Levin, Dato-On and Manolis (2007)

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Film and motion pictures Sound recording and music publishing Photographic activities PR and communication Software publishing (including video games) Specialised design Television programmes Translation and interpretation

1. Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare 2. Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)? 3. Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors) 4. Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption) 5. Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)

A. Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right) B. Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction) C. Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing) D. Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability) E. Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts) F. Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Source Details

Levin, Dato-On and Manolis (2007)
Title: Deterring illegal downloading: The effects of threats appeals, past behavior, subjective norms, and attributions of harm
Author(s): Levin, A. M., Dato-On, M. C., Manolis, C.
Year: 2007
Citation: Levin, A. M., Dato‐on, M. C., & Manolis, C. (2007). Deterring illegal downloading: The effects of threat appeals, past behavior, subjective norms, and attributions of harm. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 6(2‐3), 111-122.
Link(s): Definitive , Open Access
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by: Wingrove, Korpas and Weisz (2011)
About the Data
Data Description: A 3 (level of threat: low, moderate, or high) X 2 (who is harmed by illegal downloading:artist or recording company) experimental design was employed for study one. 388 undergraduates in business classes at a medium-sized south-eastern university took part. Utilizing a 3 (level of threat: weak, moderate, or strong) X 2 (who is harmed by illegal downloading: artist or recording company) full-factorial design, subjects were randomly assigned to one of six experimental conditions. In their classes, the students read one of six scenarios representing the conditions above followed by a series of questions.

Study two expanded on the design of the first study by adding a variable of subjective norms and by including previous downloading behavior in the model. 211 undergraduate students participated in the second experiment.

Data Type: Primary data
Secondary Data Sources:
Data Collection Methods:
Data Analysis Methods:
Industry(ies):
Country(ies):
Cross Country Study?: No
Comparative Study?: No
Literature review?: No
Government or policy study?: No
Time Period(s) of Collection:
  • Not stated
Funder(s):
  • Not stated

Abstract

Abstract:

  • The study employs two experiments to examine the effectiveness of various strategies used to dissuade consumers from downloading music illegally. The research investigates two specific strategies that the recording industry has used: (1) fear or threat appeals (e.g., the threat of punishment, such as fines and/or jail time), and (2) attribution of harm (informing consumers of the harm caused by the illegal downloading of music, such as financial loss to either the artist or the recording company). The study also considers whether past illegal downloading behaviour reduces the effectiveness of these disincentive strategies. Finally, the impact of subjective norms (i.e., whether subjects think their friends would approve of downloading music) was also investigated.
  • Findings indicate a significant effect of threat appeal such that stronger threat appeals were found to be more effective than weaker threat appeals in reducing illegal downloading. The first study also showed that prior illegal downloading behavior does not curtail the effects of threat appeals aimed at reducing illegal downloading. In addition, results reveal no differences in downloading behavior in terms of attribution of harm deterrent strategy (harm to either the recording artist or company). The most interesting finding from the second study is that subjective norms appear to equalize low versus high past downloaders, but only under conditions of weak fear.
  • The current manuscript is the first to examine the impact of four different variables (threat appeals, attribution of harm, subjective norms, and previous downloadingbehavior) on subjects’ likelihood to illegally download music in the future. In particular, this research illuminates the potential importance of social norms in discouraging a type of undesirable consumer behavior but shows that this occurs only under a restricted set of conditions: when threat is low and the consumer is not a habitually high downloader. It should be of interest to those in fields where intellectual property can be pirated on the Internet.

Main Results of the Study

The main results of the study:

  • The results of the two studies indicate that stronger threat appeals lessened the likelihood that students will download music in the future, and students who have downloaded many songs in the past are more likely to download in the future.
  • Contrary to our predictions, we found that attribution of harm had no impact on students’ intentions to download in the future. It is quite possible that college students, who are typically not yet financially independent, have a hard time believing that music artists and/or companies truly need the money that is lost due to downloading music.
  • The most interesting finding from study two was that social norms have a significant impact on future downloading behavior. In other words, college students do care what others think about them downloading songs without paying.
  • In particular, this research illuminates the potential importance of social norms in discouraging a type of undesirable consumer behavior but shows that this occurs only under a restricted set of conditions: when threat is low and the consumer is not a habitually high downloader.
  • For these consumers, the extra incentive of doing what others think is ‘cool’ compensates for low levels of threat but not for higher levels of threat. Current theories concerning the role of social norms in curbing undesirable forms of consumer behavior must consider the moderating role of factors like past behavioral patterns.

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

Policy implications of the study:

  • The results of these two studies have clear implications for marketers of electronic media (music, and possibly movies) who wish to dissuade consumers from pirating their material on the Internet.
  • The use of severe threats seems to be an effective way to diminish the likelihood of downloading, while attributing financial harm to either the company or artist was not found to be particularly effective.
  • In addition, music/movie companies might make better use of their de-marketing efforts by focusing their message on consumers who have already tried illegal downloading, but are not yet ‘habitual’ downloaders.
  • The use of social norms as a disincentive to download music may be particularly effective for certain consumers.
  • Additional research on high school students would be useful to detect when and to what extent the ‘cool’ factor impacts young consumers’ likelihood to illegally download music and/or movies.



Coverage of Study

Coverage of Fundamental Issues
Issue Included within Study
Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare
Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)?
Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors)
Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption)
Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)
Green-tick.png
Coverage of Evidence Based Policies
Issue Included within Study
Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right)
Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction)
Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing)
Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability)
Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts)
Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)
Green-tick.png

Datasets

Sample size: 388
Level of aggregation: University students
Period of material under study: Not stated


Sample size: 211
Level of aggregation: University students
Period of material under study: Not stated