PayPal, the online payment service owned by eBay Inc
The revised policy will also focus on individual books, rather than entire classes of books, he added. E-book sellers will be notified if specific books violate PayPal's policy, and the company is working on a process through which authors and distributors can challenge such notifications, the spokesman said.
“This is going to be a major victory for writers, readers and free speech,” said Mark Coker, founder of e-book distributor Smashwords. “They are going to build a protective moat around legal fiction.”
PayPal warned Smashwords and some other e-book publishers and distributors earlier this year that it would “limit” their PayPal accounts unless they removed e-books “containing themes of rape, incest, bestiality and underage subjects.”
PayPal's original policy was criticized by groups, including the Authors Guild and the National Coalition Against Censorship, which voiced concern that banks and payment companies may be exerting too much control over what books can be written, published and read. PayPal is relaxing the policy after the main credit card companies made a distinction between extreme pornographic images and e-books that explore such topics with only the written word.
PayPal told e-book distributors earlier this year that the original policy was in place partly because the banks and credit card companies it works with restrict such content. However, Doug Michelman, global head of corporate relations for Visa Inc
“The sale of a limited category of extreme imagery depicting rape, bestiality and child pornography is or is very likely to be unlawful in many places and would be prohibited on the Visa system whether or not the images have formally been held to be illegal in any particular country,” Michelman wrote. “Visa would take no action regarding lawful material that seeks to explore erotica in a fictional or educational manner.”
PayPal's new policy will still prohibit the use of its service for sale of e-books that contain child pornography, or e-books with text and obscene images of rape, bestiality or incest, the spokesman said. PayPal has not shut down the accounts of any e-books publishers involved in this debate, he added.
Anti-Censorship Activist Groups, Anuj Nayar, Authors Guild, e-book distributors, EBay Inc, eBook Sales, National Coalition Against Censorship, online payment, Online Policies, PayPal, PayPal accounts, Web services