JEANNINE AVERSA | Associated Press Writer
American publishers are free to engage in publishing activities with people in Cuba, Iran and Sudan without fear of violating U.S. economic penalties against those countries, the Bush administration said Wednesday.
The Treasury Department’s office that enforces embargoes against those countries issued a rule that lists the permissible activities related to the publishing and marketing of manuscripts, books, journals and newspapers in paper or electronic form.
U.S. publishers do not need U.S. government permission to go ahead with such ventures, the department said.
“Persons engaged in activities authorized ... can do so without seeking permission” from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, said the office’s director, Robert Werner.
Such activities include collaborating on the creation of publications; adding photographs, artwork, translations and explanatory material to a publication; making substantive edits; creating marketing campaigns; and making advance payments and paying royalties.
“This is a victory for freedom of speech,” said Marc Brodsky, executive director of the American Institute of Physics and chairman of the Association of American Publishers’ professional and scholarly publishing division.
The requirement to seek government permission had scared off publishers interested in pursuing these activities, Brodsky said.
A group including the association’s professional and scholarly publishing division in September filed a lawsuit in a federal court in New York seeking to strike down the restrictions.
Brodsky believed the threat of litigation spurred the Treasury Department to issue the regulations Wednesday. But department officials said they had been considering the changes for some time.
Brodsky said the plaintiffs are now considering withdrawing the suit.
The old rules were “interpreted by some as discouraging the publication of dissident speech from within these oppressive regimes. That is the opposite of what we want,” said Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department’s under secretary for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
U.S. publishers, however, still are restricted in their dealings with the governments of these countries, government officials and people acting on behalf of the governments.
In addition, publishers wanting to operate a publishing house, sales or other office in the three countries would need get permission from the U.S. government. The same goes for transactions involving the development, production, design and marketing of software.
From OFAC: FROM THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
December 15, 2004
Treasury Issues General License for Publishing Activities
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today issued a new rule clarifying the extent to which publishing activities with persons in Cuba, Iran and Sudan are authorized, notwithstanding the U.S. embargoes against those countries. Today’s action addresses a series of issues that have come to the attention of the Treasury during the past year.
“OFAC’s previous guidance was interpreted by some as discouraging the publication of dissident speech from within these oppressive regimes. That is the opposite of what we want,” said Stuart Levey, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI). “This new policy will ensure those dissident voices and others will be heard without undermining our sanctions policy.”
The new rule enables U.S. persons to freely engage in most ordinary publishing activities with persons in Cuba, Iran and Sudan, while maintaining restrictions on certain interactions with the governments, government officials, and people acting on behalf of the governments of those countries. The rule entails the issuance of general licenses in the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR part 515, the Iranian Transactions Regulations, 31 CFR part 560, and the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 538.
“Persons engaging in the activities authorized in the general licenses can do so without seeking permission from OFAC,” said OFAC Director Robert Werner. “This rule provides clarity and promotes important policies aimed at the free exchange of ideas without undermining the national security objectives of these country sanctions.”
Iran, Sudan, and Cuba are subject to U.S. sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA) based on the threat they pose to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.
IEEPA and TWEA give the president the authority to impose sanctions in times of war or national emergency. These statutes are critical to U.S. interests with respect to dangerous regimes, terrorists, narcotics traffickers and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Embargoes established under IEEPA and TWEA often prohibit persons under U.S. jurisdiction from providing goods or services to persons in sanctioned countries, unless authorized by OFAC.
Economic sanctions against foreign states and groups whose actions pose significant threats to the United States are an integral part of our overall national security policy. OFAC is charged with implementing and administering the U.S. Government’s economic sanctions programs to effectively put pressure on those posing such threats, while promoting real and positive change.
A copy of the rule submitted to the Federal Register
ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PRESSES;
PROFESSIONAL/SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING DIVISION of THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN PUBLISHERS, INC.;
PEN AMERICAN CENTER, INC.; AND
ARCADE PUBLISHING, INC.;
THE OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY;
JOHN W. SNOW, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, in his official capacity;
and R. RICHARD NEWCOMB, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL, in his official capacity