First, read this post by Smashwords founder Mark Coker.

Then tell me how you feel about PayPal dictating what Smashwords can sell. Sure, the site's turned into Smutwords lately. But offensive material is the price you pay for a 100% free market of written material.

My view is that PayPal needs to think hard about taking the moral high ground. Because if it wants to "go there," it needs to look at every transaction it processes.

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To the extent that Smashwords acts as a publisher, I guess I'm a bit surprised they allowed that stuff in the first place.  That said, I wonder what would happen to a literary work like "Lolita" under the new rules, or Yeats's great poem "Leda and the Swan."  The fact that it's a broad-brush approach and not viewed case-by-case is potentially problematic.

That said, I'm pretty sure the "first they came for the donkey porn" argument doesn't really hold up here--yet.  If they go after my erotic classics "The Fisting Father-In-Law" and "The Cleveland Steamer Chronicles," that'll be another story.

The broad-brush approach won't potentially be a problem, Jon. It will be a problem. That's what I'm concerned about.

And we all know you have many backups of your classixxxs.

Totally agree.  A lot of companies tend to expand on anything they get away with.  It's really just empty exercise,  idle ego-flexing for mid-management drones.  

It's like suing video makers because you can hear a snatch of music in the background of a street interview for a documentary.   Doesn't bring the company any money.  Doesn't protect their rights. Costs money.  But a bunch of suits get to sit around a bar bragging about what they pulled off.

I don't see why it doesn't hold up.  The whole idea of the "They came for the Jews first" meme is that it starts out by actions against elements that people don't like.  Somebody firebombed a church?  Well, it was a nigger-lover church.  

The idea that it's not ok to have books out there that I don't like is a dangerous one.  I'm rather surprised to see a writer disagreeing with that, actually.

And born out a bit by what you are saying, if you think if over.  "Burning your books is for the common good, burning my books is repressive censorship."  Thing is, there are lots of people out there who think your books should be tossed in the stack.  If they're a majority --or majority stockholders--they can do what they want, and you seem to think that's theoretically OK.

It was pointed out in that other forum that my new book, a work of profound literary import, might get banned (and my account frozen) because of it's totally innocuous title, "Considerations Prior To Shooting Your Boyfriend Right In The Nuts" .  I've already drafted letters to PEN and ACLU, just in case.

Maybe if it wasn't "right" in the nuts....

Well, this wouldn't be the first time for this kind of thing. In the late 40's when ten Hollywood writers were thrown in jail and so many more blacklisted it had a huge effect of what got written. TV was probably the most affected, just as it was getting started, but the reach went far.

E-books don't seem quite the same thing but it's possible this free-wheelin' wild west we're going through now will be tightened up.

Or maybe it'll just be the extreme porn and everything will be okay.



I considered specifying the left nut. but I advocate double barreled shotguns so heavily that I felt I had to keep it non-partisan.

Actually, I was just thinking the same thing.  It's very possible that it's not something that will spread out and stomp jackboots in the face of any book that some CEO's wife thinks he shouldn't have. 

But still, you know...

No--the whole idea of the "'They came for the Jews first'" meme" is that when government takes away the civil liberties of a particular group and nobody does anything to stop them, sooner or later they'll get around to you.  Smashwords is a private business.  They have a right to make rules about how people conduct themselves when they're on the premises--you know, "no shitting on the floor."  They're declining to sell (and by doing so endorse) a product that one of their business partners finds offensive.  You can question the wisdom of the decision, and it's possible (but not very likely) that great works of literature will be lost, but Smashwords is well within its rights as a private entity to ban any damn thing they want, just as any other publisher has a right to publish, or not publish, whatever they choose--according to their tastes or the dictates of their business model.    

Agree. The only real concern I have here should be taken care of by the market, so long as Smashwords and its peers have options should they decide PayPal's conditions are too onerous or arbitrary.

No, you're defining it to suit you.    "They" means anybody.

A bike gang.  The corporation that's destroying your environment.  Churches.  Whatever.  This isn't actually all that political.  Most bookburnings aren't done by governments.

By the way, since the people on the other forum seem to be doing more thinking and poking around than bloviating on this, some interesting things have come up.

Like maybe PayPal is being forced to this by the law.

I doubt it.  They don't generally charge banks with crimes just because somebody wrote a check on them to buy smut or drugs.

But who knows what jumped this off?  Perhaps a lawsuit?  Torts are a weird combination of private/government.   This might be to.

Well, PayPal is owned by eBay right, and they have shareholders so this could be the same thing the credit card companies went through, a large enough portion of shareholdes (which could be a single institutional investor) has a problem.


No, Linton, I'm "defining" it based on the original Niemöller quote from which the "meme" is drawn, which is specifically about the unwillingness of the intellectual community to act against the rise of Nazi persecution before WWII.  It's not about bikers or corporations--sorry.  You're re-defining it to apply to a situation Niemöller would likely have found trivial at best.  Nobody's hauling the doggy-porn writers off to the ovens.

Like I said, you're narrowing it down to much.  Everybody knows the original. Few think it has to apply only to a certain political group.   Otherwise, it wouldn't be very useful, would it?  

This "Linton" thing... are you the same idiot who's doing that in the other forum?  Are you the real "Nee".  Can't say I'm too surprised.

Trouble with that juvenile, moronic forum name-game stuff, it just spreads around and get sillier.


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