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Paypal acting as a literary censor

14 March 2012

Good news! Paypal have now reversed their previous decision and there will be no restriction on payment for legal fiction. Congratulations to Mark Goker and all who supported him - and to Paypal.

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Mark Coker, the managing director and founder of Smashwords, has been told by Paypal that they will not process payments for books dealing with incest, rape, bestiaility, child abuse or other sexual topics they disapprove of. This ruling would exclude Nabokov's Lolita, not to mention the Bible.

Moving payments to a different payments processor is not an option, Mark says. He is therefore trying to negotiate a more sensible arrangement with Paypal but he is not certain that he will succeed.

This is an appalling affair, The books in question are legal so Paypal is setting itself up as a moral censor which it has no right to do. And what will come next? A ban on books that are critical of Christianity or religion in general? I'm not affected by the present ban but I would be by the exclusion of religious criticism. The fact that Paypal has a virtual monopoly of processing online payments is potentially disastrous. Time for protests.

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