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DVD-sniffing dogs, the more adorable side of the anti-piracy battle.

DVD-sniffing dogs, the more adorable side of the anti-piracy battle. (photo)

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The MPAA has tried out many tactics in their battle against piracy, from lawsuits to seeding fake torrents. But one mode is far cuter than the rest.

The first DVD sniffing dogs were introduced in 2006: Lucky and Flo, two black labs who together have sniffed out at least 1.9 million pirated disks, leading to the arrest of 26 people.

Then there was Ruca, Portugal’s own black lab, and the late Manny, a yellow lab, who was found dead before he had a chance to get to work. Foul play was suspected: a bounty of $28,000 allegedly hangs over the heads of Lucky and Flo. The autopsy was never made public — the MPAA ordered movie theaters to fly their flags at half-mast.

The latest addition to the canine anti-piracy family is Dixie, who’ll be assisting government councils in Scotland. Dixie is a thoroughly adorable springer spaniel who can also sniff out tobacco.

Living in the age of BitTorrents, it’s hard to imagine how this is more than a savvy PR move for the oft-embattled industry, but there are still plenty of places in the world where it’s easier to get burned DVDs than a fast internet connection. Five years ago, police found £350,000 worth of CDs and DVDs in Clackmannanshire, so clearly Dixie has her work cut out for her.

06172010_morris.jpgThere are, of course, plenty of videos on YouTube of foreign pirate markets (the last one raises the ante by using the “Battles Without Honor Or Humanity” theme music). It’s an industry that still hustles, as it circumvents the risk of being tracked online and sued. (And it can move faster than the industry — if you’re getting impatient about when Jim Carrey’s turn in “I Love You Philip Morris” will finally make it to American screens, I’ve seen plenty of copies being flaunted on the street in New York for the last month. Just saying.)

At any rate, this may yet be a striking growth area for dog trainers, even if distinguishing a pirated DVD from a legit one by smell will remain eternally impossible. Want some videos of dogs? This is as close as I’ll ever come to posting cute animal YouTube clips here, so please, savor the moment — here are Lucky and Flo at work:

[Photos: “Turner & Hooch,” Bueva Vista, 1989; “I Love You Philip Morris,” Newmarket Films, 2009]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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