Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! I have bad news perfect for today.
Mastercard is getting into the censorship business. Here's what I learned yesterday and I've been updated this morning.
More censorship! What year is this, 1950? That list of forbidden words is downright Orwellian.
URGENT to All Fiction4All Authors and Associated Publishers
An hour ago I was notified by Verotel that Mastercard is changing its policies (again) and that as from now, content involving rape, torture, kidnap, or `forced sex` (not sure where that is different to rape, but Mastercard must do) is banned and Verotel will not be able to process for it. They say this includes both the words and also images inferring such content. How on earth any robot can decide if an image depicts an unwanted action is beyond me, but that is what Verotel have decreed.
We have four sites where Mastercard have specifically complained about content (A1AdultEbooks.com, bdsmbooks.com bdsm-books.com and ebooks4adults.com).
I have basically been given until Friday morning to remove content containing the new offending word list or images from my sites or Verotel will close my account with them.
A quick scan of our books catalogue indicate we currently have just over 880 books on sale which contain one or more words that Mastercard apparently now objects to, either in the title, blurb or excerpt/extract. I have no idea how many covers would fall foul of them and certainly no time or resources to check and alter over 880 books in just over 24 hours!
My decision is to initially ask Verotel to stop processing on these 4 sites. Two of them I already have Zombaio in place on, or can reactivate Zombaio in the next 24 hours. A third site can be redirected to one of the other two until I get a payment solution installed. The fourth site does about $20 a month in sales and can be converted easily to use PayPal (who will have no issues with it).
This is a stop-gap measure to see if this is a Verotel or a Mastercard decision. If ultimately it turns out to be down to Mastercard then PayPal and Zombaio will also end up having to complain about certain content. At that time the 880 books will have to be removed from sale, though I hope by then we can change some of them or tone down what is visible on the sites.
From now, can I ask you all PLEASE not to submit stories that contain the following words in titles, blurbs and extracts:
1) rape, rapist, raping (even if it is worded as `she wondered if he was about to rape her`) - use words like violated, f##ked or whatever instead
2) torture, kidnap, force and other words containing these words (eg tortured, torturing etc etc)
I know this is a real pain and I know that selling fiction with these words in it is legal - but I don`t have the resources to fight Mastercard, so we all need to play by the rules and hope to survive another day.
Also, ALL books submitted MUST be free of any images whatsoever. We`re already removing all images from any books that are on the publishing queues. Also, if you are providing covers please make sure they no longer give any indication of `kidnap, torture or forced sex` as well as all the things that have been banned in the past.
Meanwhile if you are a publisher or self-pub and hear of any other sites having problems having this content, please let me know.
If we have to remove any books from sale I will contact the relevant publisher/author individually, but I thought everyone should know about the latest swipe at adult entertainment.
CEO Fiction4All (including A1AdultEbooks)
Stuart believed that this was being led by Verotel rather than Mastercard itself. This, however, no longer appears to be the case - he has spoken to them at some length today and they are adamant this is coming from Mastercard. More worryingly, he has obtained a list of words that cannot be used in erotica titles, blurbs, descriptions etc and these also target lactation and even tentacle erotica! There is also a stark warning that things are going to get a lot worse and one wonders if the targeting of dubcon is the beginning of a wider attack on BDSM. This from Selena Kitt:
Stuart said to me: "I’ve spent all day talking to Verotel’s Director of Risk and he assures me this is not a Verotel thing but directly from Mastercard. He also said, ominously, that things are going to get much worse in the near future."
What does THAT mean!? How can Paypal continue to stand on its policy, if MC is pulling this?
Stuart also provided me with a list of words Mastercard now will not allow in relation to erotica/sex, including the book title, blurb and excerpt!
Alcohol, drink, liquor etc.
Asphyxia, asphyxiate, asphyxiation etc.
Bled, Bleed, Bleeding etc
Force, Forcing etc
Hypnotize, hypnotise etc
Incapacitate, Incapacitation etc
Intoxicate, intoxication etc
Lactate and variants
Menstrual, menstruate etc
Molest, molestation, molested etc
Murder (and variations)
Mutlilate, Mutilation etc
Pedophilia (and various alternate spellings)
Rape, raping, rapist etc
Scat, shit, fecal, bukake etc
Fetal, foetal etc
Sedate, sedative sedation etc
Violate, violating etc
Worrying stuff, I'm sure you'll agree. I will pass on any further information as and when I have it but you may be able to find out even more than me. Incidentally, Stuart's email is: email@example.com
My short story "Purr" was censored and banned the last go-around with Paypal. That particular story is an erotic retelling of the fairy tale "Puss In Boots". It's likely to be censored again, this time because I include lactation as a sexual fetish in the story. I don't believe I used the words "lactation" or "lactate", but when you reach the scene it's pretty clear what's going on. I've noticed that people who have bought "Purr" have also bought other lactation fetish fiction.
So, pick up "Purr" before it goes away again. Here's all the information you could possibly want about that book.
Name: Elizabeth Black
Title: Purr (Based on "Puss In Boots")
Publisher: New Dawning Bookfair
Genre: Twisted Fairy Tale
Size: Short Story
New Dawning Bookfair
AllRomanceEBooks - NOTE: It looks like "Purr" has been pulled again from ARe. It also looks like my entire publisher's catalogue has been removed. Again. [UPDATE: The pub is back at ARe and so is "Purr". Seems ARe is futzing with listings now.]
Purr Blog Category:
The alluring puss in boots Muca aspired for her master to become the richest and most respected man in the land, but her job was cut out for her. Could she convince the local farmers to trust in her against the vicious ogre who ruled the region?
"Good afternoon, cat! How went your trip to the king?"
She smiled, happy he recognized her. She gave the farmer a confident smile, eager to continue her plan. She strode to him, and gave him a deep, elegant bow. "Very well, my friend. He enjoyed the gifts of my Master, the Marquis of Carabas." The farmer's wife nursed her infant, her full breasts spilling out from beneath her flowing cotton blouse. Such a hypnotic sight! An urge overwhelmed her to take a suck herself. She had a weakness for soft, enormous breasts, especially ones filled with milk. Her groin warmed, and shifted her stance to take the pressure from her arousal. "You have a fine infant there. How old is he?"
"Six months, and my wife has lost all her baby weight. Those breasts are especially nice, particularly late at night when it's cold outside." He smiled, walked to Muca, and laid a hand on her shoulder. "I see you're as enraptured as I am of her."
"She is indeed a fine woman, sir."