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Anti-Piracy Dog Uncovers Huge Cache of Discs 283

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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  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:43PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:44PM (#28214685)

    ...to scare the kids.

  • by Bryan Gividen ( 739949 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:47PM (#28214723)
    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 dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:50PM (#28214783) Homepage 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 MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:58PM (#28214887) Journal

    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 of bananas smelled like a whole lot of polycarbonate.

  • by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @05:06PM (#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 @05:11PM (#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?


    "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.

  • Misconception (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @05:27PM (#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 jriskin ( 132491 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @05:34PM (#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...

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @06:14PM (#28215773) Homepage Journal

    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 hurfy ( 735314 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @06:50PM (#28216157)


    "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 Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @06:51PM (#28216171)

    So if I rob you it's fine as long as I use the money to feed my family?

    No, because I get something taken away. Now, if you could make a 1 on 1 copy of my car without damaging it, sure, I'd be happy to let you make a copy of it. Similarly if I had a infinite (as in really infinite, not just a lot) supply of money I wouldn't mind if you took from the never-ending pile of money in my front yard.

    Yes, you could argue that they could possibly be taking away sales, however usually pirated stuff is sold at a huge discount (though not free) that some people who wouldn't buy it would buy it.

    if the police were going around residential neighborhoods using this as an excuse to search people's houses I'd be upset. But are you really bothered by the fact that they arrested a large pirating operation that is making pirated CDs to be sold for profit.

    And how do you know that might not be the next step? You know, before the RIAA/MPAA started suing individuals, whenever people made VHS copies of things or burnt a CD they always joked that they might get arrested, today in 2009 that is coming quite close to reality. Perhaps its not going into people's houses but at various "security theater" setups they might decide to search your car and take these or use it as evidence for a lawsuit.

  • Tell me why.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @07:21PM (#28216477)

    just great, instead of training dogs to help guide handicapped people, they use them for useless stuff like this.
    Way to go, humanity!

    Tell me why the geek thinks that no one but a geek can multi-task.

    Hasn't the skill.

    Hasn't the resources.

    Service animals have been performing jobs like these for ten thousand years.

    The nomad tracking game. The canary in the mine.

    What has changed is our appreciation of the animal's senses.

    His intelligence.

    But the truth, of course, is that the geek only trots out this argument when the nose points towards him.

    The nose knows.

  • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @07:24PM (#28216499)

    35,000 DVD-Rs would be used up in one year by someone making complete weekly backups of 3.16 TB of data. That could be 16 workstations each having 200 GB to back up. And that's without any additional redundancy.

    10,080 minutes in a week, 672.34 disks a week, that's about 15 minutes per disk going 24/7.

    How much per disk in bulk is 35,000 DVD-Rs (I assume less than 4.7 cents per disk), and can you get something else of equivalent or greater storage capacity in bulk at a cheaper price per GB (tapes, hard drives)?

  • by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:53PM (#28217907)
    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.
  • Re:And the blind? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 05, 2009 @01:58AM (#28218885) Journal

    Actually I had a buddy that was a county mountie and worked with the K9 unit. He said dealers would spread a little strong coke/crank mix around crappy loads they didn't give much of a care about. They would give those loads to some dumb junkie that didn't know jack and when the K9 unit smelled around the load the coke/crank mix would burn out the dogs nose. Then the next load that came through had a better chance of making it as the dog's nose was basically anesthetized from the coke/crank mix.

    That is why he said most of the local K9 dogs ended up only working for a year or two before they ended up a cop's pet. They would get done that way several times and their noses would just keep getting less accurate until they weren't any better at smelling the dope than you or I. When they'd suspect the dog was suffering "burn out" they would give him a few tests to see how well he hit and if he failed some cop got a new pet. But considering the price to train these dogs I bet that isn't very good on the police budget, which is of course why the MPA is breaking out the checkbook. Because I can't see these Asian police forces giving enough of a crap over bootlegs of "The Dark Knight" to spend the cash needed to train and replace the dogs.

  • Re:And the blind? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Friday June 05, 2009 @02:29AM (#28219045) Journal
    The sad thing is originals (esp of Japanese anime) in Malaysia often have crappy translations too and it's hard to tell. Even worse, in a multi DVD set, the first DVD could be OK, but really bad in the second DVD (e.g. Britannia in the first DVD and Bu-Li-Ta-Ni-Ya in the second).

    Another annoying thing is the originals often have ads you can't skip past on an ordinary DVD player. You seldom get that sort of BS with the pirate versions.

    Anyway, despite what the _summary_ says I doubt the dogs can normally tell the difference between pirate and original DVDs.

    The originals and "unauthorized" editions could even come from the same factory for all you know.

    The dogs are just used to find where the huge stashes of DVDs are. If you have a lot of DVDs stored somewhere with no legit paper trail or good explanation then it gets rather suspicious ;).
  • Re:And the blind? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AlecC ( 512609 ) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Friday June 05, 2009 @07:27AM (#28220325)

    But does it actually displace dogs trained for the blind? Is there a shortage of appropriate dogs or trainers that would stop both kinds of dogs being trained, if the money was available? Because otherwise, it is not displacing dogs for the blind any more than any other kind of spending would. In fact, there might be economies of scale in dog training establishments.

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