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November 17, 2016

OFAC Issues Interpretive Guidance on “Publishing” Activities

On October 28, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued interpretive guidance on the “Publishing” general licenses (GLs) and certain exemptions found in the Iran, Cuba, Sudan, and Syria sanctions programs. The guidance provides, among other things, clarity on three main issues; specifically, that:

  1. Publishing activities engaged in with an individual employed by a sanctioned government but who is publishing in his or her own capacity (not as an official representative or on the behalf of a sanctioned government) is generally authorized under the Publishing GLs;
  2. Publishing activities engaged in by individuals employed by an academic or a research institution are generally authorized by the Publishing GLs even if the entity is considered an agency or instrumentality of a sanctioned government, if the primary function of the entity is research and/or teaching; and
  3. While certain types of peer review, style and copy-editing, and marketing services are outside the scope of the exemptions for information and informational materials found in the regulations governing the sanctions programs listed above, they may be authorized by the Publishing GLs. However, no sanctioned government, person acting or purporting to act on behalf of a sanctioned government with respect to the publishing transactions, nor a person blocked pursuant to a sanctions program that does not have a Publishing GL can be a party to the transaction.

A person seeking to use a Publishing GL for the activities described in the first and second points listed above must evaluate its applicability on a case-by-case basis, considering the circumstances.