Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mastercard/Visa influencing your taste in reading

I just received this note from the publisher of much of my stuff....

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Dear Author,

We are writing to advise you of recent and significant changes in the credit card rules affecting the adult industry, including Pink Flamingo Publications. Recently, in order to “protect their brand name” the credit card companies, Visa, Mastercard etc. have ordered US domestic banks to require certain content and products be removed from adult websites. They are targeting specifically “criminal” activities that include rape, abduction, kidnapping, basically any means of coercion and nonconsensual activity.

What this means for Pink Flamingo

In order to offer credit cards for the purchase of products on our website, books that include nonconsensual content will be need to be removed.

These changes are targeted specifically toward adult sites. Sites like Amazon Kindle, Sony, Barnes & Noble etc remain unaffected. The ebook business at these sites remains strong, and almost all of the targeted content is on ebook websites throughout the net.

The following changes in the PF site will be taking place starting today:

1) Nonconsensual books will be removed from the site. (we have plans for the continued marketing of these titles… read on)

2) All excerpts will be removed, and relocated to our free story site, which will be revamped for this purpose: http://www.freeeroticstoriessite.com

3) All Bondage DVDs have already been removed from the site

4) Some cover images may need to be temporarily removed, or new covers made

4) Write-ups will be reviewed and tweaked for all books remaining on the site. We’ll endeavor to keep as many on the site as we can. We understand that search spiders will be scanning the site for offensive “key words”.

5) For the time being, all unpublished nonconsensual books under contact and in the submission process will be placed on hold. We’ll contact each individual author about the status of their book or books, and options for publication.

6) Our writer’s guidelines will change to reflect these new content rules, which we will make available later this week.

Sales of Nonconsenual books

Pink Flamingo remains committed to selling this content. These titles will remain available in paperback, and for now, all ebooks for these titles will need to be purchased at other websites. We will immediately send print and email notifications to our customers advising them of the changes in ordering, and giving them complete contact information. Note: These books can still be purchased with a check or money order, as they always have been.

Once the changes to our main PF site are complete, we will create an ecommerce “echeck” website where these titles can again be purchased on line.

Also, we will continue to upload these titles into all the available internet systems, including two independent ebook distributors in the UK: Adult Ebook Shop (where much of our catalog already appears), and BDSM-books (a new vendor). This is a US domestic issue. There’s been NO mention of the new credit card rules affecting non-US websites.

This is obviously a significant change in our business. It’s not the first time that there has been a conservative backlash against this industry; we’ve weathered several in our 17 years. Pink Flamingo Publications is on solid financial footing, and while this will affect us in the short term, we will be aggressively working to promote all our products in every available venue. We’re fortunate that so many of our books are listed and selling well at various ebook sites throughout the Internet.

While the credit card companies have every right to deny their services for purchasing certain products, we consider this a free speech issue and a form of censorship. While this does affect a portion of our offered books, it is by no means all. We have a strong business in consensual erotic themes, and we will continue to publish and sell these books.

I know that many of you will have questions and comments for us. We welcome your feedback, and will answer each of your emails as we have time. However, please bear with us this week, as my staff and I work to make the necessary changes on the site.

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This fascinates. Does not every crime novel/movie have some form of 'non-consensual' activity in the plot.

Does any character 'consent' to be killed in a murder mystery?

How much nonconsensual activity takes place in the bible? Will Mastercard/Visa permit crucifixion scenes?
This seems to set a chilling precedent for Visa and Mastercard.

Will they next restrict the use of credit cards for other things... political donations, controversial religious causes, abortion/anti-abortion causes, gun control/NRA?

Once they start down this path, where will it take them?

5 comments:

watson said...

Yeah I know. I saw it yesterday as well. I was thinking about it in general and you in particular as I just finished your amazing book: "Supplication of the Male Pig." It was fantastic! But back to this absurdity....

I suppose there will be work-arounds, there usually are. But it might disrupt authors such as yourself in the short-term. Longer term I don't see how this can hold up legally, though vendors do understandably genuflect before the credit card companies.

I wondered what factions were behind this...I have no idea.

Chris Bellows said...

I think an active gadfly can have much fun with this.

We need some research to determine what scenes from Shakespeare fall under this directive.

Grimm's fairy tales will need a thorough review.

And 'Grand Theft Auto'? It's out! Best selling computer game of all time.

CB

Suzanne said...

Disheartening, absurd, etc....you name it. It will likely get worse, as the far right stumbles over each other as they try to take over the White House. Comical at best. Recently, in a nearby town, a handful of parents who were part of an Evangelical Christian group were able to have "Water for Elephants" removed from the local high school's required reading for the senior class. If you've read the book, you'll know that it's a funny, heartwarming and insightful story of life during our country's great depression. Let's hope and pray this changes.

Anonymous said...

Don't bother trying to argue or make sense of this. You can poke holes in their reasoning all you want, but it really boils down to "You know what I mean".

I honestly find it a shame that themes like these somehow always end up being the scapegoat for society's perceived ills.

That said, I admire the positive attitude you are taking on this (even though you are probably cursing and swearing inside) and are actively planning on how to move on despite this apparent setback. All the best! :)

JHoltgym said...

how 'bout the cannibalism in Titus Andronicus for starters?