Amazon and The 1st Amendment

…with liberty and justice for all. But the question is—justice for whom?

The self-published book The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-lover’s Code of Conduct is available on Amazon. Despite the cyber-wide calls for a boycott of the online megastore, Amazon has decided to keep the book available for purchase, citing the author’s 1st Amendment rights.

Now, I’ll start by mentioning that I’m a doting mother and have a law-enforcement background, so those two factors play a strong role in my disgust with the situation. Child molestation is a crime—legally and morally. The young victims are scarred mentally, emotionally, and often physically, for the rest of their lives. As far as I’m concerned, the rights of innocent and helpless children should ALWAYS come before the rights of anyone who seeks to exploit them for money or for prurient interests.

I don’t believe an “author” should have the right to promote, instruct, or encourage pedophilic acts. And I’m pretty sure the founding fathers of this country would drop their fountain pens and load their muskets to protect their children from pedophiles, no matter what the 1st Amendment says. And I would be right beside them with my Beretta.

Now, that being said, I’m also in the publishing industry and this situation raises serious concerns about censorship. September 25 – October 2 was banned books week when millions of readers (myself included) embraced the 1st Amendment and celebrated the freedom to read what they choose. And, as writers, we celebrated the freedom to write without fear of being censored.

So, I guess the question is—where is the line between social justice and personal liberty? On which side do you stand?

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Published by Annette Fix

Annette's Paper Trail is a collection of writing, publishing, and promotion related blog posts, writing craft articles, interviews with authors and publishing industry professionals, and resources complied by Annette Fix.

5 thoughts on “Amazon and The 1st Amendment

  1. I think it’s important to understand that the author has every right to write the book, just as much as the creators of the Anarchist Cookbook and similar books have the right to create those. But no publisher is obligated to produce the books or markets to sell them, so Amazon probably should have realized it was a bad move and that they would be boycotted for it.

  2. I was really shocked by this, but since it encourages committing a crime, I don’t feel it really infringes on free speech rights, so to me that’s not so much censorship as it is protecting people. That is a good point about a hate crime label.

  3. Julie has a good point – classifying pedophilia as a hate crime might cause sellers of books like this think twice.

    Thanks for posting this Annette, I had no idea that this book was available on Amazon. I will now officially boycott them.

  4. Also a mother and former law enforcement, I was horrified when I saw that Amazon was selling this book. Although I agree the author has the right to write anything he chooses he also has to face consequences for what he writes. My understanding is that Amazon has a policy that says they will not publish/sell anything that includes hate speech, encourages violence against a group of people or encourages any illegal activity(I’m sorry I don’t have the exact wording in front of me)… Well pedophilia is still against the law in this country, this guys book encourages direct harm to children and gives advice apparently on how perpetrators can get a lighter sentence for their acts should they be caught (an admission of knowledge that it is illegal). I liken it to, the framers of the constitution and the supreme court support free speech but you still can’t yell fire in a crowded movie house. I’m right there beside you with my Glock.

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