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Mar 05 2012

Paypal Prohibits "Obscene" Content

No, I don’t write erotica with themes of incest, pseudo-incest, rape for titillation, underage sex or bestiality. However, even though erotic fiction with those themes does not appeal to me, there is a market for it. A huge market for it. And just like other readers, if the content of the story does not amuse me, I don’t read it. Simple as that.


But now, PayPal is cracking down on publishers and websites that publishes and sales said books. Paypal warns if publisher continue to sale those books with “obscene content,” Paypal will deactivate publisher’s account. You may wonder why a company would threaten to deactivate so many publisher accounts like Smashwords.

“Paypal doesn’t want to have to pay Visa and MC for carrying “high risk” accounts on their books.” Erotica writer Selena Kitt writes on her blog. And what’s considered high risk for Paypal? Erotic books that contain the themes listed above. “Sites that carry high-risk material have to pay the high-risk costs of doing business. If you’re going through Paypal, you don’t have to pay that. Until Paypal catches you. And then they insist you take down your high-risk content or lose your account.”

So it’s the major credit card companies behind it all.

As a writer of erotica and erotic romance what I take form this is the major credit card companies saying… “We’re not supporting your icky imagination and if you force me to associate my name with your obscene fiction, then we can’t be friends anymore.” … That’s how I read it If it’s really about the money or not.

No matter my personal views on erotic books with those “questionable” themes (incest, pseudo-incest, rape for titillation, underage sex or bestiality), they’re still legal to write about. I am not a person to condone the suppression of published material. We’re adults. We should be able to write, read, and buy the kind of fiction we desire without someone or some group making it difficult due to their tastes.
Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords, had this to say about Paypal’s crackdown. “PayPal is asking us to censor legal fiction. Regardless of how one views topics of rape, bestiality and incest, these topics are pervasive in mainstream fiction. We believe this crackdown is really targeting erotica writers. This is unfair, and it marks a slippery slope. We don’t want credit card companies or financial institutions telling our authors what they can write and what readers can read. Fiction is fantasy. It’s not real. It’s legal.”

It concerns me. What will they target next in erotica?

Gay sex? Threesomes? Sex out of wedlock? Erotica in general?

What do you think about the crackdown?

About the author

Leslie Lee Sanders

Leslie is a publishing Industry blogger, freelance writer and an author of over a dozen erotic romance & thriller titles. She self-published over two dozen works of fiction since 2004. Her blog was a finalist in the first annual Goodreads Independent Book Blogger Awards in 2012, and her story Benefits of Sharing is a finalist for the 2013 EPIC Award in the short story category. Her work has been included in the following Writer’s Market books: 2016 & 2017 Writer’s Market, 2016 & 2017 Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market, and the 2014 & 2015 editions of Guide to Self-Publishing. As well as online blogs like Be a Freelance Blogger. She resides in Arizona with her husband and 3 daughters.

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