Technology: Playing In The Dark

The heat is on, and music swappers are taking their business underground

Muffin Man has more than 2,000 songs on his hard drive, and he's happy to share them. He's a big fan of bands like Pearl Jam and the White Stripes, so there's plenty of hard rock in his collection.

But chances are you'll never get to it. The 21-year-old pizza cook, who asked to be identified by his online nickname, makes his songs available only through private file-sharing networks known as darknets. Unlike such public networks as Kazaa or Morpheus, which let you share songs with anyone, private networks operate more like underground nightclubs or secret societies. To gain access, you...

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