Amazon—In Violation of Masha's Law?
After outrage and boycott threats by consumers, Amazon has pulled the controversial e-book "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure".
The online retail giant told CNBC Wednesday they would not take down the book citing the first amendment but some say the sale of this book was in direct violation of their own style "standards" of not selling pornographic content.
"This is not about free speech whether on the pedophile guide or the kiddie porn videos," said Maureen Flately, Child Advocate and advisor on Masha's Law. "It's about harm to kids and encouraging criminal activity. The book and images are de facto evidence of both criminal intent and criminal activity. By almost any objective standard, Amazon would be in violation of Masha's Law for harboring and distributing images of child pornography."
Masha's law is a federal statute that was introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) in 2007 and signed into law as part of the Adam Walsh Act of 2007 which increases the civil penalties for creating, distributing, downloading and possessing child pornography on the Internet.
The self-published book via Amazon Digital Services was published on Oct. 28th. On Wednesday, the book was number 65 in the top 100 paid best sellers on the Kindle store. Reviews against the material poured in on the website, close to 2,500 consumers voice their distaste and some said they would not buy from Amazon until the book was removed. Protests also filled Twitter and Facebook.
Children advocates are still outraged that the company made money on the publication, "To profit from the abuse and neglect of child victims is completely unacceptable and unforgivable. It is our hope that this newest outrage will give informed American’s a real opportunity to make an example of Amazon just in time for the holiday season," said Eva Montibello, Executive Director for Protect Mass Children.
Tim Boyd, Executive Director of Internet Research at MKM Partners said "This is a victory for traditional American morality. But this is also a good example of what any company that facilitates third party transactions face. There is a risk that goes along with doing this type of business. I'm certainly glad Amazon took down the material. Now the company can focus on getting back to business. They did the right thing."
So now the questions remains—what should Amazon do with the profits they made on this book?
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A Senior Talent Producer at CNBC, and author of "Thriving in the New Economy:Lessons from Today's Top Business Minds."