Naked Canadians Consider Class Action Lawsuit Against Paypal
Today a group of naked Canadians are considering a class action lawsuit against PayPal. The Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) -- an organization for Canadian nudists-- claims that PayPal suddenly cut off its services to them, refusing to process their magazine subscription payments after four years of business.
The FCN are not the first business to get denied services for supposedly breaking the acceptable use policy. Since 2003, PayPal has excluded so called "sexually oriented Web sites" from using their services for the purchase of digital goods like membership or subscription fees. However, any Web site is allowed to use PayPal for the sale of sexually oriented physical goods, like DVDs or magazines that are then delivered by hand to the customer. PayPal claims this is due to the immense administrative cost of doing business with an industry riddled with criminal schemes and frequent "charge backs" (when a customer disputes a charge to their paypal account.) In addition to this discrepancy between physical and digital goods, PayPal further reserves the right to deny Web sites that are distributing sexually oriented material involving minors or for Web sites that "facilitate meetings for sexually oriented activities." These two lines from the Mature Audiences section of their Acceptable Use Policy are what PayPal claims the FCN has violated.
While the nudists object to being considered sexually oriented in the first place, the government affairs director for the federation, Judy Williams, says "PayPal's decision about Going Natural and its claims about the FCN are unfounded embellishments born of ignorance."
According to the history, naturists base their practice on a nineteenth-century reform movement that believed the cure for the ailments of industrial society "was exposure to the natural healing elements or fresh air, sunlight, and water--preferably with loose or absent clothing." In addition, they don't believe that the naked body is inherently erotic, which anyone who has been to a nude beach can attest to. While the images in Going Natural magazine might include pictures of naked minors, a court would probably deem them no more pornographic than those baby pictures of you with a shampoo mohawk.
The last line of the PayPal's Mature audiences policy says that "PayPal will not include sexual preferences or viewpoints as a factor in determining what goods or services are prohibited under the Mature Audiences Policy." We think the FCN might not agree.
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