20070824

pirate-DVD nabbing dogs

Malaysia awards medals to pirate-DVD nabbing dogs
Reuters
Published on ZDNet News: Aug 20, 2007 9:35:00 AM

http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-6203411.html?tag=nl.e550

Two dogs trained to sniff out DVDs received medals from the Malaysian
government on Monday for a five-month campaign that crippled movie
pirates.

Lucky and Flo, black Labradors trained to detect the chemicals used in
making DVDs, were the first animals to receive the outstanding service
awards for finding discs stockpiled by pirates, the Motion Picture
Association said in a statement.

The canine campaign led to 26 arrests and seizures of illegal discs
worth more than $6 million.

"The dogs have proven to be a major asset in our fight against the
pirates, and we intend to continue what Lucky and Flo have set in
motion," S Veerasingam, Malaysia's deputy minister for domestic trade
and consumer affairs, said in the statement.

Malaysia, which figures on a U.S. watchlist on piracy, has
dramatically stepped up efforts to rein in copyright pirates as it
negotiates a free-trade pact with Washington.

The success of Lucky and Flo has prompted the ministry to set up its
own canine unit to fight the pirates, and the MPA, which arranged for
their trial by Malaysian officials, plans to donate two new dogs to
the unit by the end of the year.

Movie pirates even put a bounty of 100,000 ringgit ($28,560) on Lucky
and Flo after they busted a fake DVD ring in the southern Johor state
in March, the MPA said. Since then, the dogs have been closely
guarded.

Lucky and Flo's next stop on their crime-fighting tour is a visit to
New York, followed by a trip to Toronto for an appearance at a film
festival, said the MPA, which groups six major Hollywood film
companies.

The MPA groups Walt Disney's Buena Vista; Paramount Pictures, a unit
of Viacom; Sony Pictures, a unit of Sony; Twentieth Century Fox, a
unit of News Corp.; Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric's
NBC Universal; and Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner.

The group estimates that copyright theft cost its members about $1.2
billion in lost revenue in the Asia-Pacific region last year, with
annual worldwide losses of $6 billion.