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Byline: Akweli Parker
PHILADELPHIA _ First the original Napster got shut down. Now Grokster is on the ropes, the subject of an unfavorable Supreme Court ruling.
With courts making it clear they do not consider it legal for consumers to share copyrighted music and movie files online, you may be asking yourself: Is what I'm doing, digitally speaking, legit?
Lawyers who specialize in intellectual-property issues say the answers in many cases are not clear-cut.
You are in trouble, they say, if you give or receive copyrighted stuff for free over peer-to-peer networks such as the original Napster or Grokster. And you cannot legally burn duplicate CDs and DVDs of copyright music and movies for sale on the street.
But what about the gray areas? Can you digitally "rip," or record, one song from a CD you have bought and e-mail it, as an MP3 file, to your brother? Can you put your daughter's school photo onto a scanner and print a copy for Grandma?
"There are several tests and factors the courts look at," said Glenn A. Gundersen, a partner at Dechert L.L.P. in Philadelphia and cochair of its intellectual-property group. "One is, are you taking revenue out of the pockets of the creator?"
If so, there is a good chance you are a lawbreaker. …