Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » OT: ADD ONE, TAKE ONE AWAY

    Filed at 5:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Just as the Bush Administration is seeking to add the FMA to the Constitution, the Justice Department has apparently decided we don’t need the First Amendment anymore.

    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.

    …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.”

    …Publishers may still seek licenses from the government that would allow editing, but many First Amendment specialists said that was an unacceptable alternative.

    A license to publish??? God help us.

    2 Responses to “OT: ADD ONE, TAKE ONE AWAY”

    Comment by
    Skip Oliva
    February 28th, 2004
    at 10:21 am

    The Justice Department (and the FTC) already restricts domestic speech through the antitrust laws. Remember, it’s a crime for two competitors to sit down and talk about prices in many contexts, even if no “anti-competitive” action results.

    Take physicians (my favorite example). If two doctors with separate practices sit down to talk about their individual contracts with the same insurer–i.e., “I think Aetna is reimbursing me too little for procedure X”, that’s a *criminal* antitrust violation under current government policy. Yet interestingly, when teacher unions stage fake sickouts to protest some policy they don’t like, that behavior is wholly exempt from the antitrust laws under the labor exemption.

    Comment by
    Deb Meissner
    November 20th, 2004
    at 4:49 pm

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