Earlier this week, PayPal told Bookstrand, a major distributor of erotic romance and other erotic content on the Internet, that if certain titles containing "objectionable" material were not pulled from Bookstrand's shelves, Bookstrand's PayPal account would be shut down and the funds within confiscated. PayPal has a long track record of suspending, freezing, and terminating customer accounts on the thinnest of justifications, but this is going too far. By telling Bookstrand what books they can and cannot sell using PayPal services, they are also telling readers they don't have the right to read what they wish and telling authors that PayPal has the right to take away their freedom of speech and the press. If you use the Internet to find new reading material, if you use PayPal, and/or if you support the rights of authors and readers to have the widest possible selection of topics to read and write about, please sign this petition and let PayPal know that censorship, no matter what form it takes or how it is implemented, is not acceptable. Readers, publishers, storefronts and authors have the right to choose what books are sold and bought. Don't leave it up to PayPal to choose how you spend your money or where.
We, the undersigned, are concerned about PayPal's apparent lack of regard for the rights of authors, readers, and booksellers to engage in free commerce and to choose what reading material is acceptable fare. We believe that PayPal's recent attempt to force Bookstrand to pull titles from its shelves or face account closure and forfeiture of funds amounts to censorship, and we want it to stop. In service of this, we, the undersigned, ask that you immediately halt all such activity both against individuals and companies. The money in those accounts belong to the account owners, and PayPal acts as the custodian of those funds. This does not give PayPal et al the right to unilaterally confiscate such funds on the grounds that reading material purchased thereby may be objectionable. We believe that what informed adult readers choose to purchase or read over the Internet is a matter of personal choice that PayPal does not have the right to meddle with. We hope you will heed our voices and recognize the rights of readers, authors, and Internet retailers to choose what reading material is acceptable without interference. We are respectfully requesting that you amend your Terms of Service to permit any legal and lawful usage, regardless of PayPal's personal feelings about such content or items, and that you stop confiscating user funds without due process through the appropriate legal channels. Thank you for taking the time and attention to address this matter.
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