Anyone who’s lived in China for more than a couple weeks has likely amassed a pile of pirated DVDs.

Coming from Western countries where the prices are 15-30x more, it’s tough to throw even the worst ones away (I’ve still got my copy of Benchwarmers for Christ’s sake).

Getting them home is one of the things I’m continually asked about, and not one I have ever have a clear answer on. Though most China Post offices wont (knowingly) let you ship them out of the country, generally speaking stashing them in your luggage hasn’t traditionally been a problem.

That may be changing.

I just read via Seth Godin’s blog that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is using dogs to sniff out pirated DVDs in packages.

luckyflo.jpgThe dogs were trained over an eight month period to identify DVDs that may be located in boxes, envelopes or other packaging, as well as discs concealed amongst other goods which could be sold illegally in the UK. These DVDs are often smuggled by criminal networks involved in large scale piracy operations from around the world.

Though the article doesn’t indicate that these two canines are being put into the service of sniffing out baggage claim areas, it might not be long before it happens. More likely though, is that the dogs will be making their way to China soon enough, which may result in more difficulty getting new films.

And dammit if I’ve not nearly finished collecting all of Danny Boyle‘s films.

Additional Reading:
Lucky and Flo move on to the Philippines
CD-sniffing anti-pirate MPAA dogs
MPAA anti-piracy dogs now face ‘chemical weapons’
Malaysian disc pirates raise bounties on sniffer dogs after more success


  1. One idea I heard was to copy (I doubt pirate CDs would have copy protection) them to blank CD and write ‘holiday snaps’ on it. Not sure if you’d be able to play ’em, tho.

  2. I recently went to china(Beijing and Kunming) and had no problems with bringing back my pirated dvds, I just put them in my suitcase, I didnt even try to hide them. Had no problem at kunming international airport, PEK, or LAX.

  3. I called US customs on 1/12/2011. They said that as long as there aren’t duplicates, there shouldn’t be a problem. As long as it’s for personal use, no big deal. The “big deal”, they said, was if you bring in multiple copies (more than 2) of any DVDs. *THAT* they are concerned with. You can also call them if you want. 1-877-CBP-5511, select 0 and talk with a rep like I did. The number is at the bottom of their website.

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