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Old 02-29-2012, 06:11 PM   #301
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Ugh. Erotica =/= Obscenity!
But is this true worldwide?

Smashwords, Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, etc operate in countries all over the world. And they need to obey and conform to local laws if they wish to do business there.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:12 PM   #302
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I'm pretty sure that a quick study of European history will show you that a large number of pretty gruesome brutalities were conducted by people who claim the Bible was their main reason and inspiration for their actions.
She was being sarcastic, but it's admittedly hard to tell in this thread.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:17 PM   #303
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@mr. ploppy, ah, I can see it now. Thank you!

(I would argue that it's less "doomed to fail" and more "in dire need of safeguards", but I also believe that's true for capitalism. )
The reason capitalism is so prevalent is because it thrives on the same greed and selfishness that ultimately destroy theoretically better/fairer systems.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:20 PM   #304
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What does constitute obscenity? (Please don't say, "I'll know it when I see it.")
Legally, it's what a "reasonable person" (whatever one of those is) would find obscene.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:29 PM   #305
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Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
She was being sarcastic, but it's admittedly hard to tell in this thread.
In my defense, my own previous statement about the Bible broke my sarcasm-o-meter. System overload.

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What does constitute obscenity? (Please don't say, "I'll know it when I see it.")
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Legally, it's what a "reasonable person" (whatever one of those is) would find obscene.
My dictionary says that in order to be obscene, something must be "abhorrent to morality or virtue; specifically : designed to incite to lust or depravity". Which begs the question, whose standards of morality? Yours or mine? Khadaffi's? The Vatican's? Marquis de Sade's?

And that's why I have a serious problem with PayPal's behavior. I'm fairly confident that what they find obscene is different from what I find obscene, but they force me to follow their definition, and justify it by saying that my definition is wrong or at least less right and less valid, than theirs.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:31 PM   #306
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de Sade would be my choice. That would ensure there'd be relatively little for the zealots to burn.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:33 PM   #307
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de Sade would be my choice. That would ensure there'd be relatively little for the zealots to burn.


Could not agree more.

EDIT:
With the caveat that only those who want to be exposed to the less conventional side-effects will be exposed to them. The whole not forcing things goes both ways, just because certain sub-genres exist doesn't mean that those who dislike them should be forced to read them. It's their choice if they want to miss out
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:09 PM   #308
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Originally Posted by ScalyFreak View Post
My dictionary says that in order to be obscene, something must be "abhorrent to morality or virtue; specifically : designed to incite to lust or depravity". Which begs the question, whose standards of morality? Yours or mine? Khadaffi's? The Vatican's? Marquis de Sade's?
Not so sure that De Sade actually supported what he wrote about. By the time you get to the one about Justine's sister, its all political satire. But +1 for the idealized De Sade's standards, lol.

Quote:
And that's why I have a serious problem with PayPal's behavior. I'm fairly confident that what they find obscene is different from what I find obscene, but they force me to follow their definition, and justify it by saying that my definition is wrong or at least less right and less valid, than theirs.
Its not even PayPal's, though. Its the banks that PayPal works with who have imposed that standard.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:18 PM   #309
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Originally Posted by ScalyFreak View Post
My dictionary says that in order to be obscene, something must be "abhorrent to morality or virtue; specifically : designed to incite to lust or depravity". Which begs the question, whose standards of morality? Yours or mine? Khadaffi's? The Vatican's? Marquis de Sade's?

And that's why I have a serious problem with PayPal's behavior. I'm fairly confident that what they find obscene is different from what I find obscene, but they force me to follow their definition, and justify it by saying that my definition is wrong or at least less right and less valid, than theirs.
Two things:
1) Your definition is, "The dictionary says X, but it doesn't make sense and leaves all sorts of unanswered questions." So how do you specifically define obscenity?

2) Must PayPal (or any business) perform business transactions that involve materials they have deemed to be obscene simply because you do not deem them to be obscene? If so, isn't that effectively saying that their definition is less right or less valid than yours?
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:20 PM   #310
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Two things:
1) Your definition is, "The dictionary says X, but it doesn't make sense and leaves all sorts of unanswered questions." So how do you specifically define obscenity?
Something that's depraved. And yes, I know that's vague.

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2) Must PayPal (or any business) perform business transactions that involve materials they have deemed to be obscene simply because you do not deem them to be obscene? If so, isn't that effectively saying that their definition is less right or less valid than yours?
No, they don't, and yes, it is. But I never said they must. If you read my earlier posts in this thread you'll see that my objection is not to their decision but the way they acted on it. They should have given Smashwords a fair chance to arrange for another payment method, not throw them an ultimatum the way they did.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:37 PM   #311
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My objection is that these sorts of things MAGICALLY! only ever get applied to books with Naughty Bits in them. There's a LOT of fiction that I find depraved; very little of it is erotica.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:38 PM   #312
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Its not even PayPal's, though. Its the banks that PayPal works with who have imposed that standard.
Many banks have tagged all "adult" content as "high risk." (They often don't define "adult" content, except to say that it's got something to do with sex.) Some of them tag any digital transactions as "high risk." None of them define exactly *which* kinds of adult content they will, or will not, do business with.

Some organizations won't do business with "pornography," which they don't define. Amazon, for example, doesn't allow "pornography" in its KDP program... but they allow both romance & erotica. They don't say what it is they don't allow.

Banks don't do business with obscene content (which is not illegal per se, but doesn't have 1st amendment protection and therefore can be illegal) or illegal content, but that's not the same as "don't allow books depicting illegal acts," or, as has been noted, there would be no murder mysteries.

These specific categories are PayPal's invention, not an attempt to comply with bank rules.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:51 PM   #313
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Not so sure that De Sade actually supported what he wrote about. By the time you get to the one about Justine's sister, its all political satire. But +1 for the idealized De Sade's standards, lol.
Well....he certainly partook in most of the things he wrote about and quite enthusiastically too. I imagine that meant he supported them too, at least if they were done voluntarily. Justine too is all satire of course, moral rather than political, and not than an incitement to ravish and sexually assault overly naive and excessively prudish young women, no matter how annoying they may be.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:02 PM   #314
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What does constitute obscenity? (Please don't say, "I'll know it when I see it.")
My dictionary says that in order to be obscene, something must be "abhorrent to morality or virtue; specifically : designed to incite to lust or depravity".
Dictionaries define things by common use, not technicalities. The *legal* definition of obscenity is much more narrow. The "Miller test," named for the lawsuit that established it, established the test for obscenity in the US:

The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether 'the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

So: not just "offensive," but sexual and offensive, *and* lacks artistic (etc) value. (I say "etc" because artistic is probably the lowest bar to meet, although political also covers a lot of ground.) It also established "community standards" as relevant, which is a huge kettle of worms today, because nobody knows what "community" counts for online content.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:16 PM   #315
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Consider Japan. That country is notorious for some of the subjects of its popular literature. Murders and sexual deviations abound.
That's true. As also is this 2004 report:
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The case was appealed to the High Court on arguments that the manga was not as indecent and explicit as much material on the Internet, and that article 175 violated the Japanese Constitution's protection of freedom of expression. The High Court upheld the ruling, and tripled the fine on Yuuji to 1.5 million yen . . .
Censorship is a human universal. Not that everyone censors, but just about every really large organization, whether governmental or business, will be found to suppress certain kinds of speech it doesn't like. Personally, I much prefer the countries and businesses that allow a broader rather than a narrower range of expression, and Japan is certainly in the broader-freedom group. And PayPal, as compared to other bank-like entities, seems also to be in the broader expression group.

Another near-human universal, found in all but the worst regimes, is that the censorship is inconsistent. That's good, since you can generally figure out a way to express your ideas while evading the censors.

I'm against censorship as much as the next person, so long as we don't demonize some group or country or religion which in reality allows a relatively wide range of expression.


P.S. Just to be clear, I understand WT Sharpe to be pro-Japan. My last sentence was an allusion to other contributions in this thread.

Last edited by SteveEisenberg; 02-29-2012 at 08:23 PM.
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