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Chief executive for the Recording Industry Association of America, Hilary Rosen, is helping draft copyright legislation for the New Iraq, according to investigative journalist Gregory Palast.

"Who's really going to win this war? It looks like Madonna," Palast told Democracy Now radio. "Where before, they feared Saddam Hussein, now they have to fear Sony Records will chop off their hands if they bootleg a Madonna album."

Under Iraqi copyright legislation, passed by The Revolution Leadership Council in 1971, a copyright lapses 25 years after the death of the author, but no more then fifty years after the publication of the work. It's shorter for private works, and there are several public interest exemptions.

We wonder which member of The Revolution Leadership Council penned this, or whether someone wrote it for them, but the real author of this enlightened document ought to step forward. Maybe they could help liberate the USA - which extended copyright to seventy years after the author's death - from Hollywood.

(Do we sense a campaign coming on?)

But if true, and Palast has a good record for trade politics, Rosen's dash for Baghdad isn't hard to explain.

Iraq does not have a reciprocal copyright agreement with the United States, which means that US works are not protected.

Hilary will almost certainly be setting to work on the current law's Article 13:- "The author may not prevent a person making one copy of a published work for his own use."

And she will want to stiffen the penalties for infringement:- one hundred dinars, or three hundred for repeat offenders. Maybe she will shoot for something closer to the $97 trillion the RIAA has claimed as damages from the file-sharing students back in the Homeland.

With the effective collapse of the UN's food program, it's nice to see Rosen's humanitarian impulses remain untarnished by war.

A month ago Congressman Darrell Issa (R., San Diego) introduced a bill ensuring that Qualcomm, based in his congressional district, be given a foothold in the New Iraq. Europe and the Middle East use the global GSM standard. ®

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