Freedom to Write: The Censorship Debate

Freedom to Write: The Censorship Debate

There’s a storm brewin’ … and it could affect every reader (and every writer). From the desk of Smashwords founder Mark Coker:

“PayPal contacted Smashwords and gave us a surprise ultimatum: Remove all titles containing bestiality, rape or incest, otherwise they threatened to deactivate our PayPal account. We engaged them in discussions and they gave us a temporary reprieve as we continue to work in good faith to find a suitable solution.
PayPal tells us that their crackdown is necessary so that they can remain in compliance with the requirements of the banks and credit card associations (likely Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, though they didn’t mention them by name).
THE PROBLEM: PayPal is asking us to censor legal fiction. Regardless of how one views topics of rape, bestiality and incest, these topics are pervasive in mainstream fiction. We believe this crackdown is really targeting erotica writers. This is unfair, and it marks a slippery slope. We don’t want credit card companies or financial institutions telling our authors what they can write and what readers can read. Fiction is fantasy. It’s not real. It’s legal.”

My writing doesn’t fall into these categories, but the potential precident concerns me. Undoubtedly there will be more on this subject…

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