DVD-Sniffing Dogs

Status: Strange, but true
imageThe Press Association wire service is reporting that "Two black Labradors have become the world's first dogs to be trained to search for counterfeit DVDs." The two dogs, Lucky and Flo, were trained by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact). In their first assignment "Lucky and Flo were put to work at FedEx's UK hub at Stansted Airport in Essex where they immediately identified packages and parcels containing DVDs for destinations in the UK."

Okay, obviously these dogs can't have been trained to sniff out counterfeit DVDs specifically. Why would a counterfeit DVD smell any different than a regular DVD? But still, the idea of using dogs to sniff out DVDs at all seems absurd to me because I can think of many totally legal reasons why people would be shipping DVDs to each other.

I don't see any reason to believe this news isn't real. However, it doesn't seem to have been posted yet on Fact's website. [Update: it's now on their site.]

Animals Law/Police/Crime

Posted on Mon May 08, 2006


I imagine that if the dogs were restricted to only larger sized, commercial packages that were not labeled as DVD's they could be pretty effective....I mean, if the dog hits on a large shipment that is labeled as being "Agricultural Materials" then obviously it contains pirated DVD's.

As far as people sending each other legitmate DVD's, I don't think that small packages would be targeted, I think they are looking at large scale pirating operations.

Of course that's just my opinion on the subject and after all, it still may not even be true...though it seems plausible enough to me.
Posted by Chuck  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  10:35 AM
I'm trained to sniff out something: bullshit. This story reeks of it.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  02:28 PM
Actually, there is a difference. Except for rather large-scale pirate operations, counterfeit DVDs are usually burned instead of pressed. Pressing a DVD is not cost effective unless you are doing many thousands of copies.

A DVD-R has a different internal chemical makeup than a pressed DVD: It has dyes that are 'editable' by the burning laser. They are easy to differentiate under a microscope as well (same for CDs, and even records (which were bulk-made by pressing, but personally made by cutting)), or even by visual inspection if the burn doesn't fill the disc.

A dog trained to tell the difference between a pressed DVD and a burned DVD could be especially handy, if someone was shipping a large of a popular movie just released on DVD with apparent 'official' packaging.

Some info: http://www.digitalfaq.com/media/dvdmedia.htm
Posted by Splarka  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  02:34 PM
It just recently has been posted to FACT.
Posted by Citizen Premier  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  04:19 PM
Possible, but probably only realistically useful for large scale stuff. People probably send craplods of singular DVDs/CDs with legitimate burned data anyway.

Additionally, if somebody REALLY wanted to, they could easily thrawt this sort of protection. I assume that if they did check the smaller packages to see what the DVDs contained, they'd attempt to load them up on a computer to see what was there. If a person had reason to (ie hide a master copy of a pirated movie) they could quite easily encrypt the data to the point where without the decoder and required password, the data would look like a total mess.

It's a good idea for finding mass pirated DVD shipments, but apart from that, it probably doesn't have much use.
Posted by Soldant  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  08:14 PM
That has to be one of the most pointless ideas I've heard in a while...just X-Ray the damn post if you care that much.
Posted by Owen  on  Wed May 10, 2006  at  11:50 AM
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