dogsMichael Buchan, who works for the Motion Picture Association of America, praised Lucky and Flo after a successful demonstration in which the dogs sniffed out DVDs hidden in boxes at City Hall Plaza today. (Liz O. Baylen for The New York Times )

A 2005 federal law made recording a film with a video camera in a movie theater a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison. A similar antipiracy law in New York City, supported by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, took effect on May 1. On July 2, a Bronx man, Kalidou Diallo, 48, became the first person arrested under it.

But that’s not enough for the Motion Picture Association of America, which had made combating film piracy a top priority. At City Hall Park this morning, the association’s chairman and chief executive, Dan Glickman, showed off two black Labradors, Lucky and Flo, that have been trained to sniff for DVDs.

Their trainer, Neil Powell, 61, of Newcastle, Northern Island, has been a dog trainer for 35 years, preparing dogs to detect explosives and drugs and perform search and rescue missions. In a phone interview, Mr. Powell said that DVDs were a new area for him.

“The thing that motivated me at the start was to put a stop, or try to put a stop, to pedophilia,” he said, noting that the trade in DVDs are often used to produce and exchange child pornography. “That was my highest priority.”

It took Mr. Powell more than six months to train Lucky and Flo to detect and act on the scent of polycarbonate, the polymer used in DVDs. Since the spring, Lucky and Flo have been on loan to the Malaysian and Philippine governments, working with law enforcement officials at border crossings, participating in several raids and sniffing out pirated DVDs in storage centers and packages bound for export. The motion picture association said in a statement:

During their first raid in Malaysia, Lucky and Flo helped law enforcement officers uncover more than one million pirated discs with a street value of nearly $3 million. The operation resulted in a Malaysian pirate syndicate putting a bounty on the dogs’ heads of 100,000 Malaysian Ringgit (approximately $30,000), which is well over the per capita income in Malaysia.

During their six-month deployment on Operation Double Trouble, Lucky and Flo accompanied Malaysian and Filipino enforcement Officers on 35 raids in which 26 people were arrested and charged with copyright violations. From April through August, Lucky and Flo were successful in locating more than 1.88 million pirated discs with an estimated street value of over $3.5 million, 97 burner towers that were used to produce pirated discs, and three replicating lines from a pirate plant valued at approximately $2 million that were used to produce high-quality pirated product.

On July 13, 2007, Lucky and Flow led investigators to an estimated 100,000 pirated movie DVDs and computer games hidden in secret storage compartments in shops and a warehouse used by Malaysian movie pirates in Johor Bahru. It became clear to investigators that the word had hit the streets about Lucky and Flo when investigators discovered that charcoal had been placed inside the outlets containing pirated DVDs, in an apparent — and unsuccessful — attempt to throw Lucky and Flo off the scent.

The association is talking with law enforcement agencies about how the dogs could be used to track counterfeit and illicit DVDs in the United States. The movie association has estimated that 43 percent of movies illegally recorded with camcorders in the United States last year were copied in New York City theaters.

“Most illegal DVDs, and much piracy generally, starts with illegal camcording — just the simple act of taking the camcorder into a theater and illegally taping,” Mr. Glickman, the association chairman, who was secretary of agriculture in the Clinton administration, said in a phone interview. “That’s why the issue is so critical.”

Mr. Glickman said he thought the dogs could play an important role in anti-piracy efforts. “These dogs are our best employees,” he said, adding: “The dogs give us a way to personalize this. These dogs have been subject to a contract on their lives: in Malaysia, $30,000 was offered their heads.”

The dogs are being used to look for stashes and troves of DVDs in areas like warehouses and airports. “They can’t distinguish between pirated and nonpirated DVDs,” said Mr. Glickman, who owns a 3 1/2-year-old beagle named Sammy. “I’d love if we could do that, but we’re not there yet.”