Sniffing Out DVDs in the Fight Against Piracy

Lucky and Flo i i

hide captionBlack Labradors Lucky, left, and Flo, were trained to find DVDs hidden in boxes, envelopes or other packaging.

R Leinster/FACT
Lucky and Flo

Black Labradors Lucky, left, and Flo, were trained to find DVDs hidden in boxes, envelopes or other packaging.

R Leinster/FACT
Lucky sniffs packages during a test at FedEx's hub at Stansted Airport. i i

hide captionLucky sniffs packages during a test at FedEx's hub at Stansted Airport, northeast of London.

R Leinster/FACT
Lucky sniffs packages during a test at FedEx's hub at Stansted Airport.

Lucky sniffs packages during a test at FedEx's hub at Stansted Airport, northeast of London.

R Leinster/FACT

Sniffer dogs have long been used to spot hidden explosives and drugs, so why not DVDs? That's the theory being put to the test by the Motion Picture Association of America and the U.K.-based Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

In a recent test at a U.K. airport FedEx facility, two black Labradors named Lucky and Flo were 100 percent successful in finding DVDs in packages, says Raymond Leinster, director general of FACT.

The dogs don't differentiate between pirated DVDs and legitimate ones. They do sniff out discs' the polycarbonates, lacquers and resins — smells that humans can't discern.

When the dogs succeed in locating the discs — indicate by wagging tails and other signs of excitement — their reward is a soggy tennis ball.

The groups hope to use dogs to curb sales of pirated movies, which cost the movie industry billions of dollars each year.

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