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[BKARTS] another scary regulation under post 9/11

You may have to take out a free membership at the NY Times to read this so I have appended the relevant material below...


Treasury Department Is Warning Publishers of the Perils of Criminal Editing
of the Enemy

Published: February 28, 2004

Writers often grumble about the criminal things editors do to their prose.
The federal government has recently weighed in on the same issue -
It has warned publishers they may face grave legal consequences for editing
manuscripts from Iran and other disfavored nations, on the ground that such
tinkering amounts to trading with the enemy.
Anyone who publishes material from a country under a trade embargo is
forbidden to reorder paragraphs or sentences, correct syntax or grammar, or
replace "inappropriate words," according to several advisory letters from
the Treasury Department in recent months.
Adding illustrations is prohibited, too. To the baffled dismay of
publishers, editors and translators who have been briefed about the policy,
only publication of "camera-ready copies of manuscripts" is allowed.
The Treasury letters concerned Iran. But the logic, experts said, would seem
to extend to Cuba, Libya, North Korea and other nations with which most
trade is banned without a government license.
Laws and regulations prohibiting trade with various nations have been
enforced for decades, generally applied to items like oil, wheat, nuclear
reactors and, sometimes, tourism. Applying them to grammar, spelling and
punctuation is an infuriating interpretation, several people in the
publishing industry said.
"It is against the principles of scholarship and freedom of expression, as
well as the interests of science, to require publishers to get U.S.
government permission to publish the works of scholars and researchers who
happen to live in countries with oppressive regimes," said Eric A. Swanson,
a senior vice president at John Wiley & Sons, which publishes scientific,
technical and medical books and journals.
Nahid Mozaffari, a scholar and editor specializing in literature from Iran,
called the implications staggering. "A story, a poem, an article on history,
archaeology, linguistics, engineering, physics, mathematics, or any other
area of knowledge cannot be translated, and even if submitted in English,
cannot be edited in the U.S.," she said.
"This means that the publication of the PEN Anthology of Contemporary
Persian Literature that I have been editing for the last three years," she
said, "would constitute aiding and abetting the enemy."
Allan Adler, a lawyer with the Association of American Publishers, said the
trade group was unaware of any prosecutions for criminal editing. But he
said the mere fact of the rules had scared some publishers into rejecting
works from Iran.

David Allen
Beddall Bookbinding Conservation & Restoration
840 Snowdrop Avenue
Victoria, British Columbia
(250) 888-9380

We are here on earth to do good for others. What the others are here for, I don't know.
     -Wystan Hugh Auden, 1907 - 1973

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