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Literary porn saved, as Paypal abandons effort to censor smutty books

Guy Adams
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  • Last updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 9:59 am

127935549 300x222 Literary porn saved, as Paypal abandons effort to censor smutty booksThere is happy news for admirers of the sort of literature which inspired Tom Lehrer to hymn the delights of a: “dirty novel I can’t shut.”

Almost a fortnight after it announced that it would henceforth refuse to process payments for self-published novels it regarded as “obscene,” the eBay subsidiary Paypal has performed a somewhat untidy u-turn.

Following a massive protest by writers and consumers of erotic fiction – who told me that the inexplicable move would effectively shut down their perfectly-legal industry – Paypal has decided to scrap its so-called “acceptable use” policy.

In a message issued today (read it here), the company announced that it has come up with new guidelines regarding rape, incest, and bestiality. Rather than censor written prose, it will instead only be refusing to facilitate payments for novels which contain images that it regards as obscene and potentially illegal.

The move is a boon to electronic self-publishing such as like Smashwords, which had originally been forced to remove 1,000 novels from its virtual shelves. A spokesman yesterday said The Independent’s coverage of their plight had been instrumental in persuading Paypal undergo its change of heart.

It also gets the firm’s high-profile founded Peter Thiel (pictured) out of a spot of bother. As a self-proclaimed libertarian, who is one of Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s foremost financial supporters, he couldn’t very well have backed the firm’s literary censorship without opening himself to allegations of the rankest hypocrisy.

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  • Plumbline

    The Bible does not gloss over the sins of men. It is worth pointing out here that in Islam, Lot is considered a prophet. Some Islamic sects justify or downplay the incestuous acts between Lot and his daughters. Most sects simply deny it altogether because the Qur’an does not mention Lot being drunk or engaging in incest with his daughters………

    The lineage of Lot would also produce the Moabites and the children of Ammon, who would come to plague the Israelites both in war and in temptation to serve other god’s. Gods judgement against the lineage of Lots descendants is as follows…….

    Zep 2:9 Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them……….The inheritance that was reserved for this people will pass to Israel when Messiah returns……..

    Just like Lot, the sins that people make today, effect there lives, there childrens, and generations down the road……….

    God Bless

  • snotcricket

    “A place where a bare breast is considered “obscene”

    Are you saying there are not Freemasons in the US?

  • Dromo

    Hang on a sec this has a proud tradition, I think some German Bloke censored books, Stalin airBrushed pictures, and PolPOt just plain burnt them all. Welcome to the club of Winners, PayPal.

  • dreamerman

    So marriage is the opposite of liberty?  Interesting . . . 

    In this case at least it seems they (we) have walked the walk since PayPal backed down.

  • dreamerman

    Yes but where do you draw the line between a book that talks explicitly about rape etc as a fantasy and a book that talks explicitly about rape etc while analysing it and trying to understand the subject and its implications?  You can’t – not with a legal system or business T&Cs.  Are we then to risk prohibiting anything to do with rape etc of any kind?  I hope no one thinks that is a good idea!  And the problem is that any kind of legal definition that tried to draw the line between the two will fail. All sexual fantasies have a reason and a psychological meaning – which society singularly fails to examine and continually tries to ignore.  Fantasies of being raped are common, possibly more so than of actually doing the raping and that has implications for cutting through human repression and guilt blockages – even coming to terms with things.  Bestiality maybe links to a need for something more primal in your human consorts that is natural to desire but also unfashionable.  I am not saying that a porn book necessarily contains psychological revelations, but I am saying that if people can’t express the basic fantasy then we certainly can’t see anything beyond it. That’s why you shouldn’t censor anything – even if you personally don’t like it.

  • stonedwolf

    The point is PayPal does not want to be associated with enabling people who download rape pornography and child rape pornography.

    The Independent and The Guardian – I assume – would refuse adverts for worst-of-the-worst rape pornography works, and I can understand why they and PayPal (and any other self-respecting company) would not wish to be involved in it.

    This is not about censorship – a government body or law proscribing that material under threat of criminal prosecution. This is about companies wishing to have the right to not be involved in the business of this material if they so choose. I can understand that.


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