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May 11, 2006

Dogs Used to Combat Digital Piracy

BetaNews is reporting that the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), supported by the MPAA, has trained two dogs, Lucky and Flo, to sniff out DVDs in packages arriving in the U.K.  They are now working for FedEx at a depot in the Stansted Airport in Essex.  FACT says Lucky and Flo have been successful in their tasks.  The group also claims success in seizing over 2 million pirated DVDs in 2005, although there is no statement about Lucky and Flo's contribution to the seized swag.  One wonders if Lucky and Flo can tell the difference between legitimate product and pirated material, or do human workers tear into packages trying to tell the difference between a home video and illegal copies of Freddy Got Fingered reproduced in bulk by a scurvy thief. (Tom Green probably wishes someone would care enough about his films to copy them.)  FACT notes that pirates tend to criminals involved with other crimes such as human smuggling, exploitation of firearms, and benefit fraud.

Another recent statement that links DVD piracy to bad stuff is from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who commented on the need for the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2005 (still pending).  He said the act was necessary because duplicating technology "encouraging large-scale criminal enterprises to get involved in intellectual-property theft" and "quite frankly, to fund terrorism activities."  Funny in that there haven't been any stories of FBI agents heroically smashing duplication rings with links to al-Queda.  Then again, there's a lot about the war on terrorism that never makes the news. 

The Act in question has its own controversies. It would criminalize the making, importing, exporting, control, or possession of copyright circumvention tools if they can be distributed to someone else.  There would even be a crime of attempted copyright infringement.

There's a lot of room in there for cracking down on copy protection crackers.  You can find links to the proposed law and other details about its the scope here and here.

May 11, 2006 | Permalink

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