Sure, the music companies consider it stealing, but to you it’s just sharing the musical love. But cue those tracks up and –foiled! The Sheryl Crow file is nothing more than an endless loop of the chorus; the Eminem file consists of blips, bloops and then uncharacteristic silence. Congratulations, my technologically adept friend: you’ve just been spoofed.

Spoofing is the latest antipiracy tactic by big music corporations seeking to protect their investments. Earlier methods consisted of suing file-sharing sites, broadcasting just-say-no ads, even gluing together the CD players sent to music critics to prevent piracy. But now the major companies have begun following the ancient lesson of the Trojan Horse, flooding sites like Morpheus and Kazaa with time-wasting fakes that look just like the real thing. The goal is to lower the value of every trading network, making file-sharing so frustrating it’s not worth anyone’s while.