MPAA goes to the dogs

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Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, told us today what a lot of us already feared: "The MPAA has gone to the dogs."

No, no, not the movies, but the MPAA's war on piracy. Glickman's gang has enlisted the help of a Northern Ireland dog team–Lucky and Flo in the picture–to show U.S. Customs, UPS, and FedEx officials how to sniff out pirated movies on CDs and DVDs. And apparently the government is listening. Trainer Neil Powell, who owns NarcoDogs of New Castle, Ireland, and pictured below with Lucky, demonstrated at MPAA HQ how the Irish Labs can smell the plastic CDs and DVDs in boxes.

No, they can't tell the difference between real and pirated disks–that's up to the authorities. But they are proving to be pretty good investigators.

"If this works out, we can expand it," said Glickman, a beagle owner and fan of the dog teams. MPAA says the theft of intellectual property in stuff like movies costs the world industry $18 billion yearly. And it's a big profit: Most movies are recorded in theaters with hand-held camcorders, put on disks for a few cents, and then sold at up to 10,000 times profit. The camcorder theft is so bad that MPAA has even set up a $500 reward program and website to fight it.