Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Werewolf Raped His Teenage Sister...

You can't read this.

Sorry, you'll have to leave now. Go away. You don't have permission from PayPal to read my blog today.

PayPal has set itself up as the arbiter of what you and I should be reading. Or, more specifically, not reading. PayPal warned several online publishers and booksellers, including Smashwords, it would "limit" their PayPal account unless they removed e-books "containing themes of rape, incest, bestiality and underage subjects" from their Web sites.

What PayPal is doing affects me, and it affects you. A corporation has decided to censor what writers publish and what you read. A bunch of pencil-pushing geeks in the credit card processing business have decided THEY know what's best for you. THEY will choose the topics you can read and the ones you can't. THEY will decide which books are published... and which aren't.

PayPal, a subsidiary of eBay, is a major payment gateway for online booksellers. It has market dominance and cannot be easily ignored. It has few viable competitors. This affects a huge number of books, authors, and booksellers.

There are certain subjects I, like the pencil-pushing geeks at PayPal, choose not to read about. But that's the point: in a democracy, we get to choose. No one makes that choice for us.

PayPal/ eBay is a major player in U.S. commerce, handling billions of dollars in online transactions. I think it would be appropriate for Congress to launch an investigation into this matter. Rep. Edward Markey has been on the forefront of Internet-related issues. You can e-mail him and share your thoughts.

Full Disclosure: Neither I nor Amber have received any letters from PayPal, my books are not offered on Smashwords, and my stories do not have themes of incest or bestiality (do werewolves count?) and I am not even sure what "underage subjects" are. However, I have begun work on "The PayPal Affair", a story that promises to be filled with themes of rape, incest, bestiality and underage subjects. And pencil-pushing geeks.

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