Smashwords Restores Content Policies

by Betsy Gomez

Smashwords, one of the independent e-book publishers at the center of the PayPal erotic content censorship scandal, announced that they are returning their terms of service to what they were before PayPal sent letters threatening to close their account if they continued to sell certain types of erotic content. CBLDF was one of many free speech organizations that signed a letter in protest of PayPal’s policy to ban erotic content that featured incest, pseudo-incest, rape fantasies, bestiality (including non-human fantasy characters).

In a statement on their website, Smashwords founder and CEO Mark Coker indicated that PayPal will be revising their content policies:

PayPal update:  I met with PayPal this afternoon at their office in San Jose.  They will soon announce revised content policies that I expect will please the Smashwords community.  Effective immediately, we are returning our Terms of Service to back to its pre-February 24 state.  Beyond that, our friends at PayPal have asked me to hold off sharing additional details until they’ve had a chance to finalize their new policies. Thank you for your patience and support during this crazy last few weeks.

While it remains to be seen how PayPal intends to change their erotic content policy, the fact that Smashwords has been able to resume their original terms of service indicates that PayPal likely has rethought their stance on erotic content. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.

For more information, visit CBLDF’s coverage on PayPal’s policy and our subsequent protest here, here, here, here, and here.

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Betsy Gomez is the Web Editor for CBLDF.