November 2018 |
Why are left-wingers demanding that Silicon Valley police political opinions? By Fraser Myers
See article from spiked-online.com
Paypal decides to censor the games company behind Active Shooter
||22nd June 2018 |
See article from
Acid Software, the developer of a shooting simulator recently removed from Steam, will now struggle to sell its products online thanks to censorship by PayPal.
The Active Shooter developer said this week that purchases of its highly controversial game
were temporarily disabled while it tried to resolve issues with PayPal.
Paypal has confirmed it has banned the account saying:
PayPal has a longstanding, well-defined and consistently enforced Acceptable Use
Policy, and regardless of the individual or organisation in question, we work to ensure that our services are not used to accept payments for activities that promote violence, PayPal said in a statement.
Acid Software spokesperson Ata
Berdyev told the Associated Press the future of the game is now in doubt.
|14th March |
Paypal book censors back off from general bans but may still object to specific books
See article from xbiz.com
PayPal retracted its threat to close the accounts of online booksellers who sell works that they claim could be considered obscene.
In a statement posted on its website today, PayPal announced that in the future it will not reject e-books that
consist only of text unless they contain child pornography, or ... text and obscene images of rape, bestiality or incest (as defined by the U.S. legal standard for obscenity...).
PatPal committed to limit its objections to particular books
rather than rejecting entire classes. It also said that it is developing a process that will allow an author to challenge a PayPal notice that a book violates its policy.
The PayPal statement does not fully resolve all issues, however. It
is not clear whether legal material would be affected by PayPal's policy regarding e-books that contain child pornography, some of which may be legal.
This decision recognizes the important principle that neither PayPal nor any other
company involved in payment processing has any business telling people what they should read, said Joan Bertin, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC).
|13th March |
MasterCard distance themselves from Paypal's unilateral book censorship
Last week, BannedWriters wrote an open letter to MasterCard, asking them if they could confirm or deny whether pressure from them was behind PayPal's move to refuse the sale of erotica books containing taboo subject matter.
Corporate Public Relations, MasterCard Incorporated responded:
Thank you for your inquiry as to whether MasterCard played a role in the recent decision by PayPal to limit certain content belonging to your members. We
appreciate the opportunity to explain our policies and hope to provide clarity regarding this matter. To be clear, MasterCard had no involvement in the decision made by PayPal to refuse to process payments for certain books.
MasterCard maintains a set of standards that prohibit the use of MasterCard-branded cards and systems for illegal activities. These standards require MasterCard's customers to comply with all applicable laws and not to engage in illegal behavior, or in behavior that would cause MasterCard to violate any laws. In this particular scenario, MasterCard would not take action regarding the use of its cards and systems for the sale of lawful materials that seek to explore erotica content of this nature.
|11th March |
Forbes finds that it is not Visa pushing book censorship on Paypal
See article from
See Paypal's official repsonse
There has been a lot of criticism of PayPal across the web, in the erotica and general fiction communities in the last few days. PayPal responded on their blog, saying:
Unlike many other online payment providers,
PayPal does allow its service to be used for the sale of erotic books. PayPal is a strong and consistent supporter of openness on the Internet, freedom of expression, independent publishing and eBook marketplaces. We believe that the Internet empowers
authors in a way that is positive and points to an even brighter future for writers, artists and creators the world over, but we draw the line at certain adult content that is extreme or potentially illegal.
The problem here is in the
weasel words extreme and potentially . How is PayPal to say what is extreme? Or potentially illegal? If they are concerned about facilitating the sale of illegal content they should work with the community to figure out what to do about it,
not impose ill-defined and vague strictures on the publishing and distribution companies that use their services.
Then we have:
Some feedback we're getting is a belief that PayPal is forcing its moral beliefs on
others and restricting people's right to free speech. We can tell you with 100 percent conviction that this is not our intention. While we understand that people don't always agree with our policies, this decision has nothing to do with our personal
views on the content or any desire to limit free-speech rights.
It may not be PayPal's intention to censor fiction, but it is the effect of their policy nonetheless. But we didn't mean it like that is a poor response.
Blogger Madeleine Morris, writing on Banned Writers, published a response from Visa to her enquiries about the issues which disputes this view:
Dear Ms. Morris,
Thank you for your email
regarding PayPal's recent decision to limit the sale of certain erotica content. First and foremost, we want to clarify that Visa had no involvement with PayPal's conclusion on this issue. Nor have we seen the material in question. This fact is made
clear by PayPal's recent blog post where it states that its own policies drove the decision.
[T]he sale of a limited category of extreme imagery depicting rape, bestiality and child pornography is or is very likely to be unlawful
in many places and would be prohibited on the Visa system whether or not the images have formally been held to be illegal in any particular country. Visa would take no action regarding lawful material that seeks to explore erotica in a fictional or
[...] Visa is not in the business of censoring cultural product. We recognize, as courts in the U.S. and elsewhere have long recognized, that this is a challenging topic. Bright lines are difficult to
establish. We welcome the input of all stakeholders regarding our policies as we work to sustain a network that supports global commerce, while respecting the laws of the countries where we operate.
However you look at it, PayPal is
imposing its moral position on writers and publishers because it is asking for work to be taken down that has not been found illegal.
...Read the full
|9th March |
The topics PayPal would ban have been depicted in world literature since Sophocles' Oedipus and Ovid's Metamorphoses
Tell PayPal: Don't Censor Books
PayPal, which plays a dominant role in processing online sales, has taken full advantage of the vast and open nature of the Internet for commercial
purposes, but is now holding free speech hostage by clamping down on sales of certain types of erotica. As organizations and individuals concerned with intellectual and artistic freedom and a free Internet, we strongly object to PayPal functioning as an
enforcer of public morality and inhibiting the right to buy and sell constitutionally protected material. Recently, PayPal gave online publishers and booksellers, including BookStrand.com, Smashwords, and eXcessica, an ultimatum: it would close their
accounts and refuse to process all payments unless they removed erotic books containing descriptions of rape, incest, and bestiality. The result would severely restrict the public's access to a wide range of legal material, could drive some companies out
of business and deprive some authors of their livelihood.
Financial services providers should be neutral when it comes to lawful online speech. PayPal's policy underscores how vulnerable such speech can be and how
important it is to stand up and protect it.
The topics PayPal would ban have been depicted in world literature since Sophocles' Oedipus and Ovid's Metamorphoses. And while the books currently affected may not appear to
be in the same league, many works ultimately recognized for their literary, historical, and artistic worth were reviled when first published. Books like Ulysses and Lady Chatterley's Lover were banned as obscene in the United States because of
their sexual content. The works of Marquis de Sade, which include descriptions of incest, torture, and rape, were considered scandalous when written, although his importance in the history of literature and political and social philosophy is now widely
The Internet has become an international public commons, like an enormous town square, where ideas can be freely aired, exchanged, and criticized. That will change if private companies, which are under no
legal obligation to respect free speech rights, are able to use their economic clout to dictate what people should read, write, and think.
PayPal, and the myriad other payment processors that support essential links in
the free speech chain between authors and audiences, should not operate as morality police.
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
Association of American
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Feminists for Free Expression
National Coalition Against Censorship
Northern California Independent Booksellers Association
PEN American Center
Southern California Independent Booksellers Association
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance
Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance
|6th March |
The Paypal ban on erotica may be part of a larger move towards censorship
Re Paypal's ban on text based erotica and small self publishing companies:
While the government in the US is not able to censor speech, there is little preventing a private company like Paypal or its credit card partners from taking these
actions. Yet, Smashwords is not giving up hope. In its latest update, Smashwords notes that it had managed to get the deadline extended as well as the definitions of prohibited content relaxed. It also wants to clarify that neither it nor Paypal are the
real villians in this issue.
A lot of people have been attacking Smashwords for my decision to comply with PayPal's requirements. They're pointing their arrows at the wrong target, and they're not helping their cause.
We're working to effect positive long term change for the entire Smashwords community, and that includes all our erotica authors and readers.
Over the weekend, many Smashwords authors and publishers demanded we abandon PayPal and
find a new payment processor. It's not so simple, and it doesn't solve the greater problem hanging over everyone's head. PayPal is trying to implement the requirements of credit card companies, banks and credit unions. This is where it's all originating.
These same requirements will eventually rain down upon every other payment processor. PayPal is trying to maintain their relationships with the credit card companies and banks, just as we want to maintain our relationship with PayPal. People who argue
PayPal is the evil villain and we should drop them are missing the bigger picture. Should we give up on accepting credit cards forever? The answer is no. This goes beyond PayPal. Imagine the implications if credit card companies start going after the
major ebook retailers who sell erotica?
...Read the full article
|4th March |
Self publisher victims of book censorship speak out against Paypal
The opening bedroom scene of Andrea Juillerat-Olvera's new, erotic science-fiction novel Demon's Grace is a classic of its kind. He is on his knees, it begins, worshiping the cavernous female torso.
unfair and ludicrous, and it bodes badly for the future of free speech and expression, said Juillerat-Olvera, adding that Demon's Grace is now banned by self-publishing sites.
Sadly, for admirers of Juillerat-Olvera, it's about to get harder
to enjoy her fruity pose. In what victims are calling the most far-reaching act of censorship of the internet era, Demon's Grace and thousands of books like it have just been effectively banned. To blame is the online payment company PayPal, which has a
virtual monopoly over the business of allowing cash transfers to be made via the internet.
Last week, without warning, PayPal wrote to every major self-publishing website, announcing that henceforth it will refuse to process payments for clients
that sell books which contain certain types of what it regards as obscene content.
From now on, the firm said, it will begin aggressively prohibiting erotic literature which contains scenes of bestiality, rape, incest and under-age sex.
Ebook websites that sell such works will have their PayPal accounts deactivated.
PayPal's move is hypocritical because its founder, Peter Thiel, claims to be one of America's leading libertarians. In a statement, the Silicon Valley firm claimed:
In general, PayPal does allow our service to be used for the sale of erotic books, but we have to draw the line on certain adult content that is extreme or potentially illegal.
The firm added that
the decision does not represent an effort to impose a morality on the reading public. ..[BUT it will anyway]..
Vella Munn, who writes under the name Vonna Harper, said that the guidelines will ban the most successful novel from her back
catalogue, Carnal Captives. She explained:
It contains a scene of non-consensual sex. But that doesn't make the book illegal. Given that it sells more copies than all my other books combined, I have to conclude
that it's what people want. It's incredible: how can an internet company not believe in free speech?
|28th February |
Paypal take it on themselves to censor erotic eBooks
Thanks to Sergio
February 2012. See article from techcrunch.com
letter from smashwords.com
Smashwords, an e-book distributor that competes with Amazon, has sent out a letter to the authors, publishers and literary agents that it works with to tell them that PayPal is requiring Smashwords to remove all erotica content on its platform that
contains references to bestiality, rape and incest -- otherwise it will stop doing business with Smashwords altogether. The changes are due to take effect on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
letter -- written by Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords -- has been posted on Smashwords' own site, and gives a fuller explanation of what is going on: it all stems
from an ultimatum that PayPal issued to Smashwords on Feb. 18: PayPal gave us only a few days to achieve compliance otherwise they threatened to deactivate our PayPal services.
Coker says that other e-book retailers have also been
served with the same orders, but he does not name them. He also says that PayPal has been helpful with working out exactly what kind of content falls foul of the new rules, but that gray areas remain. (For example incest also includes pseudo-incest,
ie sex with a step family member unrelated in terms of bloodline).
He also points out that this latest order is part of a bigger push by PayPal to start aggressively enforcing a prohibition against online retailers selling certain types of
Regardless of your opinion on incest, it's a slippery slope when we allow others to control what we think and write. Fiction is fantasy... A reader should have the right to feel moved however they desire to be moved, he writes.
We do not want to see PayPal clamp down further against erotica. We think our authors should be allowed to publish erotica. Erotica, despite the attacks it faces from moralists, is a category worthy of protection.
Update: BDSM included in Paypal censorship
28th February 2012. From informedconsent.co.uk
www.excessica.com is another eBooks site that has come in for Paypal censorship.
Paypal wrote about their conditions for continued Paypal services:
Remove those items from http://www.excessica.com that violate PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy. Example/s: all ebooks containing themes of rape and
Under the Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for certain sexually oriented materials or services or for items that could be considered obscene.
When I asked if pseudo-incest
was included, the Paypal representative confirmed that yes, that would have to be removed. Paypal were also asked: What about BDSM? Paypal answered: That would have to be removed as well.