Monday, April 2, 2018

Rank and File by Ripley Proserpina

How is it that a bill that is supposed to stop sex trafficking has ended up yanking romance titles from Amazon’s search engine? Romance authors from self-published writers to EL James have lost their rankings and disappeared into Amazon’s erotica dungeon. 

Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) “makes it illegal to knowingly assist, facilitate, or support sex trafficking," and amended the idea of “safe harbors.” This means online services are no longer immune from civil liability for the actions of their users. Because of this change, platforms like Amazon, Microsoft, and Craig’s List have been removing anything which could make them liable for not “moderating content.” 

What does this mean for romance writers? 

Well, romance books have a spectrum of love scenes. There those which fade to black, there are sweet scenes, and there are more explicit scenes. “My book isn’t erotica,” is the refrain this week of authors who have to deal with losing their ranks and visibility. 

So I went to find a definition. Wikipedia defines erotic romance and erotica (including erotic literature) as two different things, but Amazon and other online services are lumping them into one group as they attempt to comply with the SESTA. 

I’m hoping that SESTA is enforced in the vein in which it was intended, and not as a censorship of literature. I think this week we’ve seen that even the best intentions can be misinterpreted. 

Interested in reading more about this? Here are some links… 

How a New Senate Bill Will Screw Over Sex Workers

Romance Writers of America: Amazon Ranking/Classification Issues

Amazon Is Burying Sexy Books, Sending Erotic Novel Authors to the 'No-Rank Dungeon'

Microsoft to ban 'offensive language' from Skype, Xbox, Office and other services

Major tech-industry group drops opposition to sex trafficking bill

No comments:

Post a Comment