DVD pirates hounded by canine detectors

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), express delivery company FedEx and HM Revenue and Customs have gone to the dogs. They have recruited two Labradors whose purpose is to track the scent of pirate DVDs entering the country.

The hounds are part of a worldwide project promoted by the Motion Picture Association of America in its bid to halt the global traffic in bootleg movies. The dogs had eight months training in learning to identify DVDs that may be hidden in boxes, envelopes or other packaging.

In 2005, FACT says it seized over two million pirate DVDs and the estimated profits from the practice is put at around £278 million.

For their first major live test, the Labradors Lucky and Flo were put to work at FedEx’s British hub at Stansted Airport. Apparently, they immediately sniffed out packages and parcels containing DVDs addressed to destinations in the UK. When the packages were opened by Customs and Excise it turned out that the DVDs found were legitimate copies but the proof of concept in a busy airport environment was good enough for the investigators.

‘This is the first time dogs have been used anywhere in the world to search for counterfeit DVDs and the results were amazing,’ said Raymond Leinster Director General of FACT.

Mary Callahan, Director Optical Disc Operations, Worldwide Anti-Piracy 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.’

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