Online Pirating Hub Upgrades File-Sharing System

The Pirate Bay is the biggest website on the Internet to find illegal movies, music, games and software. The notorious file pirating site has changed the way it works — making it harder to trace pirated files.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Pirate Bay is the biggest site on the Internet to find illegally downloaded movies, music, games and software, and it has just changed its file-sharing system.

As NPR's Sami Yenigun reports, this change makes it harder to track down the pirates.

SAMI YENIGUN, BYLINE: Pirates are constantly improving their technology. When Napster's central server was shut down more than 10 years ago, people went to decentralized Gnutella to find pirated music. And for the past several years, torrents have been a go to. They cut download speeds for users by chopping files into little pieces.

The Pirate Bay's newest offering, magnet files, are like torrents on steroids, says Hemu Nigam, founder of the Internet security firm SSP Blue.

HEMU NIGAM: It's a much smaller file, it makes it easier to manage, and you've made it also harder for people to identify where torrents live and therefore, people who were not inclined to pirate in the first place may be willing to get in the game now.

YENIGUN: Nigam used to be the VP of Internet Enforcement at the MPAA. It was his job to keep movies off of these pirate sites, and says it was like playing a game of whack-a-mole.

NIGAM: And I think now you're playing whack-a-mole and it's like at level five when things are popping up much faster and how do you beat it down?

YENIGUN: That's a question that Hollywood doesn't have an answer for yet. Last week, the most pirated movie torrent was "Tower Heist."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TOWER HEIST")

EDDIE MURPHY: (as Slide) Ya'll got 15 minutes to go out and steal me somethin'.

YENIGUN: It's a movie about people stealing money from a wealthy businessman.

Sami Yenigun, NPR News.

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