lunadelcorvo: (Civil liberties)
[personal profile] lunadelcorvo
From ZDnet:
PayPal’s new aggressive campaign wants to stop independent e-book publishers that use its service from including certain kinds of erotic content in their catalogs.

On Saturday February 18, PayPal began threatening indie book publishers and distributors with immediate deactivation of the businesses' accounts if they did not remove books containing certain sexual themes - namely, specific sexual fantasies that PayPal does not approve of.

PayPal told indie e-book publishers and retailers - such as AllRomance, Smashwords, Excessica and Bookstrand - that if they didn't remove the offending literature from their catalogs within a few days of notification, PayPal would close their accounts....
Read the article HERE.

Whatever your stand on erotica, porn, whatever, the fact remains that this kind of manipulation of markets is absolutely unacceptable, and if not stopped here will establish precedent for similar draconian limits in the future. PayPal operates like a bank. Just like your bank honoring your check, or your Visa card company, they process transactions between merchants and buyers. Imagine if your bank told you they would no longer process payments at certain retailers? Or if they said 'Sorry, we won't handle payments for this type of item.' You may not like porn, or sex toys, or rainbow kitten calendars, but as long as they are legal items, it doesn't mean it's OK for a financial institution to tell you you cannot spend your money on them, or retailers that they can't sell them.

Now I realize that this may sound like the classic slippery slope. However, this is how the Right has operated for decades. Find some out of the way place and try Move X. If it isn't stopped, try it somewhere else. Pretty soon you have legal precedent. The Right is all about incremental warfare. Look at the abortion battle - they gave up on forward assault on Roe a long time ago. Instead, they have found hundreds of ways to come at it sideways, from parental consent to the width of clinic hallways. Having observed this for so long, I think it is not at all unreasonable to ask, if this move by PayPal flies, what's to say it will only be erotica that payment processors are allowed to censor?

What would stop them from deciding they won't process payments for booksellers who sell 'subversive' literature? Why stop at books? Is it really so hard to imagine big banks, in cooperation with GOP insanity (of which we've seen plenty recently), deciding not to process credit card transactions to Planned Parenthood? Or payments for contraception? Or any of a zillion other things they may decide they don't like?

I don't know as I write this if there are petitions or actions pending on this, but if there are, I'll add them here. If there aren't, I'll start them. meanwhile, I encourage everyone who uses PayPal to contact them now, and tell them censorship is never acceptable.
ETA: There is some indication (unproven as yet) that this is being instigated BY credit card companies, and PP is the first big processor to be feeling pressure towards censorship from above. In which case, damn I hate being right....
ETA 2: Some good links for more info and petitions are below:

Date: March 1st, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is absolutely ridiculous. I'm tired of people trying to control the morals of others. I can see if they were stopping child pornography, but regular erotica they don't agree with?!? Come on!

I'm going to pass this along when I get a chance to look it over. As a credit card transaction company, they should only worry about illegal activities, not moral ones.

Date: March 1st, 2012 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, much as I'd like to blame it on PP (whose politics I largely disagree with anyway), it is very possible this is coming from higher up the food chain. PP works with merchants and buyers on one end, but with big banks on the other. I am starting to suspect that's where this is coming from. Honestly, I think that's far worse, but really, with corporation getting away with murder (and still whining about 'restrictive regulation'), what can one expect....

But yes, spread the word - getting this into the national, public conversation is key.

Date: March 3rd, 2012 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
At a certain point, large companies that are tied into the financial system, seem to get really confused, about just who, exactly, their customers are, It is the actual users of the system, or the big banks and Credit Card companies, who are all to willing to pull their strings.

[Yoda]Who Master is, wonder I must. Hmmmmm?[/Yoda]

Date: March 1st, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Being who I am, I'm altogether too familiar with disapproving people but I boggle at the thought of a bank refusing to process the cheque I paid for my surgery all those years back!

Thoughtcrime is with us just a little later than Orwell expected.....

Date: March 1st, 2012 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Indeed! Between the contraception furor and this - I really don't think one needs a tin-foil hat to imagine banks following insurance companies, hospitals, etc. in choosing to exercise their 'right of conscience' in processing payment for whatever they don't like...

Heck, given the sizable migrations away from banking giants like BoA, it wouldn't surprise me to see them pull something like that knowing the evangelical would flock to them in droves! Wouldn't want our overdraft fees enabling abortions, after all!

I have got to get out of this nuthouse!

Date: March 1st, 2012 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
European and subcontinent banks must be rubbing their hands with glee!

You're damn banks or financial enablers ffs not the local happy clappies! You're there to provide banking services to allcomers! We had 'Christians' working in the NHS who wanted to refuse to work with trans people or to provide birth control or abortion on demand to women who required them. The NHS exists to provide for all so they were told to do it or take a walk. I'm a Quaker so I wouldn't work in the Aerospace, weapons or military procurement industries- how is this difficult to understand? If you don't approve, work at something else!

Date: March 1st, 2012 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Paypal is so stupid. Why can't they go back to being invisible? I'm sure they have a financial ax to grind.

Date: March 3rd, 2012 04:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have a number of clients that use PayPal... but one of them, an NPO that sponsors poverty relief and a school in Malawi, has to bail and pursue getting a costly merchant account and gateway, as PayPal has repeatedly frozen donations made by prominent and influential donors. PayPal, first due to it's twitchy algorithms and then it's official policies... has all but accused them of Money Laundering! WTF!

It seems to me that ANY institution that grows to sufficient wealth, size and power, almost invariably becomes abusive, and where protecting the wealth, size and power becomes more important that serving their market.

We've seen this with Wall Street and the Mega Corps. We're seeing this happening now with former "good guys" like Paypal, Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

Almost without fail.



Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.

Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities