Malaysian authorities help track counterfeiters

The MPAA has allocated two bootleg-sniffing retrievers to a school education campaign and donated another two canines to Malaysian authorities to help pick up the scent of counterfeiters.

As part of the Weekly Reader series for children, images of veteran MPAA investigators Lucky and Flo — two black Labs trained to sniff out pirated optical discs — will appear in the educational classroom mag’s ongoing comicstrip “Crime Fighting Canines.” Intent is to “educate children about copyright theft and various forms of piracy, how to identify counterfeit DVDs, the consequences of film piracy and, most importantly, why protecting copyrights is important to them,” according to a statement by the org.

Grades five through seven are the target audience.

Meanwhile, two of MPAA’s most recently trained Labs, Paddy and Manny, will be given to the Malaysian government, which will establish the world’s first dedicated canine antipiracy unit.

Last year, the MPAA lent Lucky and Flo to Malaysian authorities for what was to be a one-month operation searching for pirated optical discs. It was the first test of the dogs’ training, and they ended up staying six months.

“In that time, their keen noses led to 26 arrests and the seizure of 1.6 million discs, five replicating machines and 97 burners in the country,” the MPAA said.

That success prompted the government to initiate a fulltime canine corps.

“If the world — and to be sure the optical disc pirate syndicates — were impressed by the abilities of Lucky and Flo, let me just say that Paddy and Manny are just as impressive,” MPAA topper Dan Glickman said in a statement.

Partnership with Weekly Reader represents the latest MPAA attempt to teach kids about the wrongs of piracy.

“At a basic level, children understand the concept of theft and know that it is wrong,” said Terry Bromberg, president of Weekly Reader Custom Publishing, in a statement. “By teaching students about copyright protection, we can further educate them on what else constitutes stealing and the negative effects DVD piracy and illegal Internet downloads have on others. It’s great to be able to bring them this message with Lucky and Flo’s help.”

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