After a previous post about Smashwords removing certain kinds of erotica (link to post), another writer pointed me today to an online article that shows more background about the reason for Mark Coker, Smashword’s founder, to take this step. It seems that PayPal, for some reason, is taking it upon themselves to become a police for morality:
Adult content has long been a big draw, and one of the most profitable, in the world of digital media, but a recent move by PayPal is a sign of how one part of that business may be facing some problems up ahead.
Smashwords, an e-book distributor that competes with Amazon, has sent out a letter to the authors, publishers and literary agents that it works with to tell them that PayPal is requiring Smashwords to remove all erotica content on its platform that contains references to bestiality, rape and incest – otherwise it will stop doing business with Smashwords altogether. The changes are due to take effect on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Regardless of whether you are a reader of such material or not, the move by PayPal raises questions of whether a middle-man payments company should be calling these kinds of shots over content, which some might even go so far as to call censorship – and also of the power of those payments companies when they decide to do so.
If you want to see the entire article, please go here.