Gartner Group Study Shows That Many Internet Users Are Unsure Of Legality Of Downloading
The issue may still be under debate in the courts, but Net surfers have already made up their minds about file-sharing services such as Napster, Gnutella and Scour. A new survey by the Gartner Group reveals that many Internet users believe those services violate copyright laws.

Among U.S. Internet users who listen to downloaded files, 28% agree that using file-sharing sites violates copyright laws, 28% disagree and 44% are downloading files but are not sure about the legality of doing so.

"It is fascinating to see that nearly a third of people who download music believe that it is a copyright violation," said P.J. McNealy, senior analyst for Gartner's e-Business Services group, and the company's reigning Defender champion. "Another 44% likely have plausible deniability until there is a clear message from the courts about whether these sites are legal."

Gartner also surveyed U.S. users that do not download files over the Internet but were interested in doing so. Of those users, 42% of these users thought it was illegal to download the files through file-sharing sites, 14% thought it was legal and 43% said they were confused and not sure if it was legal or illegal.

"The absence of a legal alternative is clearly driving a significant percentage of music listeners to participate in an activity that they know or suspect to be illegal," said Gartner e-Biz VP Van Baker. "And they're also downloading pirated songs."