Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

03/03/2012

Publishing Intrigue: PayPal Practicing Censorship


PayPal CENSORS

Can you believe it’s the twenty-first damn century and Neanderthals living today are still trying to censor the written word in the United States of America! A country that has ALWAYS believed in free speech and what it truly means.

Sad that some people never grow up, reach maturity and truly understand that America represents advanced citizenship — That essentially means you have to work at it.  

It seems PayPal, a fucking online financial transaction entity, is refusing to process payments for e-books that contain material their powers-to-be deem, in their infinite wisdom, to be objectionable in some way.

Why this is causing even more furor than usual is that for some goddamn reason PayPal has come to ‘dominate’ online self-publishing. Why the hell do we let ANY firm, much less digital online firms, come to dominate (monopolize) any industry and hence become too big to fail ? Or get so big and powerful that they can dictate anything to the supposedly free (to choose) consumers ?

It’s against the law dammit! — And, if they have changed the law while my back was turned, it is still against the American spirit!

This point is exactly why I have been blogging about why we need to rein in Amazon (see my last post on this blog) and not let it get too big to dictate. Right now Amazon is a good company, but, believe me, absolute power corrupts absolutely and those good author percentages, etc., etc., will disappear without competition. And Amazon, being a public company, the leadership and good intentions can change at the drop of a hat 🙂

More on this censorship intrigue from The Independent  by Guy Adams, their Los Angeles correspondence: 

Self-publishers accuse PayPal of censorship

Online firm refuses to process payments for ebook sites that sell titles with ‘erotic or potentially illegal’ content

 

The opening bedroom scene of Andrea Juillerat-Olvera’s new, erotic science-fiction novel Demon’s Grace is a classic of its kind. “He is on his knees,” it begins, “worshiping the cavernous female torso.”

Sadly, for admirers of Juillerat-Olvera, it’s about to get harder to enjoy her fruity pose. In what victims are calling the most far-reaching act of censorship of the internet era, Demon’s Grace and thousands of books like it have just been effectively banned. To blame is the online payment company PayPal, which has a virtual monopoly over the business of allowing cash transfers to be made via the internet.

The US firm has come to dominate online self-publishing, a rapidly expanding industry which allows authors sell ebooks directly to readers. Last week, without warning, PayPal wrote to every major self-publishing website, announcing that henceforth it will refuse to process payments for clients that sell books which contain certain types of what it regards as “obscene” content.

From now on, the firm said, it will begin aggressively prohibiting erotic literature which contains scenes of bestiality, rape, incest and under-age sex. Ebook websites that sell such works will have their PayPal accounts deactivated. “It’s underhanded, unfair and ludicrous, and it bodes badly for the future of free speech and expression,” said Juillerat-Olvera, adding that Demon’s Grace is now banned by self-publishing sites.

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01/17/2012

Is SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) Good or Bad ?


Stop Online Piracy Or Not ? At What Cost ?

Truthfully … I’m confused and conflicted on this issue.

For a little background, this pro and con scenario is provided from Wikipedia:

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261 or H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar S. Smith (RTX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.[2] Presented to the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act.[3]

The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.[4]

Proponents of the bill say it protects the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws, especially against foreign websites.[5] They cite examples such as Google’s $500 million settlement with the Department of Justice for its role in a scheme to target U.S. consumers with ads to illegally import prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.[6]

Opponents say that it violates the First Amendment,[7] is Internet censorship,[8] will cripple the Internet,[9] and will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech actions.[7][10] Opponents have initiated a number of protest actions, including petition drives, boycotts of companies that support the legislation, and planned service blackouts by English Wikipedia and major Internet companies scheduled to coincide with the next Congressional hearing on the matter.

The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on November 16 and December 15, 2011. The Committee was scheduled to continue debate in January 2012,[11] but on January 17 Chairman Smith said that “[d]ue to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February.”[12]

What do you think? Is striving for a more truthful Net going to result in censorship and restrictive business practices? Is censoring known untruths censorship at all?

Why can’t we provide an internet that respects copyrighted work and at the same time clears the way for easier and more fair business partnerships, etc.? 

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