Fleming et al. (2017)
|Fleming et al. (2017)|
|Title:||Why do people file share unlawfully? A systematic review, meta-analysis and panel study|
|Author(s):||Piers Fleming, Steven J. Watson, Elisavet Patouris, Kimberly J. Bartholomew, Daniel J. Zizzo|
|Citation:||Fleming, P., Watson, S.J., Patouris, E., Batholemew, K.J., and Zizzo, D.J. (2017) Why do people file share unlawfully? A systematic review, meta-analysis and panel study. Computers in Human Behaviour, 27, pp535-548|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Firstly, the authors conducted a systematic review of research relating to perceived behaviour control, attitudes and subjective norms across studies involving theories of planned behaviour. Importantly, studies were divided based on whether the participants concerned were students or non-students.
Thereafter, a panel study was conducted using a questionnaire with some 2,500 completions. A second panel study was executed two months later with over 1,000 participants. Questions were designed to analyse previous unlawful file-sharing behaviours (of music and eBooks), and predictions of future behaviours (using a Likert-type scale).
|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:|
“Unlawful digital media sharing is common and believed to be extremely damaging to business. Understanding unlawful file sharers' motivations offers the opportunity to develop business models and behavioral interventions to maximize consumers' and businesses’ benefit. This paper uses a systematic review of unlawful file sharing research, and the Theory of Planned Behavior, to motivate a large-scale panel study in which initial determinants were used to predict subsequent behavior. A meta-analysis found Attitudes, Subjective Norms and Perceived Behavioral Control were all associated with unlawful file sharing. Media type and demographic differences in the importance of Perceived Behavioral Control were found and attributed to more accurate evaluation of familiar activities, i.e., greater experience increases the influence of Perceived Behavioral Control but age does not.
The panel study confirmed that greater past experience was associated with Perceived Behavioral Control and Intention. We conclude that past experience increases the efficacy of the Theory of Planned Behavior and specifically Perceived Behavioral control in predicting behavior, contrary to some widely held beliefs about the role of experience. The role of experience is therefore crucial to understanding people's choices. Practically, improving social approval, positive evaluation and access to lawful media should reduce unlawful behavior.”
Main Results of the Study
Some media-specific psychologies are evidenced, with e.g. music downloading behaviours being more likely where intention is expressed (e.g. “I will download a music file in the next month”), but eBook downloading is more likely to be influenced by subjective norms. The authors speculate that as music downloading is more common/established, participants are more likely to feel confident in their own behaviours and ergo less influenced by societal perceptions of the behaviour. Conversely, with eBooks this is a less established practice, and so the judgement of others is more likely to be relied on. Overall, past behaviour is consistent with perceived behavioural control and intention, suggesting that ease of accessibility is a significant contributing factor to future behaviours (particularly those with more file-sharing experience).
The study also suggests that repeat file-sharing behaviour is not necessarily mindlessly habitual (e.g. reactive), but rather is a result of enhanced accuracy of beliefs (e.g. reasoned based on ease of access).
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
As a multiplicity of factors are apparent in predicting behaviour, the authors note that a purely legal approach is unlikely to be effective in preventing infringing behaviour. Strong enforcement in the form of fines or imprisonment is also unintuitive given increased file-sharing is correlated with increased sales. Instead, social, behavioural and attitudinal factors should be targeted.
Campaigns may be justifiably split between two sub-groups, namely: “student/young/file-sharing-experienced” group, and; “non-student/older/less-file-sharing-experienced”. The former group are more likely to be impacted by accessibility restrictions, but this should be accompanied by mechanisms to change underlying beliefs (as experienced file-sharers are more likely to adapt to technological changes). The latter are best suited to social campaigns to address social norms, and encourage cognitive engagement with the file-sharing process.