Lysonski and Durvasula (2008)
|Lysonski and Durvasula (2008)|
|Title:||Digital piracy of MP3s: Consumer and ethical predispositions|
|Author(s):||Lysonski, S., Durvasula, S.|
|Citation:||Lysonski, S., & Durvasula, S. (2008). Digital piracy of MP3s: consumer and ethical predispositions. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 25(3), 167-178.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Chiou, Cheng and Huang (2011), Hunt, Williams, Nicholas and Rowlands (2009)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The total sample was 364 representing 156 males and 208 females. The respondents represented a cross section of undergraduate class levels, majors, and grade point averages. the respondents were asked to complete the survey in thirty minutes.|
|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:||
Purpose – Illegal downloading of music has become an inexorable and rampant activity particularly among college students who have been little deterred by industry legal actions. The purpose of this research is to examine the present state of downloading and how ethical orientation and attitudes towards MP3 piracy impact such activities. This paper also aims to use ethical scenarios as a way of understanding the ethical reasoning in illegal downloading.
Design/methodology/approach – Key research questions are proposed that are related to illegal downloading. A sample of 364 university students was used to examine each research question. Statistical results are reported.
Findings – The results clearly show that downloading continues at a high rate today driven by strong belief that it is not ethically wrong. Ethical orientation was found to be positively associated with awareness of the social cost of downloading, consequences of downloading, and ethical belief in downloading. Ethical scenarios show that ethical orientation is also associated with downloading activities and with stealing. Other results indicate that respondents believe that their peers are more prone to stealing music and downloading MP3s illegally. Fear of consequences does seem to have an impact on the propensity to download illegally.
Practical Implications – The paper contributes to inform industry representatives that appeal to ethic or guilt are not likely to deter illegal downloading measurably. The use of punishment for downloaders may have a short-term effect but other (more positive) measures are required.
Originality/value – No research has examined downloading MP3s in the manner developed in this paper. The paper contributes to a better understanding of consumer behavior among those who download. The results provide insight into a serious problem in the recording industry that is likely to persist in the distant future unless sound measures are developed.
Main Results of the Study
This article aims at examining how beliefs about music piracy, motives and practices as well as ethical orientations and attitudes relate to illegal downloading. More precisely, this research shows that:
- Past behavior is likely to condition future behavior through a habituation effect.
- Appealing to students using a guilt appeal is not likely to be effective.
- There is a disconnection between a student’s ethical nature and their social and ethical beliefs about downloading.
- Intentions to download are associated with beliefs that there is no social cost to downloading; there are social benefits to downloading; it is ethical to download; and there are legal consequences to downloading.
- The fear of punishment (i.e. consequences of downloading) does have a negative impact on the intention to commit downloading.
- Students are in the middle of the scale in expressing their likelihood of downloading such music and are more “considerate” to artists who have been less successful. Also, students believe that their peers are more likely than they to engage in unethical acts concerning stealing music in stores or on line.
- Students’ ethics do have an impact on the propensity to engage in stealing music from a store or online, especially their ethical idealism.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- Despite the media attention given to the consequences of illegal downloading, students do not seem to be overly concerned.
- Ethical orientation was not associated with past or future illegal downloading activity. However, if ethical idealism can be increased, there is likely to be heightened consciousness about downloading.
- The efficacy of using a guilt appeal as considered by the RIAA is questionable given the findings.
- People may not identify ethics as an issue when it comes to nonphysical/tangible goods like digital files, as research on copying software seems to suggest.
- If people suspect that they would be caught and punished, then they are less likely to download illegally. From this perspective, RIAA’s decision to file lawsuits against some people, prosecute them, and disseminate such news is likely to have some impact.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||University students|
|Period of material under study:||2008|