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Paypal Prerogative

Paypal has been known to do many taboo things but something may surprise you as to the next ferocious step this large online banking corporation is about todo July 1st. I want to make it clear that the policy I’m about to discuss doesn’t effect any user just using Paypal to do transactions with. However Paypal are looking to open up a new service in the future to their customers and it’s important people are informed about the policy. Also this policy will only be able to effect electronic products.

Paypal has been known to be quite ruthless sometimes by freezing accounts at whim with no evidence. After such events the person involved is normally cooperative to try and resolve the problem by sending all information that Paypal requests but still it’s a gamble if they’ll switch your account back on! Most banks will not adopt this kind of behaviour but this goes to show the too big to fail mentality of Paypal. I personally have had no problems with Paypal but something they’re about to do makes me feel very uncomfortable indeed as a freedom advocate.

So what’s this big change? Well recently Paypal sent me an email saying they’re about to change their policies; I know who actually read’s that? But it turns out somebody did and with this excerpt you will see what I, as an author, am so concerned about.

“When providing us with content or posting content (in each case for publication, whether on- or off-line) using the Services, you grant the PayPal Group a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sub-licensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise any and all copyright, publicity, trademarks, database rights and intellectual property rights you have in the content, in any media known now or in the future. Further, to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law, you waive your moral rights and promise not to assert such rights against the PayPal Group, its sublicensees or assignees. You represent and warrant that none of the following infringe any intellectual property right: your provision of content to us, your posting of content using the Services, and the PayPal Group’s use of such content (including of works derived from it) in connection with the Services.”

Before you become unsettled I will make sense of this policy and there is a lot of misinformation about this policy. I’m no lawyer but I do understand the basics, one thing that calmed me down is the fact that Paypal make you wave moral rights for content distributed through Paypal, which I don’t. From what I gather “When providing us [Paypal] with content” which mean’s uploading content to Paypal the copy of the work you want distributing. That’s why the policy has been updated because Paypal is looking to add a new feature whereby they distribute your electronic content. This only applies to electronic goods such as an Ebook, PDF, video or zip file hence the, “case for publication, whether on- or off-line” part of the policy. This means if you’re not hosting the file yourself but rather allowing Paypal to host the file for you then, according to the new policy, you wave all moral rights to the work. This feature isn’t here yet as of May 1st and this policy will only become effective on the 1st of July.

If you’re like me selling electronic goods or specifically in my case online courses then you maybe alarmed. However after careful examination there is nothing to worry about. The policy is here for a new feature that will be coming out most likely in July 2015 whereby you can upload your electronic product to Paypal and that means handing over distribution to them. If however you host all of your content away from Paypal then there is nothing to worry about, this policy only effects the content hosted by Paypal itself. So there’s nothing to worry about because I just use Paypal for the sale of my courses not distributing my courses; this means I don’t wave any moral rights over to Paypal for that course. This is purely here to protect Paypal for when they start distributing content, that’s all! However what’s my beef?

Firstly I’ve never had a problem with their service so I hold no bias against Paypal. But as a freedom advocate in general I find this by far too extensive, many distribution services such as Dropbox, Youtube and Udemy, which I use, do have similar policies to protect themselves. However they are no where near as egregious as this policy, it’s by far stripping the rights of it’s users to the maximum. To put it swiftly if this policy goes through as it’s currently written then I strongly admonish you not to use Paypal for electronic distribution. However just using Paypal for the transaction is your prerogative and no moral rights will be given up. I agree with the following found on The Digital Reader:

In any case, I am about to go yell at Paypal. There’s no need for this clause to exist at all, but if Paypal really wants to have it then they are going to have to redraft it so it isn’t quite so egregious.
– Nate Hoffelder

Citation link

I wrote this article to inform people before Paypal bring’s out this new feature. On the other hand Paypal may tone down this policy before the 1st of July but we’ll just have to wait and see.

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