BAGHDAD - RIAA spokesman Norman Normandy bitterly denounced the car bomb that destroyed an estimated $14,600 worth of DVDs and CDs Monday in a crowded market square.

A shattered copy of the Widescreen Farsi language version of 'Brokeback Mountain'"The loss of such high-quality intellectual property is devestating and those responsible for the bombing, obviously besides those who blew themselves up, should be brought to swift and final justice," said Normandy at his hastily prepared press conference aboard the U.S.S. Paris Hilton off the Iraqi coast.  "Not only will the artists suffer a direct financial loss from this bombing, but all the fine industry professionals who brought the products to market, all the way from recording engineers to film editors."  When asked for a reaction to the fact that the bombing also killed an estimated 100 people, Normandy was quick to point out that "collateral damage... is always regrettable."

Most of the entertainment was damaged beyond repair in the explosion, although an RIAA team did try to recover as many titles as possible.  Nearly 100 copies of "Saw 3," 21 copies of "Employee of the Month" with comedian Dane Cook, and 500 copies of Eminem's "Konvicted" were reported "salvaged" but in "still damaged" condition.  As many as 300 titles have been officially listed as "missing in action," prompting the RIAA to issue a statement reminding Iraqis that "any missing entertainment that remains playable" is still covered by international copyright law and therefore "considered stolen property." 

A 12 hour "don't ask-don't tell" amnesty period, during which citizens can pay for the stolen titles without having their hand chopped off, expires at midnight.  Thereafter, Iraqi police forces will conduct a series of hut-to-apartment raids with machetes.

This recent loss continues a trend that has already cost the American entertainment industry nearly $250,000 over the past fiscal quarter, leading some industry insiders to call for the immediate withdrawl of DVDs, CDs and all game console titles shipped into Iraq.  "It's simply too dangerous," said one insider on condition of anonymity.  "The economic climate [in Iraq] just won't support the types of profits we need.  That's just bad business."

Wall Street reacted negatively to the losses, but positively on the late morning announcement by Sony production executive Steve Stephens that his company will "immediately cease... sending any boxed entertainment into war torn regions."



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