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Censorship Businesses

How Amazon's Monster Erotica Book Ban Shaped CloudFlare's Censorship Stance (zdnet.com) 125

An anonymous reader writes with news that CloudFlare chief executive Matthew Prince recently spoke about how Amazon's ban on "monster erotica" helped shape his position on censorship. ZDNet reports: "I worry about Jeff Bezos' bizarre obsession with dinosaur sex," said Prince, towards the end of a long conversation in our New York newsroom. "I don't think I've ever heard a chief executive -- hell, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say anything like that before," I said. Prince was referring to how the bookseller and online retail giant banned so-called "monster erotica," a genre of fan-fiction revolving around fantasy-based fictional encounters with mythical or extinct creatures (including dinosaurs), which was for a time sold on its online bookstore. Amazon, according to reports, pulled hundreds of the self-published books it sold -- as well as some content that fetishized incest and rape -- despite "vague" guidelines by the retailer. "You can make a rational argument that if you're writing books fantasizing about having sex with animals or children, maybe that promotes a certain kind of behavior. But there's no risk of someone abusing a dinosaur," he said.
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How Amazon's Monster Erotica Book Ban Shaped CloudFlare's Censorship Stance

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  • He's right (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It is indecent towards dinosaurs and hurts their feelings.

  • Sex is scary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2015 @03:04PM (#50704943)

    Weird people shouldn't have sexual fantasies. It scares boring normal people.

  • Is a money thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caffiend666 ( 598633 ) on Sunday October 11, 2015 @03:06PM (#50704955) Homepage
    Is a money thing. Other sites like Smashwords [the-digital-reader.com] spells it out more thoroughly. The claim is that they are unable to keep up with the requests for refunds due to bad porn and people who claim they didn't really buy it and risk having their merchant licenses pulled.
  • Short-armed Tyrannosaurs are poorly served by erotic literature.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 )

    But there's no risk of someone abusing a dinosaur

    A dinosaur is an animal. Therefore someone fantasizes about screwing a dinosaur is going to be more open-minded toward animals that actually live today.

    Funny thing about all of this chick erotica about vampires and werewolves is that it's obviously socially-approved necrophilia and beastiality. A vampire is an undead creature; basically a sexy zombie with full mental faculties. A werewolf? Changes into a wolf or a wolf-man beast. It doesn't need to get too mu

    • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday October 11, 2015 @03:22PM (#50705043)

      going too far down the rabbit hole.

      Watch it there, buddy!

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

      A dinosaur is an animal. Therefore someone fantasizes about screwing a dinosaur is going to be more open-minded toward animals that actually live today.

      A human is an animal. Therefore someone who fantasizes about screwing a human is going to be more open-minded towards animals.

      Ban hetero-normal sex. It's the only way to save the animals.

  • No, but somebody please! Think of the whales...

  • Where's the "rancid assholes" guy when you need him? Here's your story chance!

  • What ban? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nate the greatest ( 2261802 ) on Sunday October 11, 2015 @03:25PM (#50705063)
    Uh, Amazon didn't ban monster erotica - or dino erotica: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb... [amazon.com] http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb... [amazon.com] The guy clearly doesn't know what he us talking about
    • Uh, Amazon didn't ban monster erotica - or dino erotica

      Up until a few minutes ago, I was blissfully unaware that monster erotica or dinosaur erotica were even things. I mean, I know that man's capacity for deviance is endless, but I had no idea.

      I think it's time for me to start drinking to see if I can erase the images these things bring to mind. I may never be the same again.

      • by Rufty ( 37223 )

        Finally, a reason for tequila!

    • Re:What ban? (Score:4, Informative)

      by WarlockD ( 623872 ) on Sunday October 11, 2015 @04:08PM (#50705233)
      If you RTFA you will find a link to a 2013 article about it: linky [time.com]

      I am sure there might of been a slashdot entry but alot of the eroctica section got nerfed. Then almost as soon as it happened it was back. Like almost no point to the whole thing. More likely not because of the outrage but because of the lawsuits on an undefined policy.

      That's what the cloud fire guy is talking about. Companies arbitrarily deciding whats good or bad on their networks. He makes probery the best quote out of the whole thing:

      "I'm somewhat skeptical of slippery slope arguments. But, if you ban books that depict sex with dinosaurs, it doesn't take much before you ban books." - CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince
      • "But, if you ban books that depict sex with dinosaurs, it doesn't take much before you ban books." - CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince"

        That's the worst argument ever. Ever.

      • Speaking as a guy who wrote about it at the time, lots of erotica was pulled from the major ebookstores for a time. (I don't think Monster erotica was included, but it could have been.) And to be clear, there was no ban on monster erotica. It was being sold, and is being sold.
      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        That's what the cloud fire guy is talking about. Companies arbitrarily deciding whats good or bad on their networks.

        Well that actually puts the issue in a different light; or at least it potentially does. There are two reasons a company might decide some content is bad on their network. The first is that it's bad for their customers. That's not only none of the company's affair, it makes no business sense. The second reason would be if it's bad for the company itself.

        How can something that sells be bad for the company? Lots of ways; it could take up a lot of time and not make very much money; it could damage the com

        • by Jiro ( 131519 )

          There's a third reason (a fourth if you count the AC's below): Implict threat of government intervention. It's how we got the Comics Code authority and video game ratings. Yes, it was pressure groups, but one of the reasons pressure from pressure groups works is that if the company doesn't obey, they can pressure the government into cracking down on the company "to protect the children" or "to stop violence against women". For that matter, they can just directly sue the company in order to censor them; e

  • I've seen the movies. They come back. It gets ugly.
    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      I've seen the movies. They come back. It gets ugly.

      Jurassic World had it wrong. When we bring dinosaurs back, we should fiddle with the genetics to make them better lovers, not better killers.

      Dozens of Amazon literotica book-sellers can't be wrong! :-9

  • Especially considering that the Everyday Life with Monster Girls [amzn.com] series of manga is regularly in the best sellers list?

  • CloudFlare stands in the way between you, and more and more of the internet, and they don't like TOR: try to browse with TOR, and many, many sites suddenly become "protected" by unsolvable captchas that get served every 3 pages - practically making those sites unavailable.

    CloudFlare is essentially passing judgment on who is allowed to access the site they front and how. So they sure don't have any lessons to give on free speech...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      CloudFlare blocks visits from endpoints that are common sources of malicious behaviour - unfortunately, that includes TOR endpoints for obvious reasons.

      The reality is that sites don't want to get attacked.

  • rational agrument? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "You can make a rational argument that if you're writing books fantasizing about having sex with animals or children, maybe that promotes a certain kind of behavior. ..."

    People have said the same thing about a lot of other stuff;
    racing video games: your going to speed IRL
    FPS video games: Your going to start shooting people IRL (how many times have we heard that one?)
    RPGs; your going to go nuts and think your a High Elf ranger fighting monsters IRL
    Read adult magazines/watch porn: your going to become a rapist IRL.

    And yet, to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a causal link proven despite years of studies.

    Prince probably freaked out becaus

  • Behaviour... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2015 @04:48PM (#50705433)

    "You can make a rational argument that if you're writing books [sic] fantasizing about having sex with animals or children, maybe that promotes a certain kind of behaviour."

    The same way as writing books about murder mystery or war will promote a certain kind of behaviour to kill ?

    Why don't we ban such books too? Oh, and let's ban history books as they may also promote a certain kind of behaviour to repeat...

  • > Then they came for the dinophiles, and I did not speak out because I was not a dinophile.

    I mean, it's not like you can jump straight to banning [insert] in porn, you gotta boil the frog slowly.

    For extra ridicule, put "banning blacks" in.
  • Does the dinosaur have to be 18 or over?

  • "I worry about Jeff Bezos' bizarre obsession with dinosaur sex,"

    I'm starting to forget when a statement like this was never even contextually apropos, much less relevant to the topic, in a semi-mainstream news story. The times, they are a-getting unidentifiable.

    • I'm starting to forget when a statement like this was never even contextually apropos, much less relevant to the topic, in a semi-mainstream news story. The times, they are a-getting unidentifiable.

      Lol, O Brave New World....

      -

      "I worry about Jeff Bezos' bizarre obsession with dinosaur sex,"

      I hear ya. That was a sentence I could never have expected or predicted to hear, no matter how long I lived.

    • Presumably at some point before they made live action pterydactyl porn.

  • http://www.apex-magazine.com/i... [apex-magazine.com]

    I know this story pissed off those guys who tried to rig the Hugo awards, but banning the whole genre seems a bit extreme.

    • I know this story pissed off those guys who tried to rig the Hugo awards, but banning the whole genre seems a bit extreme.

      It is unfortunately stories like that one which gave the puppies that tiny kernel of truth which made the message much more compelling. I mean, I hate to agree with the puppies, but that story was bad. It'a (a) not sci-fi or fantasy or magical realism or any of those things and (b) just plain mawkish.

  • Vaginal Fantasy book club did "Taken By The T-Rex":
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • CloudFlare blocks Tor in practice, by endlessly forcing Tor users to fill out captcha pages. How is that not censorship?

  • by Hartree ( 191324 ) on Sunday October 11, 2015 @11:23PM (#50706697)

    I doubt Amazon would ban a book detailing how to do a real world harm, say: A detailed manual on how to loot a corporate pension fund and defer the retirement health insurance payments until bankruptcy can be declared. All without getting prosecuted for it. (And, I'd agree that odious though it was, a book about it shouldn't be prohibited.)

    But, we can get all bent out of shape and restrict things, especially sex, that meets someone's definition of "icky" or "scary", regardless that it's fiction about things that do not exist outside of human imaginations.

    I'm reminded of a person who, when looking for a roommate at college was visibly overstressed by worry that I had a copy of the DnD Players Guide. He assured me that the demons could use the pictures on the cover to come into our world.

    I was glad he didn't want to be a roommate, as I was convinced he was mental.

    How is this getting bent out of shape over something fictional much different?

  • They obviously had to make way for the censorship fetish porn, such as the above summary.
  • There's "erotica" about sex with dinosaurs that I could be reading right now instead of /.?

    What the hell am I wasting my time typing this for?

  • by cHiphead ( 17854 )

    TIL the CEO of CloudFlare is into Dinosaur sex stories.

  • Perhaps he saw something featuring Uncle Fester and thought it was parodying him?

  • Featured live dinosaur sex. And I'm sure there are other such movies.

    My sig is not a joke. Birds are dinosaurs, for all practical meanings of "birds", "are", and "dinosaurs".

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