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:
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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