Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Paypal Pressured To Play Morality Cop 

So this is a long story and the short of it is credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions are trying to censor legal fiction. They are leaning on Paypal to stop readers buying eBooks that include themes of bestiality, rape and incest. Regardless on one’s opinions about these objectionable topics, I view this attempted censorship as a bad precedent. Fiction is fantasy. It’s not real. PayPal’s request has caused a firestorm of debate on the Internet about censorship, and what this means for the future of ebook publishing. Most people are horrified at the thought of any censorship, while others believe such content should be restricted. It’s a contentious debate. The same censored themes are prevalent in much mainstream fiction. I believe it would be unfair to authors and readers alike for any organization to censor what writers are allowed to imagine and what readers are allowed to read.

If the PayPal restrictions were taken to the extreme, many mainstream classics including Nabokov’s Lolita or Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with The Wind could technically be banned. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with its depiction of rape could be banned. Even the Bible could fall under the net since it contains scenes of rape and incest. Therein lies the danger of censorship. Where does it stop, and where do we draw the line?

So what more can the reader do? All we can do is sign a petition and as the tag line for Tesco goes, "Every little helps". I have added my name to this petition simply because fiction is fantasy. It’s not real.

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