The question of whether peer-to-peer file-sharing company Grokster is liable for copyright infringement may not be legally resolved for months.

The question of whether peer-to-peer file-sharing company Grokster is liable for copyright infringement may not be legally resolved for months.

At a hearing today (Feb. 3) before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena, Calif., attorneys representing recording companies, music publishers and film studios argued that an April ruling that cleared Grokster of liability should be overturned. Last year's decision, which also cleared StreamCast, the creator of the file-sharing software Morpheus, was issued in an L.A. federal court.

A decision may take weeks or months.

The 20-year-old Sony v. Betamax decision played a key role in the arguments. That ruling stated that products that could be used for piracy are legal if they are "capable of substantial noninfringing uses."

The entertainment companies say Grokster's business model is based on infringing uses. Grokster says the Betamax ruling was correctly applied in the previous case.