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Copyright police train sniffer dogs to find DVDs

Hounds still need to bone up on copyright law

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Piracy fighters at the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) have trained a pair of dogs to locate DVDs.

As part of a project promoted by the Motion Picture Ass. of America, FACT instigated the training of two black Labradors named Lucky and Flo. After eight months, the two canines were trained to identify DVDs among other items of cargo.

Lucky and Flo were put to put to the test at FedEx’s UK hub at Stansted Airport where they were successful in identifying packages and parcels containing DVDs. Customs officers who opened these packages discovered that all were legitimate shipments.

Sniffer dogs can normally be trained only to detect one illicit item, normally either explosive substances or drugs. You might be forgiven for thinking that the effort spent in teaching Lucky and Flo to detect DVDs would have been better spent elsewhere, especially when you consider that fake DVDs smell no different from legitimate items. Despite the dogs' failure to find any knock-off goods, FACT is acclaiming the initiative as a great success.

"This is the first time dogs have been used anywhere in the world to search for counterfeit DVDs and the results were amazing", gushed FACT director general Raymond Leinster. "With the cooperation and assistance of FedEx and Customs we were able to properly test the dogs in a real life situation and prove that they can work in a busy airport environment."

Mary Callahan, director optical disc operations, worldwide anti-piracy at the MPAA, added: "Lucky and Flo’s immediate success in locating DVDs in transit offers us a new and highly effective means of detection for counterfeit discs."

FACT's announcement of its initiative can be found here. ®

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