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Paypal Issues An Ultimatum: Has Paypal Crossed Over To Moral Police?
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Paypal Issues An Ultimatum: Has Paypal Crossed Over to Moral Police?

In mid February, Paypal issued an ultimatum to eBooks publisher, Smashwords, demanding that certain types of erotica be removed from its site completely or its account would be completely deactivated. Smashwords founder Mark Coker said that there were multiple conversations back and forth between the two entities to try to figure out a number of potential "gray areas". In the end, the money transfer giant demanded that all books that contained scenes of bestiality, rape for titillation, incest or the illusion of it or underage sex would need to be completely removed. For now, others in the erotic section would be allowed to stand. For many authors, it is the "for now" that is the scariest phrase.

Many authors were frustrated in that Smashwords already had similar policies in place. Erotica with shapeshifters could not feature any scenes of intimacy when they were in their non-human forms, for instance. Self publishers were also forbidden from publishing any stories with underage characters in in appropriate scenes. But Smashwords was not the only ePublishing site to get this warning. In addition, All Romance eBooks and Bookstrand were also sent the same message.

One online bookstore was already well aware of Paypal's feelings about certain types of products, services and books. Over eight years ago, the site, Clean Sheets stopped using the service after being told that the site sold "obscene items." Author Selena Kitt has had to stop selling her BDSM books because of threats by Paypal even though they do not violate the terms listed in the ultimatum to Smashwords. Vicky Gallas, the former owner of an escort service has had her Paypal account terminated without warning even though the book that she wrote is not even erotica nor sexually explicit in any way. Gallas was selling a book about her experience in her former business on her own web site/

An online petition is being circulated among users of Paypal and readers from the many eBook publishers. A number of authors have spoken out about this practice warning the general public that while it is bestiality or scenes of rape today it could be other topics that are censored next. Authors are also warning their readers that these warnings could virtually kill certain ePublishers that rely entirely on erotica for their entire book catalog. Erotica continues to be a strong seller for the publishing houses with more people willing to admit that they read the genre than ever before.


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