Altschuller and Benbunan-Fich (2009)
|Altschuller and Benbunan-Fich (2009)|
|Title:||Is music downloading the new prohibition? What students reveal through an ethical dilemma|
|Author(s):||Altschuller, S., Benbunan-Fich, R.|
|Citation:||Altschuller, S., & Benbunan-Fich, R. (2009). Is music downloading the new prohibition? What students reveal through an ethical dilemma. Ethics and Information Technology, 11(1), 49-56.|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Bellemare and Holmberg (2010)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Dataset includes 251 Individuals divided into 87 groups, and each group provided a report answering four key questions. The questions focussed on both the ethics and recommended behaviour for a case study of a student downloading music.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
Although downloading music through unapproved channels is illegal, statistics indicate that it is widespread. The following study examines the attitudes and perceptions of college students that are potentially engaged in music downloading. The methodology includes a content analysis of the recommendations written to answer an ethical vignette. The vignette presented the case of a subject who faces the dilemma of whether or not to download music illegally. Analyses of the final reports indicate that there is a vast and inconsistent array of actions and underlying feelings toward digital music downloading. The findings reveal inconsistencies between participants’ recommendations (what the subject should do) and their attitudes and opinions on the matter (what they would do in a similar situation). These inconsistencies support the notion that as technology evolves, it creates discrepancies between the way things are and the way the law expects them to be, leaving society in a muddle, trying to reconcile the two. What remains to be seen is whether the discrepancy in the case of music downloading becomes extreme enough that the law changes to accommodate an increasingly prevalent behavior, or whether new business models will emerge to bridge the gap between legality and reality.
Main Results of the Study
The following study is an investigation into what is occurring in society’s collective mind as it continues to download digital music. More specifically, this paper argues that:
- It groups the perceptions of music downloading that underlie the decision to refrain from or partake in this growing trend. It seeks signs of a possible perceived discrepancy between law and ethics and some indications of a resolution of such a conflict.
- By analyzing the group reports, the authors obtain quantitative and qualitative data to understand and illustrate where the students stand in the music downloading debate, and to understand how students reason through ethical dilemmas.
- These quantitative and qualitative results also serve to highlight the lack of clarity that is so obviously surrounding the ability to very easily and inexpensively gain access to the same music that would otherwise be very costly.
- Ultimately, as the survey shows, the law dictates society to refrain, but society overwhelmingly chooses otherwise.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The technological ease of downloading music has created a situation where there is a discrepancy between what people think about music piracy, the likelihood of engaging in piracy and the laws governing music piracy. The author likens the situation to the prohibition of alcohol in the US in the 1920s. Either a change in the legal framework is required or a change in business models, to allow for the changed behaviour regarding priracy to be accommodated in a way that is acceptable to music rights-holders.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Individual|
|Period of material under study:||2009|