Thursday, March 01, 2012

BitchBuzz: PayPal Puritanism

My column this week is an issue that's been affecting a lot of writers. There's a lot of anxiety and a lot of name-calling and finger pointing, but in the end, the 'man behind the curtain' is really the banks. Yeah, you know -- those banks that got bailed out to the tune of billions. Now they're making like Rebiblicans and telling you what you can and cannot read. Is there no end to this? No.

PayPal & the ebook Revolution's Moral Clause

By K.A. Laity

A kerfuffle erupted on some romance writers discussion groups and then migrated to blogs and finally to publishing sites. The ebook revolution now has a moral clause.

 PayPal has demanded the removal of all books containing objectionable material, specifically "erotica featuring themes of rape, bestiality, incest." Romance and erotica writers felt an unwelcome glare of attention turned toward the genres, normally overlooked by mainstream institutions. As Holly Golightly says, "There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl's complexion."

Third party book sellers like All Romance eBooks, Bookstrand and Smashwords have complied with this new mandate. ARe has separated the categories of erotic romance and erotica, asked publishers to "reshelve" books, and clarified their restrictions clause. The fuzzy boundary between the two categories remains problematic, however. It's a bizarre notion that sex is somehow objectionable if the people involved are not in love, but acceptable as long as they say, "I love you" after all the hot sweaty action.

It matters that this is an attack on the erotica market: for example, there has been no move to remove crime or horror books "featuring themes of rape, bestiality, incest." Morality about sex and what's allowable seems to be reaching a frenzy in the United States as politicians whip up moral indignation about sex. It's presenting a climate that favours this kind of move...

Read the rest at BBHQ.

Bertie headed home early this morning, back to the snow in NY. Hope he gets home safely and has a relatively easy journey. It was nice to have him visit, and next week -- the QoE and Marko!


Todd Mason said...

Shall have to go look at what the Smashwords guy details of his negotiations with PayPal, but this is, of course, part of the danger of any essential or utter monopoly on any means of commerce or communication...

K. A. Laity said...

Word -- monopoly, bad.