Why Clean Reader Doesn’t Work

Update: Apparently I was mistaken about how Clean Reader works. On its mild filter, it masks profanity, but on the most conservative setting, it REPLACES dirty words with ‘clean’ versions. Oh yeah, that’s so much better! (Insert sarcasm font here.) Cnet.com has more details.

But the good news is that Clean Reader has stopped selling books due to immense internet pressure from authors. I still want to see them taken to court and their product ruled a copyright violation. That will probably take time, but at least they no longer have altered books to profit from.


Trashy gets cleaned. Or not.

No Profanity 3x3Clean Reader is an app that censors all the profanity in ebooks. I looked it in the app store, and the reviewers who love it claim it does what it’s supposed to. But I think these users are kidding themselves. Dirty is all about context, and apps don’t understand context. I once sent an email to a company and had it blocked because it contained the word virgin, but I’d actually written Virgin Islands.

To demonstrate my point, I took an excerpt from Their Twisted Love – The Twisted Mosaic, Book 2, and ‘cleaned’ it as the Clean Reader might:


He stepped back and held his hand out. “Come on.”

I shook my head and pulled my blouse closed.

Then he moved in for the kill, placing his arms on either side of me, leaning in close, but not touching, his words hot in my ear. “I’ll take you out in the open air, the warm sun, and strip you in broad daylight. Imagine that. You’ll have to brace yourself on the railing while I eat your *****. Probably have to drape one leg over my shoulder so I can lick everything… all those juicy pink bits. If your room is on the second floor, bystanders would have a great view. From the building across the street, from the sidewalk, or from right below. Someone could stand under us, look up and see everything. My tongue on your ****. Your juices streaming down your thighs.”

Heat washed over me, trickling down between my breasts and pooling between my legs. I panted and tugged on his jacket, trying to force him against me, but he wouldn’t move. “Tell me more.”

“Everyone will hear you—and see you come. And then I’ll turn you around and display your naked, flushed body to the whole **** city while I **** you from behind. Hold on to that railing tight, Sweetheart. They’ll watch my **** pound your *****. Spread your legs so they can see.”

Oh that’s hot. My feet slid apart as far as my tight skirt allowed. His chest rose and fell slow and steady, teasing mine. I dug my fingers into his ***, but he still wouldn’t touch me. My body ached for him, and he laughed while I groaned and pulled. ******* knew exactly what he was doing to me.

He moaned in my ear, his voice rough. “I’ll grab your hair and make you stand straight up. You’ll wrap your arms around my neck and show off those sexy breasts. So ******* pretty… pretty when you’re getting ******. That’s why we shared you.”

Sharing me. Oh God. That triggered memories: two pairs of hands, two mouths, two ***** dividing my body between them. A single spark lit, sizzling down my spine like a fuse. ******* is going to make me come—in public!

“That’s it, ****. Show us how much you love it.”


Does that sound clean to you? I didn’t think so. Even with the dirty words masked, the meaning is quite clear, and the mind fills in those ******* asterisks with something. (How many of you put the word fucking in there?)

Clean Reader is nothing more than a copyright violation. Publishers and editors can’t alter a book without the author’s consent. Clean Reader never asked for anyone’s consent, and I find that more profane than a lot of swear words. I won’t censor my characters, and I’m offended that this app thinks it can.

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  1. Paula Davis Perkins

    March 27, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Go get ’em, Amelia! I wonder if the person(s) who designed this thought they were doing others a favor, but as you pointed out so well, it just gets rid of the words, but not the context. I would not have used this app anyway. I like the Trashy books!

    • It designed by an ultra-religious couple whose child complained about a swear word she read in a book at school. I understand wanting to protect your children, but when you hide things from them, they only want to know more about it. When I was in grade school, my mom wouldn’t let me listen to rock music (80s stuff), and it’s all I listen to know. They would’ve been better off teaching their child why the word offended them instead of keeping it a big dirty secret.

  2. Reblogged this on White's Wyrd World and commented:
    I agree 100% with this post. I see by the FAQ they claim this is fully legal according to their team, but I really don’t see how it can be. I don’t care if they’re not making changes to an original file, they’re still changing an author’s work. How many plagiarists make their changes to the original file? I’d guess very few, if any, so how is it different that they just overlay words or white them out?

    • When I wrote this post, I thought the app only masked the words, but I found out today that it actually changes them. That’s got to be a copyright violation.

      • Yeah, hopefully this will be the end of it. I’d like to see some people bring a copyright action against them to discourage them from trying again later, or someone else doing it. Even if it masked the words only, it seems like a violation because it’s still altering the work by hiding words.

  3. Reblogged this on The BiaLog and commented:
    I’m against any censorship, but in all honesty, how is this legal? Last time I checked, plagiarists don’t alter the original document either. Just saying.

    • I’m hoping it’ll get taken to court and proven illegal. It looks like an apparent copyright violation, but sometimes these things need defining.

      • Totally agree. I figure they picked and chose which lawyers to defend them, if they have any. It really seems clear cut law wise, but they really need a serious class action against them to send the message home.

  4. Read about this on another blog and it really irked me. Yes, it has to be illegal, but with this push for religious fanaticism lately, I wonder if it will actually be labeled as illegal. If not, I wonder if placing a “Do Not Tamper” warning against them on the licensing page might be legal enough to make them stay away. Any lawyers out there?

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