms about this mandate. The interesting thing is that Paypal decided they were coming down on stories involving incest, rape as titillation, under-aged sex and besteality. Now I write erotic romance and the publishers that have accepted my books already had these stipulations. I wouldn’t want to write books with any of those topics anyway. So even though I got notification from two of the publishers above because I have self-pubbed with them, their notification didn’t affect me personally.
And though this stance is probably unpopular with authors who write erotica and erotic romance, I didn’t see a problem with Paypal’s decision. I’m not sure it’s the beginning of censorship as some have suggested. I don’t feel censored by Ellora’s Cave or Liquid Silver Books. I don’t think their readers feel they are restricting their desire to read stories with explicit sexual content. They haven’t widened the net to include things that some readers find objectionable, like anal and oral sex or multiple and same-sex partners or BDSM themes. But they have remained firm on certain sexual acts. I don’t think Paypal is going to widen their restrictions either.
And I don’t feel censored as a reader or an author. I think Paypal as a business has the right to make restrictions on the use of their services. I’ve listened to arguments on both sides and I just don’t see this as the huge out-of-control fire that some see beginning to burn. Dear Author did a nice job covering all sides of this controversy so I won’t rehash the facts as they’ve listed them. This could come back and bite me in the butt, but I don’t see this as a problem. But I’m still gathering information and reserve the right to change my mind.
What about you? How are you feeling about Paypal’s recent decisions?
Addendum (2/28 4:00 pm): I really appreciate everyone who has stopped by. Many of you have taken time to share heartfelt insights. I must admit, my view of this situation was narrow and based only on my personal experiences (despite reading blogs and listening to many of my writer friends discuss the topic). It is times like this when I realize as much of life as I’ve experienced, it is still possible to learn more through the experiences of others. I really didn’t see Paypal’s decision as mushrooming, but through your insightful comments, I certainly am looking at this situation differently. Thank you again for taking time to share your feelings and continue to educate me on the repercussions of Paypals policy change. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the days to come.