PayPal Changes Its Mind, Decides You Can Use It To Buy Erotic E-Books

On the eve of its first match in this year’s Worst Company In America tournament, PayPal has changed its relatively new policy that would have forbidden the service’s use in the purchasing of e-books detailing certain sexual acts and behaviors.

As we first reported in February, e-book distributor claimed it had been told to remove all titles containing descriptions of bestiality, rape and incest, or PayPal would no longer be available as a payment option to Smashwords customers.

But now the company has said it doesn’t want to stop the sale of books that merely describe such acts. Rather it’s e-books with visual depictions that could potentially be illegal.

As part of the policy change, PayPal says it won’t be issuing blanket decisions about any genres or types of e-book — the one exception being e-books with either descriptions or images of child pornography — but will instead consider titles on an individual basis.

“This is going to be a major victory for writers, readers and free speech,” said Mark Coker, founder Smashwords. “They are going to build a protective moat around legal fiction.”

It is also working on a system for authors to appeal the company’s decisions. Let’s just hope it works better than the system PayPal has for its customers.

PayPal backtracks on e-book policy [Chicago Tribune]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Velifer says:

    Consumerist readers will not be bribed. The poo shall be yours.

  2. Cat says:

    Good news, now I can complete my collection of Peterotica.

    • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

      All erotic stories based around a man named Peter? All right, I’m game. But there better be some St. Peter roll play in there or my intrest is going to wane.

      • Cat says:

        The titles in the series are:
        “Angela‚Äôs Asses”, “Shaved New World”, “Harry Potter and the Half-Black Chick”, the audio-books “This One Italian Chick, Or Maybe Some Kind Of Spanish”, and “What I Would Do Sexually to Hillary Clinton”.

        I’m pretty sure there’s some Peter in all of them.

        • Nyxalinth says:

          I totally read the title “”This One Italian Chick, Or Maybe Some Kind Of Spanish” in Betty White’s voice.

          Family Guy FTW!

  3. Guppy06 says:

    Expect PayPal to be banned in Texas before the weekend.

  4. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    Thank God…now my weekend reading quota can be fulfilled!

  5. bsh0544 says:

    This sounds much more like, “We raised a shitstorm with our earlier decision so we’re going to put a better face on it. Good luck getting your book approved though.”

  6. Kestris says:

    Pay Pal has once again decided to screw someone over for collecting too much money too fast, this time preorders for a Doctor Who book, where the proceeds would be donated to Alzheimer’s research in the UK.

  7. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i had an issue with some content on smashwords a while back and they didn’t respond to my attempts to contact them for a couple of weeks. in fact, not until amazon’s copyright team contacted them did smashwords bother to respond to my request for information.
    hopefully they respond my rapidly to authors making appeals about content

    • deejmer says:

      Say what? I’m so confused by this comment. You are saying Smashwords stole and published some of your content?

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        i had a copyright dispute [now resolved] with an author who published on smashwords. i followed the process smashwords provides to contact them about copyright disputes [twice] and didn’t get a response until they were contacted by amazon a few weeks later.

  8. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Firstly, eff eBay/PayPal. They’re the most concentrated force of evil in the digital world.

    Secondly…why is it that PayPal is represented seperately in the contest? eBay/PayPal are one in the same, and infinitely more evil together than they ever could have been apart…

  9. qwerty017 says:

    “This is going to be a major victory for writers, readers and free speech,” said Mark Coker, founder Smashwords. “They are going to build a protective moat around legal fiction.”

    Except it isn’t a win for free speech since they are still saying they will block the sale of “visual depictions that could potentially be illegal” and any ebook related to child pornography.

  10. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    YES! I can finally use Paypal contributions I received from Drunk StoryTime to buy Ass Goblins of Auschwitz and Wesley Crusher: Teenage F#ck Machine! Make sure to tune in every 2nd, 4th, and 6th Wednesday of every month!

  11. jrwn says:

    ” Rather it’s e-books with visual depictions that could potentially be illegal.” OK, I don’t mind PayPal stopping child porn, but it’s not up to them to judge what would be illegal, that would be a court and then the police who enforce it.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      except if they wait for the court they could find themselves in one for distribution of child-pornography.

  12. shthar says:

    Sounds like thier lawyers pointed out they’d have to stop people from using ppal to buy such things on ebay.

    and they didn’t want to go through all THAT again.

  13. Preyfar says:

    Meanwhile, you can still use Paypal to buy virtual penises for your characters on Second Life.

  14. gman863 says:

    Note to self: Start documenting my erotic fantasies and publish them on Smashword.

    /s on insest, rape and child porn — the rest is fair game.

  15. brandymb says:

    Why have the contest? Paypal IS the worst company in the universe.

  16. PhilipCohen says:

    And, just for a laugh, some analyses of PayPal‚Äôs “The New Way To Pay In-Store”, PayPal Digital Wallet, PayPal Debit MasterCard, PayPal Here, PayPal Local and Watch With eBay …

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking