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MPAA Lets the Dogs Out

27 Sep, 2006 By: Holly J. Wagner

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has a bone to pick with movie pirates, and the newest weapon is DVD-sniffing dogs.

Black Labradors Lucky and Flo made their debut Sept. 20 at a Washington, D.C., coming out event. The pair were specially trained in Ireland — at a cost of $9,000 each — to sniff out the polycarbonates and other chemicals in software discs.

They can't distinguish between legitimate and pirated discs, but an MPAA spokesperson said they will focus on finding discs that are not on cargo manifests, since legitimate shipments are registered.

Their first major live test came in June, working with HM Revenue and Customs and FedEx at Stansted Airport in the United Kingdom. They successfully identified packages containing DVDs and even small amounts of product in very large containers, according to the MPAA, and was the first time dogs were used anywhere in the world to search for DVDs.

The MPAA is taking Lucky and Flo on tour to Los Angeles, then back to the U.K. and on to Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai for demonstrations. The hope is that agencies will buy disc-sniffing dogs of their own.

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