Movie industry’s crime-fighting canines visit LA school


Mumbai: Lucky and Flo, the world’s first-ever DVD-sniffing dogs, made a special visit to Clover Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles to kick-off a three-city North American tour that will include visits to Mexico City and Washington DC in honor of World Intellectual Property Day.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) teamed up with Los Angeles City Councilmember Wendy Greuel – Chair of the Los Angeles Anti- Piracy Task Force – and renowned Internet safety expert Dr. Parry Aftab to talk to Clover’s fourth and fifth graders about the importance of copyright protection with the assistance of the MPAA’s very own Lucky and Flo.
"Lucky and Flo have traveled all over the world assisting law enforcement officials in tracking down pirate operations and have helped raise global awareness about the problem of motion picture piracy. These special dogs are helping us educate children about the importance of respecting copyrights while presenting it in a fun and exciting way," said MPAA executive vice president and director of worldwide anti-piracy operations John Malcolm.
Earlier this year, the MPAA teamed up with Weekly Reader to develop a new curriculum featuring Lucky and Flo 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.
The curriculum includes a teacher’s guide, workbook for students, and posters for classrooms and libraries. It has been distributed to 20,000 schools and will be part of the curriculum in nearly 60,000 classrooms in ten states that include California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and the District of Columbia.
"Education is key to further any efforts undertaken to protect intellectual property. By speaking to kids at this age level we are working to instill early-on the importance of protecting copyrights and the negative consequences of piracy," said council member Greuel. "Film piracy harms local economies, kills jobs and impacts everyone who is involved in the production and distribution of movies."
The assembly was facilitated by Dr. Parry Aftab, founder of WiredSafety – the largest and oldest online safety, education, and help group in the world- and her award-winning Teenangels and Tweenangels who shared information with the students about responsible technology use. Lucky and Flo demonstrated how they sniff out DVDs hidden in storage containers and luggage, highlighting how they assist law enforcement authorities at raids, border crossings, and customs environments around the world.
In 2004, the MPAA undertook a limited feasibility study to determine whether dogs could be trained to detect polycarbonate and other chemicals used in optical discs (DVDs, CDs, etc.). Neil Powell, a trainer in Northern Ireland known for training dogs to sniff bombs and other kinds of devices trained Lucky and Flo to find optical discs in large and small containers, the types usually found in shipments in ports and airports around the world.
After eight months of training, Lucky and Flo were put to work for their first major live test working with HM Revenue and Customs and FedEx at Stansted Airport in the UK. They were immediately successful in identifying packages containing DVDs and detecting even the smallest amount of product in very large containers. The live test was the first time dogs have been used anywhere in the world to search for counterfeit DVDs and proved that they could work in a busy airport Customs environment.