PayPal Tells Publishers to Pull 'Obscene' E-Books

Remove controversial titles or else, booksellers told
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2012 1:41 AM CST
PayPal Tells Publishers to Pull 'Obscene' E-Books
PayPal is "holding free speech hostage by clamping down on sales of certain types of erotica," free speech groups complain.   (AP Photo/

PayPal is overstepping the bounds of its role as a payment processor by trying to ban e-books it deems obscene, publishers and free speech groups complain. At least three online publishers and booksellers received emails warning them that their accounts will be "limited" unless they pull titles "containing themes of rape, incest, bestiality and underage subjects," Reuters reports. PayPal says it is acting "because our banking partners and credit card associations have taken a very strict stance on this subject matter."

A coalition of free speech groups, arguing that financial firms have no right to censor legal content, plan to lodge a protest with PayPal. "The topics PayPal would ban have been depicted in world literature since Sophocles' Oedipus and Ovid's Metamorphoses," the groups wrote in a draft letter sent to CNET. "PayPal, and the myriad other payment processors that support essential links in the free speech chain between authors and audiences, should not operate as morality police."
(More e-books stories.)

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