October 1-15, 2004 Edition

AAP Joins and Others Sue

Treasury Department Over

Economic Powers Act

WASHINGTON, D.C./09/27/04—Four publishing organizations have filed a law suit in New York’s U.S. District Court which would bar the Treasury Department from enforcing some sections of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, according to Publishers Weekly.

The act enables the president to place sanctions on countries which threaten national security. The plaintiffs claim that although an amendment okayed by Congress excludes some published information from the Act, the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has used certain sections of the law to prohibit publishers from publishing materials from foreign writers.

The suit was filed by the Association of American University Presses, the Professional and Scholarly division of Association of American Publishers, PEN American Center and Arcade Publishing. The group wants the Treasury Department to stop enforcing sections of the Act which prohibit publishers from releasing works by certain embargoed countries. Some proponents of the suit charge that the Act is a violation of First Amendment rights.

The Act has been in place since 1977, but the plaintiffs say the OFAC has only begun in the last several years to prohibit publishers from working with authors in embargoed nations without a special license.