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Smashwords Founder on PayPal Censorship: ‘We View This Attempted Censorship as a Bad Precedent’

After receiving an ultimatum from PayPal last month, the self publishing platform Smashwords updated its policy, restricting books from including stories with bestiality, rape and incest.

PayPal cracked down on erotic content in the company’s vast catalog, threatening to cut off service if Smashwords did not eliminate content with “erotic fiction that contains bestiality, rape and incest.”

In a newsletter sent out to users today, Smashwords founder Mark Coker wrote: “Regardless on one’s opinions about these objectionable topics, we view this attempted censorship as a bad precedent.  Fiction is fantasy.  It’s not real.” 

This week, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) stood up to PayPal’s censorship.

In addition, Miracle Jones wrote a long post explaining how the policy will affect individual authors.

eBookNewser has more: “Comparing PayPal’s policy to the other censorship movements such as the Catholic Church’s Index of Prohibited Books and the film industry’s Hays code, ABFFE and NCAC wrote in a letter to eBay(PayPal’s parent company): ‘The commitment to free speech is firmly embedded in our society, legally and culturally. Those who find sexual (or any other kind of) content disturbingor immoral don’t have to buy it, but it is widely accepted that they have no right to impose their views on others, or to expect society at large to adopt their perspective.’” (link via Publishers Lunch)

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