Victory on the horizon as MasterCard also denies hand in PayPal censorship

In an email today, MasterCard echoed Visa’s denial that credit card companies are behind PayPal’s censorship of certain erotic fiction. (The email was sent to Banned Writers,  a group hastily formed to combat PayPal’s outrageous actions.)

From: Monteiro, Chris
Date: Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 3:24 AM
Subject: RE: An Open Letter to Mastercard Incorporated Regarding the Censorship of E-Books

Dear Ms. Morris,

Thank you for your inquiry as to whether MasterCard  played a role in the recent decision by PayPal to limit certain content belonging to your members. We appreciate the opportunity to explain our policies and hope to provide clarity regarding this matter. To be clear, MasterCard had no involvement in the decision made by PayPal to refuse to process payments for certain books.

MasterCard maintains a set of standards that prohibit the use of MasterCard-branded cards and systems for illegal activities. These standards require MasterCard’s customers to comply with all applicable laws and not to engage in illegal behavior, or in behavior that would cause MasterCard to violate any laws.  In this particular scenario, MasterCard would not take action regarding the use of its cards and systems for the sale of lawful materials that seek to explore erotica content of this nature.

We appreciate the opportunity to address this important issue and hope we have addressed your inquiry.

Looks like holding PayPal’s feet to the fire may be working. Smashwords founder Mark Coker posted this cryptic note to authors today:

March 12, 2012 – 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 communityEffective 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.

A shout out to everyone who wrote letters, tweets and emails calling PayPal out on their censorship attempts. Let’s hope more good news is forthcoming soon.