A coalition of publishers' and authors' organizations sued the Department of Treasury yesterday (September 27) to force it to stop banning the American publication of works written by authors in four trade-embargoed countries.

The federal lawsuit filed in New York City asks for a temporary injunction against the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which regulates ongoing US embargoes against Iran, Cuba, Libya, and Sudan. The regulations violate the First Amendment and US law, publishers claim, because they require them to obtain government licenses before they can "substantively edit" manuscripts before publication.

(As of April 29, the regulations on Libya changed so that most activities are now legal, including performing services for Libyans and the Libyan government.)

Manuscripts from embargoed nations that need no editing can be published as is, because Americans haven't aided an embargoed country by improving them. Violators can potentially be fined up to $1 million...

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