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Anti-Piracy Dog Uncovers Huge Cache of Discs 283

Posted by samzenpus
from the follow-your-nose dept.
sgt scrub writes "I've never thought about sniffing my CDs before buying them but that is all about to change. According to this Yahoo! news article, dogs can be trained to tell the difference between a legit copy of a DVD and one from those pesky pirates. From the article, 'A DVD-sniffing anti-piracy dog named Paddy has uncovered a huge cache of 35,000 discs in Malaysian warehouses, many destined for export to Singapore, industry officials said on Wednesday. Paddy was given to Malaysia by the MPA to help close down piracy syndicates, which churn out vast quantities of illegal DVDs. The dog is specially trained to detect chemicals in the discs.'" We ran a story about anti-piracy dogs being trained in Ireland a few years ago.

*

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Anti-Piracy Dog Uncovers Huge Cache of Discs

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  • Dear Slashdot, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:41PM (#28214649)
    +----------+
    | FIX YOUR |
    |  FUCKIN' |
    |   CODE   |
    +----------+
        |  |
        |  |
      .\|.||/..
  • Steak. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:43PM (#28214673)

    I plan to coat all of my real DVD's in steak, that should distract 'em!

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:43PM (#28214679)

    So the dog go off on any dvd-r so it will go off even on blank disks?

    How about just data only disks with no movies on them?

    • by cjfs (1253208) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:47PM (#28214731) Homepage Journal

      How about just data only disks with no movies on them?

      Well, the title says "Anti-Piracy Dog" so it must have a means of smelling the contents of the disk. Given most movies lately, I don't envy it.

      • Wait, so if it's an anti-piracy dog, can it go "Arrrf"?

        Does it like sniffing arrrses like most dogs?
      • But can they smell it if you encrypt the contents? HA!
      • 35,000 is not "huge" (Score:5, Informative)

        by Lev13than (581686) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @05:32PM (#28215979) Homepage
        Well, the title says "Anti-Piracy Dog" so it must have a means of smelling the contents of the disk

        That's not the only thing misleading about the title - 35,000 is not exactly a "huge" number of discs.

        According to Amazon, a 10-pack of slim-line discs measures 3x6x5 inches. That's 90sqin, or 9sqin per disk. Multiply by 35,000, and you get 315,000sqin. Sounds like a lot, but that's only 180 square feet. The entire stash would sit neatly on two pallets (stacked 6.5' high) or in 1/15 of a standard shipping container.

        The same number of disks stored on 100-pack spindles would fit in a 4'x4'x3' stack, or slightly more than the cargo area of a Yaris. So, kudos to the dog for finding such a small target but deduct points for the overly-enthusiastic headline.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anachragnome (1008495)

        Is anyone else besides me beginning to get the feeling that someone has figured out that if you teach a dog to go to where you direct it, with subtle, barely perceptible signals only noticeable by a dog, and just pretend that the dog did it on their own, that nobody ever questions that?

        Is this just another way around a search warrant?

        IANAL (obviously!), so can someone that IS please clue us in? Does a DOG need a search warrant, and if not, WHY not? How is evidence that is found by a dog, but not under a sea

    • by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:50PM (#28214783) Journal

      I doubt there's any difference in the type of polycarbonate used for pirated DVDs versus legitimate ones.... Chances are, they are trained to smell a significant concentration of any optical media in a single place. If they smell a trace of polycarbonate, e.g. a dozen DVDs, that's not suspicious. If they smell 35,000 of the things and the warehouse isn't a disc manufacturing company, a computer company, or a computer/movie/music store, such a high concentration of media in one place screams "professional pirates"....

      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:57PM (#28214871) Journal

        I was going to post this exact thing, but I thought, what the heck? It's so obvious, someone must have beaten me too it. I'm surprised I had to scroll down this far to find common sense. And before you ask, no, I'm not new here.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by westlake (615356)

          And before you ask, no, I'm not new here.

          1352. You know he hasn't read the RTFA. You know he hasn't read the summary. The comments. Now you know - from someone who should know - that the true Slashdotter doesn't even know the elders hereabouts! The truly primal geeks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MoonBuggy (611105)

        That sounds like the most plausible option. If you read the BBC article from the older story it's very clear that they couldn't tell the difference between burned and pressed discs (which I found a little surprising, actually, with all the chemicals in the dye of DVD-Rs) and even if they have improved on their training since then, I wouldn't expect 35,000 discs to be burned anyway.

        Like you said, I'm assuming they went sniffing around the warehouse marked "Completely Legal Food Co." and found that the crates

      • My guess is that it isn't the polycarbonate (which is common enough that the dogs would be in a constant frenzy), but rather the chemicals used in the dyes in burnable media (cyanide compounds, IIRC) which are aren't present in stamped media.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dgatwood (11270)

          A lot of mass-pirated discs are stamped media. Sniffing for DVD-Rs might catch the small-time pirates---maybe even the medium ones---but those folks aren't likely to be storing tens of thousands of discs for sale; they're likely burning a few dozen copies of each title per week in the back room of their home or business. If you're talking about a cache of 35,000 discs, I suspect you're almost certainly well into the stamped media large-scale commercial pirate territory.

      • by nabsltd (1313397) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:06PM (#28214975)

        If they smell 35,000 of the things and the warehouse isn't a disc manufacturing company, a computer company, or a computer/movie/music store, such a high concentration of media in one place screams "professional pirates"

        The last place I worked, we had an 8-tray DVD duplicator/printer, and bought blank disks in palette loads, and we weren't any of the types of companies that you listed, although we did use computers a lot (as do most places these days).

        We used them entirely for distributing content that either we had personally created or that clients gave us the rights to duplicate for them. Some of the content was commecials that you've probably seen on TV, and some was computer programs written in-house.

        Maybe today we'd go with a commercial duplicator, but back then you could get a 100 copy run at all (or at least not for less than extortionate prices).

      • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:11PM (#28215025)

        As opposed to me buying a shipment of, say, 500 Taiyo Yuden DVD+r's so that I'm set for my monthly backup regimen?

        Please.

        "We got a dog that smells something that we usually associate with the smell of something that might be in some way be used to commit a crime."

        Bullshit. You got the same quality dog as the fucking "drug sniffing" dog that tore apart my luggage in O'Hare because I'd packed (nicely sealed up and everything) a box of frozen bratwurst with a 24-hour gelpack block to bring home as a gift to my roommate. I suppose I COULD be meaning to bludgeon him to death with frozen bratwurst, but I really doubt it.

        This sort of "search" crap is beyond stupid. Either search something, or don't, but don't pretend that your "search dog", who in his/her downtime has hobbies that include sniffing and licking his/her own genitalia, is justification for doing so.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hognoxious (631665)

          You got the same quality dog as the fucking "drug sniffing" dog that tore apart my luggage in O'Hare

          If the dog doesn't bark nothing happens. If the dog barks and there is something, he gets a reward. If the dog barks and there isn't something, he doesn't get his bastard balls hit repeatedly with a bamboo stick.

          You don't have to be John Nash to predict what muttley's going to do.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Chris Burke (6130)

          This sort of "search" crap is beyond stupid. Either search something, or don't, but don't pretend that your "search dog", who in his/her downtime has hobbies that include sniffing and licking his/her own genitalia, is justification for doing so.

          Look I get what you're saying and I agree with your point, but that's no reason to hate on some perfectly fine hobbies. They aren't my hobbies, though they would be if I was more flexible. And if the police officer who conducted the search with a legitimate warrant

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by meerling (1487879)
          I know of 2 drug dogs the USAF had that were 'retired' because of false positives.

          One was a chocoholic and would alert on anything that had chocolate.

          The other was a lunchgut that would alert on anything with food when he got hungry.
      • by syousef (465911)

        I don't know about that. Perhaps the dog's just trained to smell permanent marker. Some of those fake DVDs aren't all that high quality ;-)

      • Why don't they train these dogs to hunt down some REAL pirates.

        Oh, I forgot, THOSE [nation.co.ke] they just capture, then release!

        Damn, governments are stupid....

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hurfy (735314)

        sigh

        "such a high concentration of media in one place screams "professional pirates"...."

        That and the fact that at least some of the titles are not even out on DVD yet might be another clue....

        And despite our summary (if jumping to conclusions was an olympic sport...every country would be trying to recruit us...) the Yahoo article does not indicate if the dog can tell a burned DVD from a pressed one. Look at the shipping papers... go from there. Not exactly complicated at that point even for a lowly cop.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      So the dog go off on any dvd-r so it will go off even on blank disks?

      How about just data only disks with no movies on them?

      It wouldn't surprise me that "burned" DVD-R have a slightly different smell than a normal one, something that a dog can detect.

      OTOH, I would think big time pirate would just professionally "press" a dvd rather than burning them? No clue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Mister Whirly (964219)
      They are trained to smell Sharpie pen ink. So don't label your DVD rips!
    • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:21PM (#28215141)

      It's the parrot crap they smell. It has nothing to do with the actual disks. They just don't want the pirates to know, so that they won't de-parrot the disks.

    • by bitt3n (941736)
      I've heard that cocaine traffickers screw with drug dogs using capsicum powder. maybe the same thing would work here using copies of Gigli.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...to scare the kids.

  • So.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:44PM (#28214687)
    So apparently recording agencies are able to do anything except record good music. They can bribe judges, hire lawyers, buy congress, complain, make commercials and now train dogs. You would think that with all this money they could come up with a working business model other then abusing the legal system.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by i kan reed (749298)
      If the problem were seriously bad music would be people be pirating it. That is the worst possible justification of piracy ever. Besides these are people selling fraudulent copies. Real album covers, real stores, real money. Their goal is to make money off of work they did not create. It's slimy and evil, and they have no sympathy from me.
      • The problem isn't "bad" music but rather "fad" music (which, indecently usually sounds horrible) artists that are "cool" today and then tomorrow you wouldn't be caught dead with their CD. Because of that, people want cheap music to fill up their iPods and CD collections. Even $.99 is too much for some people for a song they might listen to only a few times.

        Sure, we can all agree that this occasion was good because they were making a profit, but how much longer till it starts targeting the average person
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      I'm not saying I don't have any illegitimate copies of software/movies/music, but I also don't try to pretend that having these objects is completely ok. If you don't like the way their business model is run, the only right way to protest it is to not consume the media in any way. If you pirate it, you are basically saying that the product is worth something to you, but that you don't want to pay the price they are asking for it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        Sure, the only right way to protest it is to not buy things and I usually avoid RIAA-based labels with a passion and only buy them if they are a unique band that I want to hear the style more in more artists (Such as Nightwish), I only really listen to RIAA labels on YouTube or internet radio and don't download them over P2P, that said I believe that its a fundamental right of technology to make backups and within reason to download things for non-commercial use. Sure, the current legal system disagrees but
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          While the following fact doesn't justify the high prices, giving money "directly to the band" does skip paying people who worked on other aspects of the music (promoting, recording, etc.). It seems to be a trend on /. to ignore that fact, and to assume that money goes to only the RIAA and a teensy part to the artist... which really isn't true. Some bands wouldn't be known at all if it weren't for these other people.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kaiser423 (828989)
      who says that abusing the legal system isn't a viable business model? Lots do it.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      You would think that with all this money they could come up with a working business model other then abusing the legal system.

      Why would they?

      As you observed, they can already "bribe judges, hire lawyers, buy congress, complain, make commercials and now train dogs" -- why change your business model when you can do all of that to prop up the one you have?

      Cheers

    • Commercial music is designed for easy marketability, like most other consumer products. Examples :

      (1) Apples exist in numerous different varieties all over the wold. We don't eat the best tasting ones, not by far, we eat the ones that still look red after being shipped.

      (2) Potato chip companies made chips without added sugar for years because taste tests shows people preferred potato chips without sugar. But then some clever bastard noticed that people eat more chips if they add sugar. So now they ignor

    • by Jartan (219704)

      You can hardly blame them for trying to stop people making actual physical copies for illegal resale. I'm all for bashing them for their evils but training a dog to sniff out optical media isn't exactly something from the Dr Evil pet tricks handbook.

  • Who knew... (Score:5, Funny)

    by megamerican (1073936) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:44PM (#28214689)

    Who knew that the evil bit had a smell?

  • DVD smell (Score:4, Funny)

    by gnick (1211984) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:44PM (#28214693) Homepage

    On the rare occasion that a pirated DVD winds up in my house, the smell is very distinctive pretty quickly.

    Mainly because it spins once as fast as it can be ripped and then stinks of burned plastic when it comes out of the microwave.

    That dog would have no problem finding my house.

  • by teac77 (1152415)
    Just keep the dog away from my "backups".
    • by emilper (826945)

      Not funny ... I am sitting on ten years' worth of backups, would not want to have the dogs barking at my door then the police browse each CD or DVD to try find copyrighted material.

  • Water Marks (Score:3, Funny)

    by mseeger (40923) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:46PM (#28214713)
    Hi,

    Has probably something to do with detecting watermarks.... At least they're fond to set new "watermarks" everywhere.

    Yours, Martin
  • Does anyone have information on how the dog distinguishes between the CDs physically? I would assume that there is some chemical difference in the materials that the CDs are composed of. Does anyone have a link or info on this?
    • by Rary (566291) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:07PM (#28214989)

      The dog is simply trained to smell chemicals used to manufacture CDs/DVDs if they're in a large enough concentration (like, say, 35,000 in a warehouse). It's up to the investigators to decide if they're counterfeit or not (which can't be too difficult if they find, say, 35,000 in a warehouse that has no records of legitimate CDs/DVDs being stored in it).

      The original story [bbc.co.uk] has details.

  • works in countries (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nimbius (983462) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:47PM (#28214735) Homepage
    that hop into bed with the RIAA and MPAA, but i dont see china or other countries allowing this anytime soon.

    we're also assuming there is readable evidence on the disks which is not, say, encrypted by GPG.

    i thought we all used torrents these days anyway?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      It works for any country that has deceived its citizens with "terrorism" because we all know that all pirated movie sales go to terrorism or child pornography or some other made-up social ill that the governments dream up. Because we all know that it NEVER goes to putting food on the table or supporting the local economy or anything like that.
  • by murr (214674) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:50PM (#28214781)

    If they train a dog to sniff out Bittorrent packets, I'll be truly impressed.

  • Some of the movies made recently reek so bad I would worry about them permanently damaging the poor dogs nose.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:51PM (#28214793)

    If everyone stops buying and producing pirated DVDs, the dogs will no longer be useful and MPA will kill them to save on dog food.

  • Misleading summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:52PM (#28214807)

    The dogs don't smell the bits on the discs and determine if they spell out "Pirate!" or "Legit.". The dogs smell out optical discs and thats it. Then they take the dogs and go to a shipment/warehouse/whatever that isn't supposed to have any discs in it, and let the dog loose. If they find discs, chances are the discs are illegal in some way. And it turns out that people who smuggle pirated copies don't have them clearly marked on their manifest.

    So yeah, the dogs find discs. Officials check to see if there are supposed to be discs here. If not, they probably just sniffed out illegal discs. You know, because if they were legal discs, you'd just put them on the manifest.

    • You know, because if they were legal discs, you'd just put them on the manifest.

      Unless you're trying to avoid import/export taxes, of course. In which case, they'd want to find them anyway, so they can tax them.

  • THAT is piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:55PM (#28214849) Homepage

    Every time I hear of copyright infringement being called theft or piracy it just bugs me. If you think it is, you're wrong and the law backs up the "slashdot accepted definition" perfectly. The piracy that is most targetted are illegal copies FOR SALE. These are the same illegal copies that the DVD CSS does not prevent. These are the same illegal copies that never needed the DMCA.

    This story illustrates precisely what piracy is when it comes to copyrighted media.

  • by StefanJ (88986) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:56PM (#28214859) Homepage Journal

    25,000 copies of BOLT.

    7,500 copies of Lady and the Tramp

    2,500 copies of Reservoir Dogs

  • by MoFoQ (584566) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:57PM (#28214861)

    I guess it's time to pack discs in coffee grounds.

    And for the pirates....to buy shitloads of blanks and place them all over to throw the sniffing dogs off their trail.

  • Wrong way (Score:2, Funny)

    by greyline (1052440)
    I think the MPA is just barking up the wrong tree here
  • by Jasper__unique_dammi (901401) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:58PM (#28214885)
    No, the dog cannot smell the difference between copyright infringement, and regular baked CDs. (Often mistaken with piracy, despite the lack of taking ships with the use of force and the lack of raping.) This looks like they just made a premise to allow them police to search any house which happens to have written to rw cds/dvds, however, the bbc story implies that these dogs are for searching for more mass-production of cd/dvd writing.
  • The reason the dogs can tell the difference is because pressed and burnt dvd's aren't made the same. Pressed uses less layers and different materials. Burnable uses inks that is what probably gives them away as "pirated."

    That and being a pirate/biker myself (pirate by blood, my great grandfather was a Spanish pirate in Campeche!) we stink. So apparently we need to improve our hygiene! BTW have you seen Anakata lately? Now do you believe me about hygiene... :P
  • by iFiLa (1217788)
    All you need is a black Sharpie marker and it throws the dogs off.
  • must be the smell of rum
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:18PM (#28215101) Journal

    ...aren't these the guys we _want_ the MPAA/RIAA to go after? These are the commercial infringers who are operating outside of the law for profit. I'll be happy to argue with you guys (i.e. - on your side) all day about personal use not being an infringing act, but this - imho - is exactly what the copyright laws are written for.

  • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:23PM (#28215185) Homepage Journal
    They're just local cache for TPB!
  • Misconception (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:27PM (#28215227)

    The story doesn't say the dogs can tell the difference between a legit DVD and an illegal copy. I'd guess the dogs are trained to find DVDs, period. If said DVDs are in crates stacked in some warehouse where they shouldn't be, then the dog has found some pirated DVDs.

    But really, what legitimate reason do you guys have for disliking this - other than a general hatred of the MPA? Unlike many/most of the tactics used by that organization and its spawn, this seems reasonable. But so far in this discussion I've seen a lot of silliness and/or venom being contributed, but very little intelligent thought.

    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      Because it's civil matter and the police shouldn't be doing investigations for the copyright owners.

  • by jriskin (132491) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:34PM (#28215327) Homepage

    I just opened a spool of CD-R's, DVD-Rs, and compared them to Pressed DVD/CD's. The burned disks are QUITE STRONG in oder and its EASY to tell the difference even between CD-R and DVD-R at least with the disks I'm smelling. While they may have trained the dogs to smell for all of it, the dogs nose is WAY more sensitive than mine and I can easily distinguish after smelling a few.

    Dogs would have ZERO problem telling them apart. It should be fairly trivial to give dogs a sampling of various burned media and then have them sniff them out.

    I'm surprised people even think this is even far fetched. Sound pretty straight forward to me. But, then again i'm practical and the first thing I tried was smelling a bunch of media...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pavon (30274)

      Hmm, is there any difference between pressed media in a just opened shrink-wrapped jewel case, compared to burned media in the same packaging.

      I would expect media in a newly open spindle to have a stronger smell than long opened media just because of the way it was packed, and the fact that it hasn't had as much time / surface area for the plastic to out-gas.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Sure CD-Rs and pressed CDs would smell different... but I was under the impression that the large-scale piracy operations pressed their disks just like the legitimate ones. The article doesn't say either way. But if it's true that they were pressed, them I'm betting the other slashdotters were right who said that the dog simply sniffed out large quantities of optical media, and once found check to see if it belongs there.

  • Well, (Score:4, Funny)

    by James Skarzinskas (518966) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:37PM (#28215353) Homepage
    That's funny, because my dog's trained to sniff out bullshit. She's getting really yappy right about now, too.
  • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @05:38PM (#28216033) Homepage Journal

    That sounds like a name of a mascot/fake_superhero the MPAA uses to explain copyright to children.

    Jimmy: "Have you seen the new OMG Ponies movie?"
    Jane: "No. Hey, let's download it!"
    Jimmy: "Yeah!"
    [Whooshing noise]
    Jimmy and Jane in unison: "Anti-Piracy Dog!"
    Anti-Piracy Dog: "Hi kids. You were about to download a movie. Every time you do that, a pirate throws a puppy into a wood-chipper."
    Jimmy: "Is it the cute kind of puppy?"
    Jane (nearly in tears): "That's the only kind of puppy there is! Oh no! I don't want cute puppies to die! What are we going to do?"
    Jimmy (gravely): "We'll have to buy our movies, and only from authorized resellers."
    Anti-Piracy Dog: "That's right, kids. So remember, don't pirate those movies."
    Jane and Jimmy in unison, overflowing with cheer: "Thanks, Anti-Piracy Dog!"
    Anti-Piracy Dog: "Up, up, and away!"
    [Whooshing noise]

  • by porky_pig_jr (129948) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @05:40PM (#28216059)

    next to my vast DVD collection.

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