Thursday, December 16, 2004

Good news:

Treasury Department Responds to Lawsuit by Changing Its Regulations to Permit the Publication of Books and Journals from Authors in Sanctioned Countries

In September 2004, publishers' and authors' organizations filed suit in federal court to strike down regulations of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control that effectively bar U.S. publishers from publishing books and journal articles originating in countries such as Iran, Cuba and Sudan that are subject to U.S. trade embargoes. Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian author and human rights activist, filed a related suit in late October. In response to the suits, OFAC issued new regulations today which explicitly permit Americans to engage in "all transactions necessary and ordinarily incident to the publishing and marketing of manuscripts, books, journals, and newspapers in paper or electronic format." This includes substantive editing and marketing of written materials, collaborations between authors, and the payment of advances and royalties....

The new regulations are here. This was an absurd application of the Trading with the Enemy Act -- as the notice quoted above goes on to say, "Even works written by Iranian and Cuban dissidents could not be published in the United States under the prior regulations." Not to mention such threats to the Republic as Cornell University's Field Guide to the Birds of Cuba.

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