Breaking Eggs And Making Omelettes

Topics On Multimedia Technology and Reverse Engineering


Free Software From The MPAA

January 28th, 2005 by Multimedia Mike

From the Internet Movie Database:

At the same time, [the MPAA] released free software that it said would help parents scan their computers to find file-swapping software and pirated films.

I am most curious about what this free software does. Unfortunately, I find no mention of such software over on

What do you suppose it does? Scan for filenames with known multmedia extensions (.mp3, .avi, .mpg, etc.)? Then compare the base filenames with a list of popular movie titles? Does anyone dare install it for the purpose of experimentation?

I did a little more digging… in their January 26th press release (PDF file) they name the software as “Parent File Scan”. Some Googling reveals that this software is hosted on their site, a link you may remember from those propaganda pieces that precede theater attractions these days. The site is Flash-driven, so they do not score points for trying to make this software accessible.

Further searching on Google reveals numerous news sites parroting the original press release. However, P2PNet has a story explaining how they almost obtained the software. They found an inactive link to the .msi installation file hosted by DtecNet, a rather vacant site. This investigation is at a standstill unless someone has a copy of that ParentalFileWatchSetup.msi file.

Update January 29, 2005: I have been reading reports that the software’s algorithm is a bit naive and tags anything that looks like a media file.

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