Thursday, March 8, 2012

Uh Oh … Is PayPal Big Brother?

                My publisher, New Concepts Publishing, is very small.  And until I came along, it was putting out one genre:  erotica.  (Did you get the pun?  Putting out?  Are you groaning now?  Ha-ha.) 
                Anyway, so they publish a bit of the naughty for the ladies.  And yes, I’ve read some of their titles.  No big deal.  Stories with graphic sexual encounters; so what?  I’m a big girl and I’ve had a child.  Obviously, I know something about graphic sexual encounters from personal experience.
                Last week, New Concepts Publishing posted the following news:

What happened to all the books? Many of our books have been banned by the Morality Police. Like our contemporaries, we are no longer allowed to sell books using PayPal if they find them objectionable. Due to the graphic nature of some of our books, we can no longer sell them through the New Concepts Publishing website. We have been working toward a solution to this problem and will post new information as it becomes available.

                Wow.  Censorship.  Not cool.
                Officially, PayPal’s issues with erotica include graphic scenes of incest, bestiality, and pedophilia.  Okay, I can see why most businesses would get squeamish over such material.  But here’s the weird part:  NCP doesn’t publish books with those things in them.  It’s right in their manuscript submission guidelines. 
                Also victims in this bizarre morality crackdown are sites Siren/Bookstrand, Smashwords, and All Romance e-Books, along with others.  PayPal, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to cut off these publisher/distributors’ ability to sell their inventory to paying customers.  Hard hit were also self-published authors, who have received little to no warning before they were suddenly unable to fill orders.
Again, a large number of these books do not contain the “graphic scenes of incest, bestiality, and pedophilia” PayPal objects to.  A large number of these erotic stories take place between unrelated, consenting adults.
                Another issue:  PayPal has extended its definition of pedophilia to 18-19 year old women having intimacies with older men.  However, it is still apparently okay for erotic stories of 18-19 year old gay men to have such encounters with older men.  So let’s add gender discrimination to the list of PayPal’s sins.  You do know most erotica writers and readers are women, right?  Double whammy on us gals.
                Don’t forget, Ebay and PayPal are owned by the same company.  It is still perfectly legitimate for people to buy and sell print erotica of any type via PayPal on Ebay. 
                One would say to the affected publishers, “So use another service besides PayPal.”  Unfortunately, nothing on par with PayPal exists.  They are very nearly a monopoly when it comes to being the go-between for businesses and banks.  There are so few options left to the small publishers as to be almost non-existent.  To go with another company means incredibly high fees, along with accounts payable and receivable incompatibilities. 
                PayPal says it’s the credit card companies dictating the issue.  And we know what bastions of morality our banking institutions are. 
                To put it bluntly, PayPal is telling us what we can spend our money on.  It’s like a restrictive parent telling us that the money we earned can only be used to buy what it approves of.  It’s tyrannical, dictatorial, and more obscene than the books it doesn’t like. 
                PayPal, what I do with my money, so long as it’s legal, is my business.  You have no say in where I spend or what I spend it on.  Many people I know are cancelling their accounts with you in protest.  Because while it’s erotica now, which quite a few will have no quarrel with, it will be certain political views tomorrow.  Or you will decide a particular religion or religions must be suppressed.  It always starts with something small and unnoticed then grows like the proverbial snowball as it tumbles down that slippery slope.   I for one want to see you stopped before you get too far.
                I say no to PayPal.  It is an unethical, power-mongering company who thinks it not only knows what’s best for me, but that it has the right to force its policies down my throat.  I hope others will also deny this company its strong arm tactics.


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