|Title:||Internet Scallywags: A Comparative Analysis of Multiple Forms and Measurements of Digital Piracy|
|Citation:||Gunter, W.D. (2009) Internet Scallywags: A Comparative Analysis of Multiple Forms and Measurements of Digital Piracy. Western Criminology Review10(1):15-28|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Data were obtained from 513 survey respondents, consisting of undergraduate students from a US public university. Dependent variables measured the participants’ involvement in piracy against the two independent variables (peer activity and parental support) and two deterrent variables (punishment certainty and punishment severity).|
|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:||
“Internet-based digital piracy has recently become a widespread occurrence. Despite this growth, few studies have attempted to apply criminological theory to the crime. This study tests the explanatory power of two criminological theories, general deterrence and differential association, on Internet piracy of music, software and movies. Data used in this study were collected from 541 undergraduate college students from a mid-Atlantic university. Separate models were estimated for willingness to and involvement in digital piracy. The results show that variables derived from differential association theory, such as peer activity and parental support, as well as several control variables including gender, connection speed, income, and place of residence, are predictive of digital piracy. Distinctions between willingness and actual involvement are discussed. Implications for future research and potentially more effective prevention strategies are also addressed.”
Main Results of the Study
Piracy behaviours are more likely when users have consistent association with peers who participate in piracy themselves and parental approval of this behaviour. By contrast deterrence measures against piracy are not effective where punishment is perceived as unlikely and weak.
The study suggests that not all types of piracy are equal, with substantive differences between effects of control variables in music, software and movies. Punishment certainty, university major and class year and their effect on determining piracy behaviours have high variability between these industries. The study suggests that this is indicative that further, industry-specific empirical research is required to substantiate these findings.
The study also questions how previous studies have used willingness as a proxy for involvement in piracy behaviours. The study finds that where this is the case, willingness tends to overestimate the effect of certain variables (e.g. by increasing the effect of differential association on music piracy from 11.6% - 29.6%)
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The study highlights the importance of differential association in determining piracy behaviours, particularly association with peers and family who either participate in the behaviour or approve of it. Though it is difficult/impossible to prevent association with deviant peers, the study suggests that educational programmes on ethical aspects of piracy may combat these social environments. As deterrence effects are very limited unless punishment is likely and severe, the study cautions that drastic policy changes would be needed in order to achieve this.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Students|
|Period of material under study:||2006|