F**k you, PayPal!

PayPal sent me their latest missive telling me I can’t keep/spend any of MY own, hard-earned money in my OWN PayPal account. Apparently, RBI guidelines indicate that I have to transfer that money to my bank account in India FIRST before I can spend it anywhere else.

WTF?!

Oh yeah, why would I need you then, PayPal? For a service that is entirely in the cloud, how can anyone claim jurisdiction/authority/taxes/etc?

The argument I am about to hear is that I am producing this content in (and from) a specific geographical region and sending it out to the world to consume. I am not selling anything to YOU. You are not buying anything from ME. When I write on my blog, my content is out there, in the cloud, available for anyone who wishes to see it.

In the age of the internet, especially the age of The Cloud, can anyone really say that a blog is from a specific geographical location, let alone a country? Why, then, should the laws of a country apply to it?

Furthermore, there’s the problem of ForEx charges. PayPal deducts a service fee on all International transactions – understandably so, I might add. So, my revenues are already down to ~95% And now, I am subject to the vagaries of the ever fluctuating ForEx market PLUS a standard ForEx transaction fee from my local bank (example: BoingBoing) which means my net revenue is further reduced!

In short, the only option left is to submit my bank account details for direct remittance which basically geographical-lizes (I know that ain’t even a word!) the earned revenue!

Why I opened a PayPal account

Short Answer: Because there was nothing else.

Long Answer: I started blogging in the early 2000s. Eventually, fascinated by web 2.0, I began blogging seriously @Corporate Spices. On a lark, I decided to sell a few ads and make some money off, half-hoping it would pay towards my hosting expenses. I chose PayPal because it was the easiest (and the only) method of accepting online payments from ad revenues, donations, etc.

Sure, their fees were a little high, but then when you are a monopoly you leave people with little choice, do you?

Why I WILL close my PayPal account

Short Answer: Because they are a bunch of spineless, penny-pinching cowards who couldn’t stand up for me and others like me.

Long Answer: I have no idea what beef PayPal has with the RBI and/or vice-versa. I have no academic knowledge of the FEMA and/or any other laws of the country that would apply in this context. I do understand and realize that there is no smoke without a fire; there has to be a cause for this effect to have happened. All I am relying on is something I was recently told by someone: “It is the spirit of the law, and not merely the letter, that we need to follow.”

The spirit of the law, as I believe, has (probably) to do with the money-laundering aspect of transactions. However, for netizens like us who use their talent online to earn and spend their revenues online, in the Cloud, does geographical location and territorial jurisdiction really apply?

How can we call ourselves a united global family if we continue to divide ourselves over various jurisdictions like these?

Honestly, I feel Julian Assange, Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij are doing a much better job of it. Can someone please hire them and do a little bit of organizational restructuring at PayPal, please?

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