Secret networks protect music swappers

Wednesday, 30 July 2003, 7:47 PM EST

These private file-swapping networks have surfaced just as the music industry has been granted dozens of subpoenas seeking the names of those who trade copyrighted material on popular services such as Kazaa, Imesh, and Gnutella.

The private networks are open to smaller groups of perhaps 20 to 30 people who liberally share music, television shows, movies and computer programs. Members of such networks believe they can avoid legal consequences because their identities and actions are masked with the same technology used to protect online credit card transactions.

"You've got the right set of early adopters, people that are involved in the community who are evangelizing it," said Travis Kalanick, whose MP3 search engine Scour was sued and shut down by the music industry. "It's going to be there if and when there is a mass exodus from networks like Kazaa and Gnutella."

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