Online piracy spurs high-tech arms race

Thursday, 26 June 2003, 2:34 PM EST

Sharing illegal copies of songs and movies on the Internet is a common practice, with the risks of getting caught slim. But even as the entertainment industry steps up its push to rid the online world of piracy, tech-savvy file sharers are devising new ways to avoid getting caught.

Swapping files online, by all accounts, is more popular than ever. In the past six months alone, no fewer than 50 new versions of "peer-to-peer," or P2P file-trading software programs have emerged on the Internet. Unlike some of the most popular services like Kazaa and Grokster, many of them try to shield the identities of their users with password-protected networks, encryption and other tools.

People who prefer downloading illegally copied files are jumping ship from the big-name networks in favor of these tightly knit communities, said Jorge Gonzalez, co-founder of Zeropaid.com, a Web forum for P2P enthusiasts.

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