today in publishing and finance

From PayPal to a friend/publisher:

addendum, this is from BOOKSTRAND, an eBook publisher, to a friend/publisher/writer: 

Dear Publisher,

We were informed by PayPal, without notice, and by our credit card processing company, that we are required to remove all titles at with content containing incest, pseudo incest, rape, and bestiality, effective immediately.

We request that you immediately log into your account and unpublish all titles that contain the restricted content. If you have uploaded titles containing restricted content and do not unpublish these titles as we are requesting, we will deactivate your entire publisher account, which will remove all your titles from sale.
The "forbidden content" rules include:
  •  Pedophilia in any size, shape, or form.
  • Any form of sex with minors or any character under eighteen years old.
  • Sex with a young character still in high school or using variations of "teenager" or "barely turned" 18 or 19 for sexual titillation.
  • Hatred for characters based on race/ethnicity or religion.
  • Hatred or bashing of gays/lesbians.
  • Titles with covers that show male or female genitalia, butt cracks, or the female nipple.
  • Any combination of incest or sexual acts involving an immediate family member.
  • Pseudo incest or sexual acts with parents or siblings ("step" or "foster") for the purposes of titillation.
  • Rape for the purposes of titillation.
  • Scenes of non-consensual bondage or non-consensual sado-masochistic practices.
  • Bestiality with naturally occurring animals.- Sex with non-animated corpses.
  • Snuff.
  • Scat play (sexual acts involving urination and defecation).
  • Harmful content such as instructions on how to make a bomb, etc. 

My comments:

Okay. Scat? Rape? Snuff? All ick. Don't like it. I don't even really like the whole bondage/psuedo rape scene, though plenty of folks are into it and as one writer brought up in our G+ discussion, all D/s play involves at least a slight edge of non-consent. As for bombs and... and ETC??? ECT??? Etc is a pretty damn vague rule. But lets try to take it in the vein in which it was intended. No bomb instructions. Chekc. But how about detailing how to load your gun?  Or what if someone pushes someone else off a cliff? What if they push a whole bunch of somebodies?? Oh I know, what about a thriller in which someone steals the nuclear codes or hacks into CIA or outsmarts a Navy Seal--Oooo, or  gay people marrying, thereby ruining the institution of marriage for the rest of us!!

This is how it starts, people.  

What's next? No M/F/M or M/M? Or how about no sex at all. Yeah. Let's all just pretend we were all immaculately conceptioned.

And really, who the fuck is PayPal (and this mysterious credit card company which I'm guessing is Mastercard since everytime I log into their account I'm offered a PayPal Mastercard) to decide what's worth selling? Seriously. Company accounts are being suspended over this. PayPal is largely unregulated and runs rampant; it doesn't take much Googling to work that out. (go ahead, I'll wait) Anyone who builds reputable online payment systems eschews PP. I have personally heard of money disappearing from accounts. (You want to constantly move  your money from PayPal to your bank account, btw. Consider it along the vein of backing up your work.)

Okay. I'm going to write my space opera now. Guess what? In my WIP one person is leading another around by a collar and chain. Against her will. Damn. It'll never sell. 

Not through PayPal, anyway.


Todd Bradley said...

Perhaps you can write a story that includes ALL those things, but tastefully (no, I don't know how, that's why YOU are the writer).

Also, when your publisher is ready to shit-can PayPal, look into Square. From what I've heard, their terms are a lot better financially. And I bet they don't have this laundry list of things you're not allowed to talk about in your books.

ThinkBannedThoughts said...

Scary stuff, and good to know. I just got set up with PayPal, looks like it's already time to search out better options.
I may not agree with actually doing a lot of the things they have banned - but that's a whole lot different from writing, or reading, about them.
Oy Vey.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

It only has to have one of those things to be "against the rules," Todd. But hmm, the creative side of me wants to take on that challenge!!

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Yes, I've heard good things about Square recently.

Lots of magazines, including mine, uses Paypal to pay authors. Fortunately my publisher uses direct deposit.

j.a. kazimer said...

No tthat I'm a fan of dog on parrot rape, but WTF? When did it become a corportaions job to judge my reading material. Thanks for the post, it's good to know that this is happening.

Katie Elle said...

The rules actually started as e-bays rules about the physical items they are willing to sell. They came about after people were selling soiled underwear--including in the scat sense and there were health issues brought up at the time.

Companies have the right to determine what they're going to sell, but there's a huge difference between a company saying "we don't want these on our site" and a company saying "we want a bookstore to censor what materials they sell or we won't process any of their payments, even if it makes up a small portion of their total sales."

The only obscenity here is paypal.

Stephen Parrish said...

". . . or the female nipple" made me laff.

When I was raising money for Travis, after his house burned down, I used my PayPal account to collect donations. The moment the amount reached $5,000 PayPal confiscated the money, citing unspecified "irregularities."

I had to make eight written or telephone requests before they would release the money, on compassionate grounds (Travis's house had burned down). Normally, though, when they do this to their customers, they hold the money for six months, without specifying why, so that they can collect interest on it. (No, $5,000 isn't a lot of money to collect interest on, but multiply that by 5,000 customers, and it is.)

If you use PayPal, empty your account frequently.

jswayne said...

By the admittedly vague rules laid down here, roughly half my backlist and 3/4 of my envisioned work for the coming year would have to be pulled on various grounds. Guess I should just lay it down and start running a shovel again.
We can put them on blast. I have the email addies for PayPal's upper echelon at if anyone's interested.
Excellent post. We need to spread the word far and wide.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Thanks! I'll be looking that up next week and blasting them.

Lizabeth S. Tucker said...

That list means removing The Bible, To Kill a Mockingbird, Huck Finn, Lolita, most Jane Austen, Flowers from the Attic, Interview With a Vampire, Oedipus Rex, Pericles, Moll Flanders, The Color Purple, Hotel New Hampshire, and so many others that may be required reading in many schools.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

I know, Lisbeth. So stupid.