Do Counterfeit DVDs Smell Different From Regular DVDs?

from the gone-to-the-dogs dept

Last week, the MPAA got some press for taking a couple of “DVD sniffing dogs” on a road show. We’re not really sure why the MPAA wants to even more closely associate their “war on piracy” with the “war on drugs,” as neither seems to have been particularly successful, but just like cocaine-sniffing dogs, the MPAA has dogs trained to sniff out counterfeit DVDs. Or so they claim. First of all, it’s only two dogs. You’d have to imagine they’re not going to be able to sniff very many packages entering the US. Second, since when do private company interests get to inspect shipments and luggage? The TSA may have that right, but the movie industry? That doesn’t seem right. However, the biggest problem with the dogs is pointed out by the Washington Post: “Pirated DVDs smell just like legally obtained ones.” Seems like that might be a problem.

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Comments on “Do Counterfeit DVDs Smell Different From Regular DVDs?”

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ehrichweiss says:

Re: Juan Valdez bitches!

Actually, if you want to permanently ruin the dogs’ ability to sniff out most ANYTHING, put some cayenne pepper in the suitcase as well as on the outside if you can.

We used to go to “Rainbow Gatherings” and the cops would always start a roadblock knowing that they could catch people with drugs before they got there by using drug dogs. Well that didn’t last long as we learned that cayenne pepper in the floorboard of your car and sprinkled outside of your car will make them worthless especially if they get a good portion in their nose cause then they’re permanently out of commission. They might *signal* something strange with your car/suitcase since they’ll be in pain but they won’t be able to find your stash(we never had any on us, I just find a complete thrill in ruining yet another fascist plan; hate to do it to a dog but if it’s his/her nose vs. my/my friends’ freedom, the dog is disposable).

So if you’re in an airport, do your duty and sprinkle it over EVERYONE’s luggage.

P.S. if they catch you doing this it can lead to several charges including obstruction of justice and assaulting a police officer(yes, because the goddamn dog is considered a freakin’ officer), so have a good excuse as to why you have a quart of cayenne in your suitcase..;)

just ®idiculous says:

don't make me pull the car over

and take the movie industry’s side, but first, the dogs belong to the MPAA not a particular studio, and since pirate bootlegs are against the law, it makes sense to me that that industry’s organization would work with the feds to enforce the law. Secondly, so what if they smell the same? I’d guess that if the dogs smell DVDs in a container labelled ‘teddy bears’ that smoething is afoul.

Matthew says:

Re: don't make me pull the car over

don’t make me pull the car over by just ®idiculous on Sep 28th, 2006 @ 10:56am
and take the movie industry’s side, but first, the dogs belong to the MPAA not a particular studio, and since pirate bootlegs are against the law, it makes sense to me that that industry’s organization would work with the feds to enforce the law. Secondly, so what if they smell the same? I’d guess that if the dogs smell DVDs in a container labelled ‘teddy bears’ that smoething is afoul.

This is another one of those “if you aren’t doing anything wrong you have nothing to hide” people I’m betting.

You can go to the Island that they dump the rest of the **AA-people onto after the revolution.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: don't make me pull the car over

“…and since pirate bootlegs are against the law, it makes sense to me that that industry’s organization would work with the feds to enforce the law.”
-just (r)idiculous

Yes. All well and fine. let them work with fed’s to enforce the law.

Now, the article honestly doesn’t say who would be doing the searching. So, here’s two posibilities:

1) The MPAA is searching the items
This is not “working with” law enforcement. This is vigilantism. There would be no difference between this and me seeing someone put a bag of a white, powdery substance into their pocket and then going over and searching the guy.

One, I’d probably get my ass kicked, and two, I’d get arrested.

The MPAA going through the possessions of another private entity (be it a person of a shipping company or a vendor) without that entity’s permission is illegal. It doesn’t matter (as one stated earlier) if they are stopping pirate copies coming in, good copies going out to be pirated, or any combination thereof. It’s illegal. Period.

2) The feds are doing the searching
This is a little better, since the people with the athority to do so are the ones doing the searching.

The big problem with this is (and it’s been pointed out) does two dogs owned by a private company, who have not been trained by the aformentioned authroities, constitue just cause? If not, then it is a violation of the 4th Amendment to search me based on “evidence” presented by these two dogs.

In my above example of seeing a bag of powder going into a pocket… If I saw that and told a police officer, that officer would be able to do nothing more than thank me and go ask the guy if he has drugs. The police officer cannot search someone just because some private citizen says they witnessed a crime. That is not just cause.

®idiculous ©rap says:

Re: Re: don't make me ... by Gabriel Tane

First, to Matthew: you bet wrong.

Now on to Gabriel, you make some good points. And honestly, when I read the story, I filtered it through my own experience and I made two presumptions that might be wrong.

First, I presume that the MPAA isn’t doing the searches, because they have no legal authority to do so. Honestly, even in the *Elevated Terror Alert* Status, I don’t believe that this would go over well in America.

Second, I presume that the dogs aren’t going to be sniffing individual luggage. But maybe I’m just wrong about that. I understand if **AA wants to search *packages* for large quantities, but what’s the monetary benefit to the **AA if the feds find 2 burned movies in the possession of an individual? The feds would still have the burden to prove that the burned movies are something over than legal backups that anyone can make of their movies. I know the word ‘luggage’ was in the PCMag article, but I’m inclined to attribute that to inexact journalism at this point.

This story offers two possible future scenarios:
1.) The **AA and the feds are targeting container shipments. If so, not worried.
2.) The **AA and the feds are targeting individuals and their luggage. If so, it would never hold up in court, and I would gladly fly with a spindle of DVD-Rs, just to force the issue for a court to decide.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: don't make me ... by Gabriel Tane

2.) The **AA and the feds are targeting individuals and their luggage. If so, it would never hold up in court, and I would gladly fly with a spindle of DVD-Rs, just to force the issue for a court to decide.

You haven’t been keeping track of how incredibly biased judges are these days. You wouldn’t stand a chance.

Michael Brutsch says:


The **AA consider all recordable media to be illegal; they just have trouble getting legislators to agree. As far as they’re concerned, if you have a large enough quantity of any recordable media for the dogs to smell it, then you’re most likely breaking the law. And, in this post-9/11 world, ‘most likely’ is good enough for government work…

Anonymous Coward says:

The other day i hoped to hop on a a flight to visit a friend. I had a spindle of blank DVDs in my bag. I ditched the bottle of water i was carrying, as instructed by new federal rules to not carry liquirds past the security check.

So, i’m walking down the terminal and i see these 2 dogs, cute dogs i might add, shinny coats, bright eyes and a pink tongues… i walk by, the dogs sit down. I think… how cute…. so i turn away to continue my journey though the terminal when i’m suddenly tackled by 2 huge men wearing black.

They immedialty proceed to hand cuff me with a zip-tie, and walk me and my bag away. They held my head down so i could not see much, but i noticed they were walking right for a wall. The wall opened up like a sliding door and we walked through.

They slammed me down, slapped me, and opend my bag with a razor blade. The spindle of DVDs falls out and rolls across the table. The agent threw a knife at it, sticking the knife in the table and stopping the spindle from falling on the ground… he yelled at me: “WHAT THE fak IS THAT!!???”… DVDs, i said. He slapped me again, and said “DONT fak WITH US!”

They opened the brand new spindle and played every single DVD in a laptop making sure they were all blank.

14 hours later i was escorted out of another door, in another part of the airport with a voucher for free popcorn at the movies.

I never knew what they were looking for, or who they were. I was afraid, and tired, and hungry…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

your story smells of fiction. The popcorn is a dead giveaway.

If not fiction, call up the newspaper or local tv news.
call up the ACLU.

get this information out thru reputable news channels…
otherwise, it’s all hype and fiction.

I would not tolerate someone treating me or my luggage like that. I cannot beleive that you would either.


notorius says:


if you read the article last week, the dogs are trained to sniff out -anyone- with DVD/CDs and subject those people to a search in the -hope- that illegal burned copies are found.

there has to be some law agaisnt a private party conducting searches on private citizens based on nothing more than an alert from a dog. especially since burned CD’s are illegal in the same way that cocaine is.

i wonder what’s going to happen when some fortune 500 CEO is stopped on a business trip because a dog sniffed out his burned powerpoint presentation…

PhysicsGuy says:


the headline of this article confused me… the actual article confused me even more. counterfeit dvd sniffing dogs. as someone pointed out this is completely justified as illegal search and seizure. as a dvd burned with ripped mpegs smells no different than a dvd burned with home movies, or a dvd burned with a software collection, or a dvd burned by the mpaa themselves…

they have no justification to search people based on the premise that they have dvds which *might* be illegal. the cops couldn’t search me for marijuana because i have a pack of rolling papers, i roll my own cigarettes. therefore the cops wouldn’t be able to search me for pirated dvds because i have a stack of burned dvds. let alone being searched by a non-law enforcement agency.

if anyone from the mpaa said they were going to search me for illegal dvds i would laugh in their faces, put on an acting face and tell them they’re scaring me and to no longer pursue me, if they did i would call the local police on them. also, don’t you think the feds would put a stop to this, i think illegal dvds would be the last thing on their mind when dealing with airport security, you know, with all those terrorists and whatnot…

props to the AC’s enthralling airport story…

Anonymous Coward says:

re: Dogs

I think people are confusing the issue. The original story says, “The job for Lucky and Flo will be to sniff out optical discs in luggage or other containers, and stop the discs from getting to manufacturing plants where they can be reproduced.”
This implies that the dogs are sniffing outgoing passengers to China or other bootleg-heavy countries. Or, they’re sending these dogs to the other countries to sniff incoming passengers. The upshot is they’re looking for LEGAL DVD’s HEADED FOR PIRATES. So in this case, the MPAA have finally acheived their goal. They’ve made it illegal to own a DVD.

wolff000 says:

Re: Just Hype

The dogs have no real purpose. Yes they claim they do but it is all just publicity for the MPAA in thier campaign against piracy. They also won’t be using the dogs here in the US. If they are used at all it would be in China where laws are a little different to say the least. No point in worrying about dogs catching your pirated copy of 50 First Dates so stop whining girls. Kidding, I’m sure you’re all fine gentlemen no offense to any women posters.

Gabriel Tane says:

Bless you people

“So does this mean that I would need to cover my illegal DVDs in coffee to throw off the dogs?”
-Sanguine Dream

“No, just cocaine”
-Anonymous Coward

“Just think about how they are gonna have to start smuggling those DVD’s…

I wonder how many drug mules want to start a new side-line of work…


“Moral of the story is, don’t burn your movies. Bake them until they are a golden brown at 350 degrees and lightly crisp. This should eliminate the ‘burn sniffing dogs.'”
-Techie Chick

This post has single-handedly brightend my day.

Thank you all!


Anonymous Coward says:

@ post 35

the MP/RIAA have shown they only care about targeting individuals. searching luggage makes more sense than trying to search an entire shipping container with probably tens of thousands of DVDs or CDs inside. especially if they are already in individual cases. if theyre in spindles you are looking at even more time to look through them all.

Anonymous Coward says:

So these dogs are supposed to sniff OUTGOING passengers and media? Can they sniff DVDs that are travelling through the Internets?! It is too easy to upload the original to a server and create new media out of the country…

Simply, this must be for checking imports. Even still, I don’t see them getting any assistance from airports given all the other problems they face.

This simply has to be a publicity stunt. Even if they found burned CD’s/DVD’s, they cannot take possession of it without Law Enforcement, or else you could take them to court for theft. Because the materials would have been gained without a warrant, even if you had illegal CD/DVDs they would be inadmissible in court.

Some organisations are just too retarded to understand anything about law and enforcement.

Tashi says:

I’ve been to SE Asia a couple times. The piracy rate there runs in the 90 percent range. Everything is pirated. I told a friend starting a business there she might want to consider Linux since she could get it for free. She said, “you think we pay for Windows”??? Of all the people I’ve known and met in several Asian countries, nobody buys legitimate movies, music, software or games. It’s too big to stop.

Even in Malaysia there they have bans on many American movies, you can find anything you want in any mall or shopping plaza. You can get a copy of Windows Vista for about $1.60.

I think the MPAA should be thankful the USA and Europe don’t have the piracy rates of Asia, have a Coke and a smile and STFU. If they can hire an army of lawyers and dvd sniffing dogs they’re not missing that money from piracy.

Donald Duck says:

Counterfeit DVDs Smell

Does DOWNLOADING have a smell?

G… I won’t want to put sneezing powder on my bags before I leave to the Fedx station in the morning if I was in that business.

G…I wouldn’t want to use UPS or DSL in the future.

On the serious side east germany used sniffing dogs for just about every thing under the sun! They use to keep a piece of clothing of every one and put it in a jar. 8 years later you escape from some prison or something and they hunt you down. They pull the jar out and let the hounds take a wiff and go after you. Could you imagine what this could mean. If you made bad grades….the dog can tell….sniff sniff 🙂

if you cheated at school…. the dogs could smell the cheat notes in your pocket….sniff sniff

if you cheated on your gurl the dogs could tell….sniff sniff

Seriously what if you used a USB drive to smuggle the movie over the ocean or border had it in your pocket and the dogs are smelling their asses off and you just smile and pet the dogs? Then once you got to the city you was going to. You copied it and sale the fake dvd’s you just buy dvd’s at the local store or you get blank ones mailed to you from some one.

I can see a crook petting the dogs saying, “Can you smell a usb drive in my pen”?

eb says:

Bring Them On

If they really start flagging outgoing travellers with maybe a few DVDs to watch on their laptop while on a business trip, it could be the best thing to happen. Can’t you just see it now? You are forbidden to remove the media from the address where you resided when you purchased it. All DVDs must be abandoned at your place of residence when you move. Otherwise you may be taking them somewhere to pirate them.

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