Tuesday, March 06, 2012

So PayPal Wants To Be Our 16th Century PaPa?

What's next?  Pope?

PayPal has notified Smashwords and other online ebook distributors used by indie authors that they will deactivate the accounts of these sites if books with certain content are not taken down and banned.  Granted the content in question elicits a guttural  'eeeeeew!' from me:  errotica featuring bestiality, rape, incest or underage sex.

But that's not the point.  The point is we neither want nor need our credit card company or bank arbitrating what we read, write or buy.

If they can do this to Smashwords how do we little ol bloggers stand against them when they come after us?

Which they already have if you use ad networks to monitize your blog for they are already threatening withdrawal of service to them if they refuse to pull their ads off of offensive websites.

Offensive to who?  Who decides?  Who polices?

So no PayPal, no credit card payment processing, no ad service?  How long can an income generating website stay viable under those conditions?  Not long.  And that's the point of course.

This is a whole new league of censorship as it is not covered by the constitutional protections since PayPal and the credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions whose rules PayPal claims to be adhering to are not government institutions.  So ostensibly, as private companies they have the right to set whatever rules they like.

What this boils down to is yet another instance of Wall Street lording it over those they deem serfs.  It's yet another way they control behavior in the economy by controlling the flow of funds.  So much for their vaunted belief in the free market.

Read more about it:

At EFF: Legal Censorship: PayPal Makes a Habit of Deciding What Users Can Read
At NCAC: NCAC, ABFFE Protest PayPal Ban on Erotic Material
At Smashwords:  Press Release [scroll down to PayPal Censorship]
At Techdirt: Paypal Pressured To Play Morality Cop And Forces Smashwords To Censor Authors
At Change.org  Petition

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