[LINK] Re: NYTimes... free speech with a twist...edit and be sued..
Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Sun Feb 29 14:49:42 EST 2004
It appears to now be necessary for learned journals to arrange their
publishing processes such that the place of publication is outside
that increasingly un-free country, the U.S.A.
Marcus Wigan <oxsys at optusnet.com.au> posted to the privacy list:
>Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 12:32:05 +1100
>To: <privacy at lists.efa.org.au>
>From: Marcus Wigan <oxsys at optusnet.com.au>
>Subject: NYTimes... free speech with a twist...edit and be sued..
>Treasury Department Is Warning Publishers of the Perils of Criminal
>Editing of the Enemy
>By ADAM LIPTAK
>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 - literally.
> 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
> 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
> "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
> 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.
> Lee Tien, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil
>liberties group, questioned the logic of making editors a target of
>broad regulations that require a government license.
> "There is no obvious reason why a license is required to edit where
>no license is required to publish," he said. "They can print
>anything as is. But they can't correct typos?"
> In theory - almost certainly only in theory - correcting
>typographical errors and performing other routine editing could
>subject publishers to fines of $500,000 and 10 years in jail.
> "Such activity," according to a September letter from the
>department's Office of Foreign Assets Control to the Institute of
>Electrical and Electronics Engineers, "would constitute the
>provision of prohibited services to Iran."
> Tara Bradshaw, a Treasury Department spokeswoman, confirmed the
>restrictions on manuscripts from Iran in a statement. Banned
>activities include, she wrote, "collaboration on and editing of the
>manuscripts, the selection of reviewers, and facilitation of a
>review resulting in substantive enhancements or alterations to the
> She did not respond to a request seeking an explanation of the
> Congress has tried to exempt "information or informational
>materials" from the nation's trade embargoes. Since 1988, it has
>prohibited the executive branch from interfering "directly or
>indirectly" with such trade. That exception is known as the Berman
>Amendment, after its sponsor, Representative Howard L. Berman, a
> Critics said the Treasury Department had long interpreted the
>amendment narrowly and grudgingly. Even so, Mr. Berman said, the
>recent letters were "a very bizarre interpretation."
> "It is directly contrary to the amendment and to the intent of the
>amendment," he said. "I also don't understand why it's not in our
>interest to get information into Iran."
> Kenneth R. Foster, a professor of bioengineering at the University
>of Pennsylvania, said the government had grown insistent on the
>editing ban. "Since 9/11 and since the Bush administration took
>office," he said, "the Treasury Department has been ramping up
> Publishers may still seek licenses from the government that would
>allow editing, but many First Amendment specialists said that was an
> "That's censorship," said Leon Friedman, a Hofstra law professor
>who sometimes represents PEN. "That's a prior restraint."
> Esther Allen, chairwoman of the PEN American Center's translation
>committee, said the rules would also appear to ban translations.
>"During the cold war, the idea was to let voices from behind the
>Iron Curtain be heard," she said. "Now that's called trading with
> In an internal legal analysis last month, the publishers'
>association found that the regulations "constitute a serious threat
>to the U.S. publishing community in general and to scholarly and
>scientific publishers in particular." Mr. Adler, the association's
>lawyer, said it was trying to persuade officials to alter the
>regulations and might file a legal challenge.
> These days, journals published by the engineering institute reject
>manuscripts from Iran that need extensive editing and run a
>disclaimer with those they accept, said Michael R. Lightner, the
>institute vice president responsible for publications. "It tells
>readers," he said, "that the article did not get the final polish we
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