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MPAA Releases Software For Parents 414

Posted by michael
from the at-your-own-risk dept.
SnowWolf2003 writes "The MPAA have released their Parent File Scan tool, which 'helps consumers check whether their computers have peer-to-peer software and potentially infringing copies of motion pictures and other copyrighted material'. According to the MPAA, the software does not report any data back to the MPAA. However, users have noted that the software is not accurate; 'tagging' virtually every audio or video file it finds based on file extensions."
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MPAA Releases Software For Parents

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  • by Lostie (772712) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:50AM (#11503823)
    Now we have a tool that lists all the filenames the MPAA are looking for, so if you don't fancy getting sued when using P2P, simply rename your downloaded files and use this handy tool to find out if the rename was effective or not. Thanks MPAA!
    • Re:This is great! (Score:3, Informative)

      by PartyBoy!911 (611650)
      Renaming them doesn't work as you can read in the forum linked in the article. The application appears to classify every media file as suspect even the default wav files installed with windows xp.
    • Re:This is great! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dsginter (104154) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:08PM (#11504064)
      so if you don't fancy getting sued when using P2P, simply rename your downloaded files and use this handy tool to find out if the rename was effective or not.

      The MPAA isn't quite that dumb but it is a nice idea. What will eventually happen is that some bright spark will release private P2P software that will allow only certain people to participate (think, your immediate group of friends, their friends, family, etc). It will be just like back in the old BBS days of "elite" access - you had to know someone who knew someone who knew someone who could vouch for you.

      Once it goes private, there's no stopping it without Congress and hardware. And it will still be difficult at that point.

      And while I'm dishing out ideas, can someone create a MythTV implementation that will allow a "community" of PVRs to collaborate and share? Just automate the file transfers using the above "private P2P" techniques.
      • Re:This is great! (Score:3, Informative)

        by LehiNephi (695428)
        Remember Waste? It's exactly what you're describing--by invitation only, and encrypted. And if you can find a copy, it's free.
      • Re:This is great! (Score:3, Informative)

        by PartyBoy!911 (611650)
        Already done, check http://www.grouper.com/ [grouper.com]

        The thing they have to implement to make it more usefull is multi-source downloading.
        That way people with lots of online friends have an advantage :-)
      • Re:This is great! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by EvilAlien (133134) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:01PM (#11505452) Journal
        "The MPAA isn't quite that dumb but it is a nice idea."

        Yes they are. They specialize in hiring third-party copyright bounty hunters to spam ISPs with poorly or completely unfounded complaints based on pattern matches of filenames on P2P networks. If you have My-son-in-Spiderman-costume_movie.mpg, it would probably be picked up and generate an automated complaint to your ISP. Under horribly broken US law (i.e., the DMCA), your ISP would be forced to comply with the notice-and-takedown provisions and shut your Internet access off or terminate service.

        What the filesharers should do is post files that are encrypted with encrypted filenames and descriptions, and rely on private keys. Of course, the risk is that the searchs for the encrypted strings could be intercepted allowing the code to be broken, but a WW2 flavored one-time key method could do the trick.

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by kernel_dan (850552) <slashdevslashtty ... .com minus punct> on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:50AM (#11503825)
    Does it work on linux?
    • by georgeha (43752) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:55AM (#11503897) Homepage
      find / -name "*.mp3" -print >> stolenmp3.txt
      find / -name "*.avi" -print >> stolenvid.txt
    • Now that you mention it, I will try it in VMWare (not under wine, that could find the actual files, and who knows what the scanner does)
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Funny)

      by sgant (178166)
      It would tag everything in Linux and Linux itself as illegal and a "hacking tool" because I'm sure they all think that anyone that uses Linux is a hacker/cracker and by using Linux itself, which is free and powerfull, goes against buying things in general.

      It would also probably call the cops on you as a terrorist like the poor bloke that donated money using Lynx.

      (the above was being sarcastic...I love Linux, use it every day and in no way really mean to impune the reputation of anyone that uses the fine f
  • Heh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by numbski (515011) * <.ten.revliskh. .ta. .iksbmun.> on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:51AM (#11503830) Homepage Journal
    1. Download tool.
    2. Submit definition to ClamWin and other A/V firms.
    3. Profit!!!
  • Not just "virtually" (Score:5, Informative)

    by slavemowgli (585321) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:51AM (#11503833) Homepage
    It really tags *any* media file, including soundtracks etc. of games, iTunes songs and just about everything else.
  • by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:52AM (#11503838) Homepage
    Running scan...

    Found [1] file(s):
    C:\WINDOWS\UPDATE\AUTODOWNLOAD\TEMP\39FWI25\FOO\ DOWNWITHBIGBROTHER.MP3

    Notify Ministry of Peace? (Y/y):

  • Start, search, find files or folders.

    I smell lawsuit!
  • XXX (Score:3, Funny)

    by R0UTE (807673) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:53AM (#11503865)
    Does this mean my parents would now be able to view my perfectly legal porno collection if they installed it on my machine ? better get hiding it! Oh no wait I don't live with my parents, what a relief :)
    • Your average teenager will do a much better job (I'm 15, plenty of experience lol).

      Most of my friends like to put it on a form of removable media, however, I like to use a reiserfs hard drive image, and later will switch to an encrypted one. Gives more capacity, better performance, and is much more convenient. Well for me, anyway.

      Many lessons to be learned in this area ;)
  • Sounds like rebranded AdAware?
  • According to... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:54AM (#11503872)
    According to the MPAA, the software does not report any data back to the MPAA.

    Ha. And according to most criminals in prison, they are innocent.
    OK...this first version might not. But in a few months, after people get used to it, and they send out an 'update' containing all the new songs/movies that have been put out, it will have a new unpublished 'feature'.

    Do you REALLY want to trust the MPAA snooping around inside your PC?

    According to most criminals in prison, they are innocent.

    • Given the rate at which reviews of DNA evidence are releasing criminals in prison who really were innocent, most might actually _be_ innocent.
  • It turns out to be a one-line shell script:

    find / -name '*jpg' -o -name '*mpg' -o -name '*avi' -o -name '*mp3' -exec rm {} \;

  • Irony alert (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abdossett (125159) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:55AM (#11503895)
    As one law professor points out [volokh.com] (only half-seriously), the MPAA may need to worry about contributory copyright infringement.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Step 1. This post is Copyright © 2005 Cowards of the World. All rights reserved.
      Step 2. Use MPAA tool to find illegal copy of this post; use results from MPAA tool to make more illegal copies.
      Step 3. Sue MPAA for contributory infringement; Profit!
  • by teiresias (101481) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:55AM (#11503902)
    If a parent is not active enough in their child's life or like my parents, not technical enough to understand what files are what, this tool does very little.

    Parent Not Active - The parent either doesn't care what their child does on the computer/internet or at least does not monitor it. Indeed, that parent might not see this as doing something wrong and in fact do it themselves.

    Non-technical Parent - My parents know about movie pirating and that it can be be done on the computer. However, I could also leave a new copy of a main stream movie on the desktop with little worry.

    Personally, I think this is a sneaky (abeit overt) way of allowing the MPAA's software to take a peak in your drawers. Parents, if you feel like this is information you can't optain by talking to your kids, than them having some movies on their computer really isn't the problem.
    • by numbski (515011) * <.ten.revliskh. .ta. .iksbmun.> on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:03PM (#11504012) Homepage Journal
      You should be actively involved.

      Talk with your kids. Make sure they know what Kazaa-Lite is and how to use it. Make sure they know about encryption and how to use it.

      Even better, make sure they use something like mldonkey instead. They more you're involved with your kids, the better odds are that they will turn out how you want them to. ;)
      • by pla (258480) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:24PM (#11504957) Journal
        Talk with your kids. Make sure they know what Kazaa-Lite is and how to use it. Make sure they know about encryption and how to use it.

        Oh, puh-lease. A decade ago, I had to teach my parents how to properly and safely download... er... "material of questionable legality".

        We always hear about "the" uncomfortable father-son (or mother-daughter) talk about sex, but the reverse case feels even wierder...

        "Uh... Dad, I found some interesting files on your computer."
        "Oh, er, uh, those must have come from... uh... one of those pop-up trap pages"
        "Dad, we all look at porn. But these lame 30-second video clips? Sigh. C'mere. Let me introduce you to USENet... Here, add all these groups... Check here to only show complete posts... Click here to watch the first part to see if you want the whole thing, and keep in mind that you can't always trust what the subject says... Now, if you like it, highlight the whole list with that same subject line, and download it. There you go, a full-length 15 minute feature."
    • Yea, but when the MPAA sues you, and you say "It was my kids, I didn't know." they can say "Hey, we provided parents tools to make sure their kids weren't doing illegal activities on their computers."
  • Geez... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:56AM (#11503908) Journal
    However, users have noted that the software is not accurate; 'tagging' virtually every audio or video file it finds based on file extensions.

    Uh, no kidding?

    And if their software used some DRM or logging scheme to track the origin of every audio, video or archive file, you'd be saying that was a good thing?!?

    • It might make it remotely useful, if it did.
      As someone who tries to use P2P legally, I find it annoying that sometimes months after downloading something, I find that it wasnt some independent legally distributed music, but rather some well-known artist I'd just never heard of. (at that point sometimes I delete, sometimes I buy)
      What they've instead released is a useless tool designed to create fear through absolute blatant lies.
  • by ChipMonk (711367) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:56AM (#11503910) Journal
    "Son?"

    "Yeah, Dad?"

    "I got that tool from the MPAA, and I found some stuff on your computer."

    "Dad, I can explain."

    "Why didn't you tell me?"

    "But I--"

    "Didn't I teach you to share? Now come on, let's find some good Doobie Brothers..."
    • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:35PM (#11504379) Journal
      (REALITY - ALTERNATE VERSION)

      "Son?"
      "Yes Dad?"
      "I ran this MPAA tool on your computer. Looks like you've been downloading alot of movies illegally, and --"
      "Dad, isn't this similar to the illegal satellite hookup you have?"
      "Uh, yes but..."
      "And does Mom know about those channels you watch late at night when she's asleep?"
      "Uh, no but..."
      "You can leave my allowance on my desk, and close the door on the way out..."

  • From a poster (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:56AM (#11503919) Homepage
    Why anyone would trust the MPAA is beyond me. Hell, our strapped public schools are wasting class time and resources indoctrinating children with the MPAA/RIAA supplied materials

    So this means that public schools in the US permit every shady business to slip in its personal agenda to the official curriculum, provide they bribe enough politicos.

    This is a fucking scandal and a disgrace for the US school system. Since I'm a foreigner there's nothing I can do, besides urging you to act on this outrage.

    The full post can be found here [broadbandreports.com]

  • by iplayfast (166447) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:56AM (#11503920)
    Suppose you record your own music, save it on your machine. You give it to your friends, or release it on the net. The MPAA claims that it's stolen, which implies that it's not yours go give away.

    Isn't the MPAA infringing on your copyrights?
    • Who wrote the song? (Score:3, Informative)

      by tepples (727027)

      Suppose you record your own music, save it on your machine.

      Who wrote the song? And how can you prove that it was entirely original [slashdot.org]? Perhaps you did subconsciously copy the work as in Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music [columbia.edu] (the "My Sweet Lord" case), and the original songwriter and music publisher deserve their cuts.

      The MPAA claims that it's stolen, which implies that it's not yours go give away.

      Nitpick: Music publishers make up the NMPA/Harry Fox Agency, not the Motion Picture Association of Ame

      • Who wrote the song? And how can you prove that it was entirely original? Perhaps you did subconsciously copy the work as in Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music (the "My Sweet Lord" case), and the original songwriter and music publisher deserve their cuts.

        Oh, I never thought of that. I guess I can't do anything original.... BUT WAIT, neither can anyone else! So there is not such thing as copyright, since nothing is original and and and ....

        or

        Maybe I can do something original.

        Nitpick: Music publish
    • How so? If they actually sue you to prevent you from distributing your stuff, then in a sense, yes they are. I don't know if copyright law specifically covers preventing others from exercising their rights, but you could certainly counter-sue I'd imagine (IANAL of course).

      If all they do is say "Oi! That's stolen!" then you're free to say "No, I wrote it - now prove otherwise", and nothing has been infringed.
      • I would have thought

        1. That advertising that someone has stolen something, that was actually theirs to start with, would be lible.

        2. That informing third parties that material they obtained from you is stolen is lible, and infringes upon your copyright.

        3. You aren't informed that the person who is running the MPAA's software has been told this lie, and therefore are unable to defend yourself against it.

        IANAL either.
  • I just ran this... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Evangelion (2145) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:57AM (#11503923) Homepage

    *ALL* this is is Start -> Search -> For Files or Folders... -> Music + Video, as well as something to look for the signature of installed P2P applications. It simply searches based on file extension. Even radnomly named mp3s are listed.

    Move along, nothing to see here...

    • located here [purestatic.com]:

      Q: Is it possible to hide files from the program, by changing their name or extension?
      A: No. The program uses advanced binary recognition, locating all known multimedia file types and P2P applications, regardless of their name and extension.

      Q: Does the program distinguish between legal and illegal copies of multimedia files?
      A: No. The program does not distinguish between legal and illegal copies. It is up to the user to determine whether the files found by the program have been ac

  • Windows Search? (Score:2, Informative)

    by asd-Strom (792539)
    So basically this software is just as good as the "Find" tool in windows. You can actually even choose "Search for Pictures, Music, or Video" in the windows search util and don't have to type in the *.avi etc wildcards.
  • Reality (Score:5, Funny)

    by nullvector (694435) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:57AM (#11503926)
    I can just see it now...

    Mother - "Johnny! I'm going to use this new tool from 'the Man' to see if you've been doing anything illegal on here!"

    Kid - "Oh no!"

    Father - "Whoa you've been a busy little pirate haven't you?"

    Kid "ARRRRR...."

    Mother - "Go get the popcorn! I just found the new Johnny Depp movie!"

    Father - "Wow! This is awesome, you can download these things for free? SWEEET!"

  • Ver 2 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stormcrow309 (590240) on Friday January 28, 2005 @11:57AM (#11503929) Homepage Journal

    I hear that they are working on ver 2 of this software. It checks for any tax returns and/or money management programs on your pc, calculates your net worth to see if you are worth sueing, generates some infractions on your pc, and signs you up for a law suit.

  • I hope someone can get this killer app to run under Wine...
  • I swear, I had to read that headline three times before I got that it didn't read:

    MPAA releases software for patents

    Just reading the first word probably made me automatically expect the rest of the headline to be some evil deed, so hey, it's understandable, right? :)
  • and send you an automatic refund for their f***-up ?(if they are legal copies). I wish
  • "...helps consumers check whether their computers..."

    Helps consumers of what check their computers ?

    Helps acid consumers check their computers haven't morphed into giant pigeons and hopped off ?

    Helps cocaine consumers check their computers aren't taking the mick and needing a kicking ?

    Helps burger consumers check their computers aren't edible ?

    I hate the word 'consumer' which seems to me to imply that whatever the likes of the MPAA want to pump out I am their with my mouth open and my tounge flapping j
  • YES!!!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by gomaze (105798) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:03PM (#11504008) Homepage
    Now I can keep up with what porn my dad is downloading. Why do they always assume that it is the younger generation that is the problem.

    -----
    No, I will not touch you there
  • So who is going to be the first to write software that will circumvent the MPAA Parent File Scan tool?
  • One could implement checking against a database of checksums for some of the most commonly shared files; it obviously would not be comprehensive, however.

    I'd be more curious as to what they intend to do with all the IPs of users that downloaded the program or perhaps even browsed the site.
  • I just discovered I have accidentally installed software on my computer that allows me to make copies of document files and send them to other people, allowing the reproduction of copyrighted material.

    Among the file extensions of the affected material are:

    • .pdf
    • .doc
    • .xls
    • .ppt
    How much money is there in a tool to identify these files on a computer and warn parents? And how do we stop malicious people from distributing these so-called "Operating systems?". Oh wait a moment...
  • by ianscot (591483) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:07PM (#11504061)
    Let's hear it for the MPAA and its efforts to make things easier for parents.

    For example, their ratings system does a graet job of giving "Billy Elliott" and "Waiting for Guffman" R ratings, because goodness knows no 13-year-old has ever hear bad language or encountered tacitly gay characters. Violence like Daredevil's "paperclips stabbing your throat until you choke to death" gets a PG-13 -- and so does a fantastic family movie like "Whale Rider" -- because there was apparently a bong in the background in one scene.

    We're ever so eager to hear their parenting advice in other areas.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:08PM (#11504072)
    Parent File Scan is brought to you by DtecNet Software ApS. This free program allows you to search your computer for installed P2P applications as well as movie and music files. You will then be given the option to remove the identified applications and delete infringing movie and music files in a few easy steps. The program does not distinguish between legal and illegal copies, as it is up to the user to determine, whether the files found by the program have been acquired legally, or whether the material should be deleted. Information generated by the program will be made available only to the program's user and will not be shared with or reported to DtecNet Software or any other body.

    Taken directly from the download page. Bold emphasis mine.
  • by hoggoth (414195) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:10PM (#11504095) Journal
    Does it include a handy form you can fill out to turn your kids in to the FBI?

    And when you turn them in, and the MPAA sues your kids, do they indemnify the parents from the legal fees and penalties? Just send those subversive kids to prison where they belong.

    I bet this is a big hit with concerned parents everywhere.

  • This software tags every movie/music file, merely "virtually" all files. I love how when i ran it, it picked up the MP3's I had gotten from a local band first. And apparently, it doesn't pick up i2hub as a P2P app, but does pick up both Soulseek and Azureus.
  • Technical merits, or lack thereof, aside, at least the MPAA is trying to get parents involved. Hopefully I won't get too old/lazy/senile to keep track of what my kids are doing on their computer. But sadly many parents don't know what their kids are watching on TV to say nothing of what's on their computers, otherwise spyware/malware wouldn't be so rampant.

    Maybe the MPAA tool will serve as a gateway for hitherto uninvolved parents to get involved. Now for the cold reality, even if the tool worked well, it
  • Don't be amazed when your kids turn your uppermiddle class psychochristian soccermom Libertarian pot smoking ass over to the DEA.

    I will fucking cheer when that happens.
  • All it does is search for files. It cannot distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate files.

    But wouldn't it be much simpler for parents to simply search for "*.mpg *.avi *.mpg" on their computers?! Or is that too complicated for the average (l)user?!

  • by wertarbyte (811674) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:21PM (#11504218) Homepage
    find / -iregex '.*\.\(avi\|wmv\|mpg\|mp3\|ogg\)' | while read FILE; do
    echo "$FILE belongs to us, Resistance is futile."
    done
  • by snookerdoodle (123851) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:42PM (#11504455)
    $ wine: cannot determine executable type for L"Z:\\home\\mark\\Downloads\\ParentFileScan_setup. msi"
  • MPAA is lying (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordRevan (854200) on Friday January 28, 2005 @12:47PM (#11504525)
    the program is sending data out after the scan finishes, I've been running packet sniffs with ethereal, but can't find anything that says what is being sent, but after watching my packet count go up a couple thousand at the end of the scan sounds strange to me, and going from no traffic to a small spike after the scan gives me reason to not trust it at all.
  • by dspyder (563303) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:16PM (#11504847)
    Excuse me for not downloading the program, but their website makes it sound like the application offers the chance to delete files.

    Could we all get together and flood the MPAA and the developer (assuming they're evil by association) and call them about all of our deleted home movies and recording and Windows missing its sounds?

    No contact phone on dtecnet's support page [purestatic.com].

    --D

    p.s. Did anyone else notice in the scrolling background of the MPAA page that their users names like gay1e@fileshare, wildchick29076, anonymous, and more!

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