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Jack London

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More on the PayPal/Smashwords Saga

Monday night I received an e-mail from a Faithful Reader concerning the PayPal situation. Not wanting to start a flame war, she wondered if I was being harsh blaming PayPal and whether another entity was to blame.

First of all, contrary to what others have accused me of, I don't feel it's right to repeat rumors. I will however offer an opinion on the evidence I have at the time. If I'm wrong, just show me the evidence.

Sure enough that same evening, I received another e-mail from Mark Coker. (For the record, these e-mails and the ones I mentioned on the previous post, were only sent authors with erotica titles under their account on Smashwords.)

According to Mark, he'd been in talks with the folks at PayPal. The folks at PayPal claim that the banks and credit card companies are pressuring PayPal about the same types of subject matters as mentioned before: incest/pseudo-incest, beastiality and rape.

Mark's major concerns are censorship and the fact the topics are not well-defined. Take rape for instance. The mandate handed down from PayPal (or the other U.S. financial institutions, depending on what's really going on behind the scenes) does not differentiate between rape as titillation and rape as a criminal act. Without such differentation, a great many top thriller authors would be banned as well.

Assuming PayPal folks are telling Mark the truth about who's behind this move, I second Mark's request of the following:

1) Blog, tweet, FB about this issue. Financial institutions have no business dictating terms to other businesses.

2) Contact your bank and credit company to protest such actions. Let's face it; they don't want to lose their customers.

3) Contact your U.S. representatives and senators protesting private companies efforts to censor books.

4) Contact your local news media and ask them to look into the matter.

Why am I seconding Mark's request? As my Faithful Reader pointed out in her e-mail Monday, it's too coincidental that this crap is happening during a presidential election year.

As of the time I type this, the deadline to remove material from Smashwords has been extended an indefinite period.

For additional takes on the PayPal situation, check out Sarah York's blogJane at Dear Author and Ryan Field's Blog..

One of my writer friends, Anna Kathryn Lanier is promoting a petition to PayPal to stop the censorship. I'd like to point out Anna DOES NOT write erotica, but she feels strongly about the censorship issue.

I don't envy Mark Coker, and I certainly don't blame him. This is business. His fledgling company needs contacts with financial providers as well as content providers. Trashing Mark is stupid and pointless and helps nothing. Please stop.

Furthermore, writing for profit is business. Plain and simple business no matter what YOU want it to be. My regular readers have heard me preach this time and time again--writing is business; treat it like one. I hope all of you take this to heart and be smart about how you deal with other companies. You can stand your ground without being an asshole.

Angry Sheep
Off her soapbox.

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