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AAUP & Co-Plaintiffs Respond to Treasury Department Regulation Revisions

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

December 15, 2004: 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 revised regulations are "clearly a step in the right direction, permitting the broad range of publishing activities American publishers and authors must be free to pursue," according to Edward J. Davis and Linda Steinman of Davis Wright Tremaine, counsel to the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), the Association of American Publishers Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division (AAP/PSP), PEN American Center (PEN), and Arcade Publishing, the plaintiffs in the case. "We will continue to examine the regulations in detail, but it is plain that significant obstacles have been removed for American publishers and authors who want to work with authors in Cuba, Iran and Sudan. Works of critical importance to the advancement of science and our understanding of international affairs can now be published without threat of civil and criminal sanctions.Even works written by Iranian and Cuban dissidents could not be published in the United States under the prior regulations." 

For links to the relevant OFAC rulings and additional materials, read more here.

About the AAP/PSP
Members of the Professional/Scholarly Publishing (PSP) Division of the Association of American Publishers, Inc. (AAP) publish the vast majority of materials used in the U.S. by scholars and professionals in science, medicine, technology, business, law, reference, social science and the humanities. The Division's ( 182 professional societies, commercial publishers and university presses produce books, journals, computer software, databases and electronic products.

About the AAUP
The AAUP ( counts among its members 111 nonprofit scholarly publishers affiliated with research universities, scholarly societies, research institutions and museums located in 43 states. Collectively they publish around 10,000 books each year and over 700 journals in virtually every field of human knowledge.

About PEN American Center
PEN American Center is an organization of over 2,500 prominent novelists, poets, essayists, translators, playwrights, and editors. As part of International PEN, it and its affiliated organizations have defended free and open communication within and among nations for more than 80 years. The 2,500 PEN American Center ( members are a major voice of the national and international literary community.

About Arcade
Arcade Publishing, Inc. ( is an independent book publisher based in New York City. Founded in 1988, it publishes fiction and nonfiction by authors from around the world, including works by some of the most prominent authors of our time. Arcade is the publisher of the upcoming PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature.

About Counsel
Counsel to the plaintiffs: The New York office of Davis Wright Tremaine, with co-counsel for PEN American Center and Arcade, Marjorie Heins of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, and Leon Friedman of Hofstra Law School.

Media Inquiries:
Regan Colestock
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