OFAC Censorship Update
This morning, members of the American Literary Translators Association received a message from ALTA president David Ball with more information on the Office of Foreign Assets Control's policy with regard to the publication of written works from countries under the trade embargo. Since intellectual property is exempt from the embargo, the OFAC restrictions (including the threat of prison time and fines) are actually unconstitutional. This year alone, the publication of eight translations has been cancelled or postponed due to the risks involved.
"In the face of such persistence in blind repression, PEN, the Association of American Publishers Professional and Scholarly Publishing division, the Association of American University Presses and Arcade Publishing are asking the Federal court to strike down OFAC regulations that require publishers and authors to seek a license from the government to perform the routine activities necessary to publish literature from embargoed countries.It's times like these when the free circulation of information and ideas is crucial, especially with suppressed and critical voices needing to be heard. It shouldn't matter where those voices come from. Authors, translators, publishers, and editors shouldn't have to fear repression. Write a letter.
There are things all of us can do to help this suit. Judges do not render their decisions in a vacuum, nor are they immune to public opinion. The more public outcry there is about this affair the better. I urge you to write your representatives in Congress, in the Senate, and your local newspaper: tell them how important this is for you and for all of us."