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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - This time, Hollywood really has gone to the dogs.
The Motion Picture Association of America on Thursday unveiled its latest tool in the war on movie piracy: a pair of DVD-sniffing Labrador Retrievers named Lucky and Flo.
The MPAA, which represents the major U.S. movie studios in government and legal affairs, claims the illegal copying of movies and television shows on DVDs and other media cost them more than $6.1 billion in lost revenues in 2005.
Of that total, about $2.4 billion was lost to copying movies to videocassettes, DVDs or video CDs. In recent years, the organization has waged a vigorous battle against global piracy.
In July, for instance, the MPAA and foreign government officials wrapped up "Operation Red Card," which resulted in the seizure of some 6.7 million pirated discs in 12 countries across the Asia-Pacific region.
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.
But before they begin their new job, Lucky and Flo will go on a world tour of cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore, just as movie stars go on tour to promote their latest films.
They will travel throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico and even visit Dubai in the Middle East to showcase their talents to customs agents and other officials.
And, of course, they will make a stop in Hollywood