PayPal's Attempt to Ban 'Obscene' E-Books Should Freak You Out

reading an ebook on an ereaderSooner or later, you find yourself having to use PayPal, the popular payment processing "middleman" that pretty much all big e-tailers use now. But now, we might want to think twice before going through them. They've recently made strides to ban e-books that they think are "obscene," which just seems like seriously scary overstepping.

Specifically, at least three online publishers and booksellers received emails warning them that their accounts would be "limited" unless they pulled titles "containing themes of rape, incest, bestiality, and underage subjects." So weird! Since when does PayPal think it can pull a Fahrenheit 451 on us?!

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Granted, those topics do seem obscene, but it's no one's place to pull books that contain them, based on some kind of personal, out-to-lunch "morality". It's also something that could be so subjective. For instance, are they going to ban the classic The Color Purple? Because, you know, that contains rape and incest!

It's no secret WHY they're doing it: Like other companies that buckle under pressure from "up above," PayPal claims it is doing this "because our banking partners and credit card associations have taken a very strict stance on this subject matter." GEEZE! Not only have banksters been on some of their worst, greediest behavior these past few years, but now they want to censor the books we're reading? Totally wacko!

The good news: The Electronic Frontier Fund and other groups including the Authors Guild, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the Association of American Publishers are speaking out against PayPal's move

Still, it's freaky. What's next? Are they going to punish brick and mortar book stores for selling something they don't agree with morally? It's a really terrifying premise to even think could come true.

If PayPal doesn't want to get grief from their banking partners and credit card associations, let them walk away from e-books altogether. Or anything else that goes hand-in-hand with freedom of expression. I'm sure some little start-up payment processing service would be more than happy to take their place.

Are you disturbed by this?

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