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Lulu and the age of consent

Bondi Beach
Updated:

Public Service Announcement: This post is not about what age is the age of consent or that the age of consent varies by jurisdiction. We all know that.

Lulu sent me another "Action Needed" note (the second or third now they've sent on Julie's Spring pointing out their retail partners won't accept material with [insert list of bad things here], and ending with:

"explicit content involving children or participants below the age of consent-nor do they permit pseudo depictions of these acts, or content linking to websites with explicit content."

Funny thing about this: Julie's Spring is already available on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and a couple of other sites in Japan and elsewhere (I stopped looking). So I'm not about to nudge this particular water bucket by trying to figure out what in the novella they don't like.

It's probably the age of consent thing, but I'm not asking. Besides, I don't know where these people live even if I'm morally certain they're all above the age of consent there, whatever it is.

EDIT to add: I think Amazon specifies 18 or above, as does Smashwords.

bb

Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

My experience with posting Cazna's stuff at Lulu via their market partners has been you have to be careful with persons under 18 years of age. Now the real crazy things I when a couple of the stories were first posted I made them available on Amazon as the only partner to test things.

Someone who saw it on Amazon complained and it came back through the system. I revised the story and removed it from the Partner Market, it's been sitting on Lulu without any issues for several years now, and some sales. Mind you, Amazon still list Power Tool as being available through them. If you can figure out their thinking, let me know, because I can't.

If you have it available on the others through another system, just don't Partner it through Lulu and you shouldn't have any issues.

Crumbly Writer

The big stickler for these issues is Amazon itself, as they won't allow any story featuring under 18 characters or any reference to incest. However, they've got no way of determining it. So if you're receiving a complaint, it means they (Lulu in this case) got a complaint (probably from Amazon, though they didn't specify) about the book and they've pulled it. That means, the book won't be available to anyone unless you rectify the issue.

There is no complaint mechanism. You either fix it or leave town! The issue is, if the same person complains again, Amazon (and by extention, lulu) can drop you entirely as an author for violating their rules, even if you did everything correct.

I'm facing the same issue as I have a new book, ready to publish, which deals with a pseudo-incest situation, and I'm debating whether to risk publishing or possibly selling directly to my fans via PayPal.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The big stickler for these issues is Amazon itself, as they won't allow any story featuring under 18 characters or any reference to incest.


Any reference to incest?

Strange, searching Amazon.com with their internal search engine under Kindle eBooks : Literature & Fiction : Erotica for "incest" returns several thousand results.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Erotica for "incest" returns several thousand results.


Ayep, just means a complaint hasn't been lodged yet, or the sales are so high Amazon doesn't want to upset the golden goose, or the author is too big to push too hard.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

just means a complaint hasn't been lodged yet, or the sales are so high Amazon doesn't want to upset the golden goose, or the author is too big to push too hard.


For a few dozen, I could buy that, but for thousands, I don't think so.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

For a few dozen, I could buy that, but for thousands, I don't think so.

The Amazon TOS specifies that any 'explicit' depiction of incest is grounds for banning an author outright, as is any depiction of underaged (i.e. under 18) incidents or description of sex. What authors get away with is another thing.

I won't get into whether it's right or not, I'm only explaining how Amazon deals with it. Since Lulu deals with Amazon, they follow their dictates (i.e. any complaint is the same as explicit guilt).

In my case, since "The Catalyst" spanned several books before the issue of incest was ever explicitly broached, no one ever complained so it was never technically an issue, but for this new book, it's broached in the fist few chapters.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

but for thousands, I don't think so.


It depends on the total business they get, not just the one book. But they're a law unto themselves and they never consult with the authors before banning them. Hell, the bitched about Power Tool several years ago, but still display it as for sale through them.

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

The big stickler for these issues is Amazon itself, as they won't allow any story featuring under 18 characters or any reference to incest. However, they've got no way of determining it. So if you're receiving a complaint, it means they (Lulu in this case) got a complaint (probably from Amazon, though they didn't specify) about the book and they've pulled it. That means, the book won't be available to anyone unless you rectify the issue.


Well, that's not quite the way it's working. Julie's Spring is still available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julies-Spring-Joe-Bondi-Beach-ebook/dp/B015D3WYGQ, and Lulu's message said they would keep it available on the Lulu marketplace until I revised it to meet whichever of their [long list of bad things] the book contravened.

Of course, they could indeed pull it from Amazon and their other partners any time they want, but they didn't pull it a year ago when I had the same notice, so there's no telling what they'll do now.

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Bondi Beach

@Dominions Son

Strange, searching Amazon.com with their internal search engine under Kindle eBooks : Literature & Fiction : Erotica for "incest" returns several thousand results.


Funny thing about that. Despite Lulu's claim that Amazon and others include pseudo-incest in their prohibitions, at Amazon the first page of results searching "sibling incest kindle" turned up 11 fiction results, every single one of them pseudo-incest, i.e., a step- or adopted sibling or parent (so their search engine is crappy). The first five:

In the Barn (Selena Kitt)-adopted brother
Man of the House (Felicia Scott)-stepfather
Forbidden Taboo (unk)-stepfather
Bound by my stepbrother
Taken by my Twin Stepbrothers

For a little extra laugh, at least two titles included "Billionaire."

For us incest fans, pseudo-incest doesn't cut it.

bb

Replies:   Bondi Beach  Zom
Bondi Beach

@Bondi Beach

11 fiction results, every single one of them pseudo-incest,


More to the point, can anyone turn up a book at Amazon that is (a) fiction and (b) true incest?

OK, I cheated. Spring Break in Napa at Lulu includes "incest" as a key word. It has sibling incest, nothing pseudo about it. "Spring Break" is also listed at Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Spring-Break-Napa-California-Central-ebook/dp/B00U6E8K4I

although I can't find any key words at all in that listing.

(This isn't an invitation to call up Amazon and tell them, thanks very much.)

bb

docholladay

One major problem with such a ruling as "Age of Consent" is that there is no one standard age which applies to every place. Every state and country has its own "Age of Consent" sometimes they match up, but its not the same for different locations. Until the world comes up with one damned Age that rule is kind of stupid.

For me the age of consent has always been more of a Mental/Emotional/Understanding factor than the number of years on the calendar. Some have the key factors at a younger age and others never do. Of course I have seen extreme examples of both. Take one woman I knew back in 1966. Her calendar age was 34. Her Mental/Emotional/Understanding age was less than a 5 year old (I was told it was because of a head injury). Now what should have been her age of consent?

Ernest Bywater

@docholladay

For many thousands of years there was an Internationally recognised Age of Consent, the last remnants of it is still celebrated by some communities when a girl is 13 and a boy is 14 and they're declared to be adults by the ancient rules. From the middle ages on until the mid 1800s the was no such thing as an age of consent at all in most Western societies. What we have today is a modern law that was introduced to help control the population and give the powers that be authority over the behaviours of young people.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Ernest Bywater

I've come to think of it as the HOA* "Nazi" syndrome. A person pushes to achieve a position of authority, and them imposes their personal attitudes on people under their control. It's universal. Some do it with regulations, or laws, or guns.

*HOA = Home Owners' Association. Don't even think of painting your mailbox purple!

This effect is universally evident in America, and is most oppressive at local levels of government, especially in municipal and county level regulation. During the "Great Depression" many people survived by peddling apples and pencils and such on street corners. Police in New York City assaulted, choked, and killed a defenseless man for selling cigarettes to passers-by, one at a time, because he did not have a city permit.

Check your local regulations to see what's required to legally sell hot dogs from a push cart. It's quite an eye-opener.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@graybyrd

Check your local regulations to see what's required to legally sell hot dogs from a push cart. It's quite an eye-opener.

Because people do tend to get upset when they get food poisoning, so there are health regulations.
Other people tend to get pissed off when they can't use the footpath (sidewalk) because it's blocked by people that have setup camp there, so you end up with regulations relating to where people can & can't sell food.
And of course you get those that just have to push any rules or regulations to their absolute limit, so there are even more rules & regulations in order to account for those tools.
And on it goes, till you get to where we are now.

Zom

@Bondi Beach

For us incest fans, pseudo-incest doesn't cut it

Pseudo often isn't. In several jurisdictions the legal definition of incest includes step-relatives.

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

Well, that's not quite the way it's working. Julie's Spring is still available at Amazon:

It's the same principal, though Amazon isn't the culprit this time. Chances are, there was a complaint filed on Nook, Google, Apple or Kobo (which, since it serves a mostly international crowd, is often more judgmental than the more Western sites (overly racist comment?).

The point is, these notices are sent because a single complaint was registered from one of your sales sites. If Amazon still offers it, and Lulu is leaving it on their marketplace, then the complaint must have originated on one of the other sites.

I'd check those sites to see whether there were any negative reviews complaining about the contents of the story. That won't help much, as it won't resolve the complaint, but it accounts for the difference between the different responses. Generally, you submit, no one analyzes the stories, until someone complains, and then everyone flies into a panic!

awnlee jawking

@Bondi Beach

Since the thread has broached the issue of the age of consent subject despite your first paragraph, I'd like to add a further divergence.

In the vernacular of my childhood, a 'lulu' was a stupid person. For example: "He thinks babies are found under gooseberry bushes. What a lulu!"

I haven't found any evidence of this usage in the top few slang dictionaries suggested by Google, so the usage may have been very local and is in danger of being lost completely.

AJ

Replies:   ustourist  Bondi Beach
ustourist

@awnlee jawking

Definitely used as meaning a simpleton or stupid person in my area of west London in the fifties to seventies. I also heard it used later in west Surrey and north east Hants as meaning a mindless or simple task, so depending on your area, not necessarily regional, though not being around there nowadays I don't know if it Is still current useage.

Switch Blayde

@docholladay

One major problem with such a ruling as "Age of Consent" is that there is no one standard age which applies to every place. Every state and country has its own "Age of Consent"


In the U.S., character age for porn is set by the Federal government at 18. Anything under 18 is child porn. It doesn't matter what the age of consent is in the state.

Bondi Beach

@awnlee jawking

haven't found any evidence of this usage in the top few slang dictionaries suggested by Google, so the usage may have been very local and is in danger of being lost completely.


I've heard it used as "really something," i.e., not derogatory. "The fight was a real lulu." But I haven't heard it or read it recently and never often. Maybe one of the founders had a grandmother named named "Lulabelle," known to her grandchildren as "Lulu."

bb

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

Maybe one of the founders had a grandmother named named "Lulabelle," known to her grandchildren as "Lulu."

"That Lulabelle, and her online-book sales company, are a couple lulus!"

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


I've heard it used as "really something,"


Ayep, I've heard it used that way by the older people down here, as in, a great party was 'a Lulu of a bash.'

edit to add: found this stating lulu as a slang noun, meaning:

A remarkable person, object, or idea.

https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=lulu

http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/lulu

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/lulu

has it as probably 19th century origin, and:

informal
An outstanding example of a particular type of person or thing: as far as nightmares went, this one was a lulu

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

An outstanding example of a particular type of person or thing: as far as nightmares went, this one was a lulu

Reading that usage, I can recall hearing it here in the States as well (either in the south or the midwest).

docholladay
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


In the U.S., character age for porn is set by the Federal government at 18. Anything under 18 is child porn. It doesn't matter what the age of consent is in the state.


Notice I said every country. In other words a world wide standard age that covers all nations and cultures. There can be a difference even between neighboring countries.

edited to add: I think until that type standard is created and approved. The users will have to police the standards ourselves. Sure we can and will make mistakes in that process.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

In the U.S., character age for porn is set by the Federal government at 18. Anything under 18 is child porn. It doesn't matter what the age of consent is in the state.


Technically, that is for the ages of models/actors/actresses, not for characters.

As of yet, virtual child porn is legal in the US.

When the US Supreme Court first upheld child porn bans, they did so strictly on the basis of the harm done to the children used to produce it. Of course, when it comes to virtual child porn, no children were harmed in producing it.

Congress passed a virtual child porn band in 1996, but it was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2002.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashcroft_v._Free_Speech_Coalition

Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

Notice I said every country. In other words a world wide standard age that covers all nations and cultures. There can be a difference even between neighboring countries.

The role of organizations like Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Apple and Kobo have largely established a legal precident for 18 as the international legal standard. Individual countries can fight it in court if they want, but they can only charge someone for violations if they reside inside their countries. Thus anyone who fights to challenge the 18-year-old standard stand to face an economic boycott by authors/movie studios/publishers. No economic organization wants to deal with the uncertainty of nonstandard legal standing. They just won't sell to those markets.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The role of organizations like Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Apple and Kobo have largely established a legal precident for 18 as the international legal standard.


Sorry, but no, they haven't established a legal precedent. The major international book sellers are certainly free to establish whatever standards they want for what they will or will not sell, but under no circumstance does that become a legal precedent.

Their refusal to self virtual child porn does not make virtual child porn illegal anywhere. Nor does it have any legally binding affect on what the character apparent age cutoff for what constitutes virtual child porn anywhere.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Sorry, but no, they haven't established a legal precedent.

Sorry, I meant a 'defacto standard' instead of a 'legal standard'. In lieu of any existing standards, those--despite a lack of historic precedent--often tend to sway public and court opinions (either positively or negatively).

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Sorry, I meant a 'defacto standard' instead of a 'legal standard'. In lieu of any existing standards, those--despite a lack of historic precedent--often tend to sway public and court opinions (either positively or negatively).


First you said precedent (though you misspelled that), not standard.

Second, there is little history in the US of courts being swayed by such defacto standards in any way, particularly when it comes to criminal matters. The US constitution is explicitly hostile to common law crimes.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son


Congress passed a virtual child porn band in 1996


What sort of songs did they play and sing?

Capt Zapp

@Ernest Bywater

What sort of songs did they play and sing?


'Come to my Bed, Little One'

philhebe

I am writing a historical novel based at the turn of the twentieth century in Chicago's red light district. It is about a fourteen year old getting swept up in white slavery. From reading this topic it appears there isn't a chance in hell in getting it published.

Dominions Son

@philhebe

From reading this topic it appears there isn't a chance in hell in getting it published.


It's not necessarily that bad, after all, Lolita got published.

With that kind of subject, you will probably have better luck with the dead tree publishers than trying to publish it as an e-book. You will probably have to shop around for the right publisher.

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@philhebe


I am writing a historical novel based at the turn of the twentieth century in Chicago's red light district. It is about a fourteen year old getting swept up in white slavery. From reading this topic it appears there isn't a chance in hell in getting it published.


Since I am an attorney of the outhouse variety, I'm fully qualified to advise you on this: unless you go into detail about how your little white slave is, er, you know what 14 ways from Sunday, the mere fact that a character is under 18 years is irrelevant.

EDIT TO ADD: This assumes you're writing a real historical novel and not an excuse to show how 14-year-old girls get screwed, literally and figuratively.

bb

Ernest Bywater

@philhebe

topic it appears there isn't a chance in hell in getting it published.


That'll depend on how graphic the sex scenes are.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Technically, that is for the ages of models/actors/actresses, not for characters.

As of yet, virtual child porn is legal in the US.


True. I was differentiating between the age of consent to have sex and the legal age to make porn. As to characters in fiction, it's all about passing the Miller Test which is very subjective.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

As to characters in fiction, it's all about passing the Miller Test which is very subjective.


True, but the Miller test is about general obscenity law, not child pornography, so the purported ages of the characters would be of little relevance.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

True, but the Miller test is about general obscenity law, not child pornography, so the purported ages of the characters would be of little relevance.


Except they're more likely to go after you if the characters are under 18.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Except they're more likely to go after you if the characters are under 18.


Maybe, but it isn't likely to make them more successful.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Maybe, but it isn't likely to make them more successful.


The two that I know were successful were both sites that were kiddy porn. Red Rose and Frank Downey.

JohnBobMead

@Switch Blayde

The two that I know were successful were both sites that were kiddy porn. Red Rose and Frank Downey.

Red Rose I don't know. Frank Downey wrote about sixteen/seventeen/eighteen-year-olds on the whole, late teenage, not something I'd call kiddie porn. and as his website is still up, I don't think anyone went after him. He's posted to his Yahoo discussion group within the last three years (since I moved to Tacoma, anyway); his stuff is on SOL as Don Lockwood. Anyway, he wrote about Juniors/Seniors in High School, and Freshmen/Sophomores in College. Pretty good stuff.

Switch Blayde

@JohnBobMead

Frank Downey wrote about sixteen/seventeen/eighteen-year-olds on the whole, late teenage, not something I'd call kiddie porn. and as his website is still up


Maybe I got his name wrong. The person I'm referring to was barred from using the Internet as part of the settlement.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

The two that I know were successful were both sites that were kiddy porn. Red Rose and Frank Downey.


I can't find any news articles in a google search concerning either a child porn or an obscenity conviction (or even prosecution) against a Frank Downey.

Karen Fletcher, the woman behind Red Rose was sentenced to home confinement on a plea deal. Not exactly an out and out win for the prosecution.

Apparently from what I could find, her stories contained graphic rape and torture of children down to infants. So there is a good deal more to her obscenity conviction than just underage sex.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Switch Blayde

Frank McCoy, not Frank Downey

Switch Blayde

@JohnBobMead

Frank Downey


My apologies to Mr. Downey.

It was Frank McCoy.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Maybe I got his name wrong. The person I'm referring to was barred from using the Internet as part of the settlement.


Doing a Google search on man barred from using the internet, The closes thing I could find was a Wisconsin man banned from using the internet as part of a conviction for harassing a neighbor by sending "gentlemen callers" to her house through Craigslist

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

My apologies to Mr. Downey.

It was Frank McCoy.


Again, the basis of the obscenity charge against Frank McCoy was not under age sex, but graphic violence against a very young child.

https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=frank+mccoy

In fact, within the court's ruling, it notes that McCoy put warnings on the work such that those who might be similarly troubled by the contents would know not to read it:

This story contains very graphic violence against a very young child. If such things bother you (and they do me) I advise against reading this. The story is based upon a line that ran through my head one night, and I couldn't get it out [...basic description of the very taboo subjects included in the story... ] FINAL WARNING !!!! If you think the previous description is based; the actual story is much worse! I strongly advise you to skip this one.


docholladay
Updated:

Its a great reason not to give actual ages too much. The age of consent changes over time. Instead just give the information that their age is legal for both their culture and time period. Leave the actual ages up for grabs. Anyone with half a brain knows that in some cultures legal was almost from birth, due to arranged marriages between infants.

edited to add: That does not mean I think it was right. Just its not my place to judge their culture since I don't know enough about it or their circumstances.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Second, there is little history in the US of courts being swayed by such defacto standards in any way, particularly when it comes to criminal matters. The US constitution is explicitly hostile to common law crimes.

First, I wasn't talking U.S. courts, and secondly, it's more a matter of 3rd and 4th world countries either 'playing ball' by going along with the international companies or not being allowed access to the global markets. Thus it has less to do with law than 'Do you wanna buy cheap shit or not?' Any nation that questions the sales legally can expect to be frozen out of the market, which is likely to cause a revolt among their people who prefer the international market of their local, inefficient markets. (In other words, it's a 'fixed' game with unfair rules.)

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

What sort of songs did they play and sing?

I don't know what they sing, but boy, oh, boy, do they ever play!

@philhebe

From reading this topic it appears there isn't a chance in hell in getting it published.

That's why God invented self-publishing (because he got tired of reading what he's told everyone over the years and wanted some better reading material).

Hell, back in the early 50's my father got a Masters in Church History and published a scathing paper about the Methodist Church, but got disillusioned when no publisher would even consider it. As a result, he lost the desire to ever write or publish anything ever again, but he remained a dedicated writer (letters, notes, sermons, etc.) for his entire life.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

The person I'm referring to was barred from using the Internet as part of the settlement.


And thus wasn't able to do anything about his website - what they ended up getting him on was the fact he had a link to another site that had child porn images on it.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Karen Fletcher, the woman behind Red Rose was sentenced to home confinement on a plea deal.


She was too ill to continue fighting it, so she cut a deal. All her porn was a way of releasing her anger at being treated that way as a child, more of a fictionalised versions of her early life, than anything else.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

That's why God invented self-publishing


God got really fed up with how his messages were so badly distorted by church leaders to increase their personal power.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


God got really fed up with how his messages were so badly distorted by church leaders to increase their personal power.


Not that would be a fun story to write: God, fed up with not being listened to, starts self-publishing (since there isn't a religious publisher who'll consider his works) fictional stories containing sex (after all, God must like sex since he based the entire world around it, right?), only to have the Christians of the world harass him with hate mail, not for his depictions of religion, but for his kinky, erotic sex scenes!

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Not that would be a fun story to write:


Well, keep watching, it's a part of a work in progress, except I have God getting fed up and helping someone to work for him fixing it up. Not sure when I'll get it finished.

Edit to add: he also tasks the guy with doing the usual "Go forth and multiply" to clean up the gene pool.

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