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Last Updated: Friday, 16 March 2007, 07:05 GMT
Dogs sniffing out pirate copies
Lucky and Flo
Lucky and Flo are joining the fight against DVD piracy
Two dogs trained in Northern Ireland are getting a break in the movie business, by sniffing out pirates.

Female black Labradors, Flo and Lucky, are being used by the authorities in Malaysia in the battle against music and film rip-offs.

They are believed to be the first dogs in the world trained to sniff the chemicals used to make optical disks.

They can lead handlers to disks labelled as other items, but cannot tell which are real and which are fake.

The month-long trial has seen the talented dogs move from Belfast into Kuala Lumpur.

The three-year-old animals - trained by a handler in Northern Ireland who usually teaches dogs to find bombs - can find, but cannot distinguish between, CDs and DVDs, burned and replicated disks, or legitimate and pirate disks.

The dogs take only 10 minutes to check boxes that security officials would have needed a day to examine.

"It's cost-effective, and in terms of time, it's very effective too," said Domestic Trade Minister Shafie Apdal, said.

Jacuzzi

The trial is a joint effort of the Malaysian authorities and the Motion Picture Association, which groups six major Hollywood movie companies and has spent US $17,000 on training the dogs.

Mike Ellis from the MPA said Labradors had a great aptitude for the work and were selected for their potential.

"They have been well trained to specifically smell the unique chemicals that go into polycarbonates and the solvents that glue the DVDs together and they are very very effective at doing that," he said.

He said the scale of piracy across the world was enormous and that the dogs could also be used to track down warehouses and stores.

The change in weather from a brisk spring in Northern Ireland has been a shock for the dogs, but they are acclimatising to their new working environment.

Mr Ellis said the dogs were getting some film star treatment themselves. They are being put up in five star animal accommodation, which includes a jacuzzi to help them cool down after a hard day of hot footing it after DVD pirates.


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