Svensson and Larsson (2012)
|Svensson and Larsson (2012)|
|Title:||Intellectual property law compliance in Europe: Illegal file sharing and the role of social norms|
|Author(s):||Svensson, M., Larsson, S.|
|Citation:||Svensson, M., & Larsson, S. (2012). Intellectual property law compliance in Europe: Illegal file sharing and the role of social norms. New media & society, 14(7), 1147-1163.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Two surveys were conducted: the first in January and February 2009, with 1047 internet users aged between fifteen and twenty-five years, and the second in October 2009 with a different set of 1047 internet users, again aged between fifteen and twenty-five years. IPRED was implemented on April 1st 2009. The selection was made randomly for the age group, from the CINT5 panel exchange register that contains details of 250,000 individuals in Sweden (a country with nine million inhabitants), and that represents a national average of the population. The fact that the respondents are on this register means that they have agreed in advance to participate in online self-administered questionnaires (SAQ), and receive a small fee for taking part in a survey. The fact that the surveys were SAQ is of great relevance in this context, as it has been shown that respondents are more likely ‘to report sensitive or illegal behaviour when they are allowed to use the SAQ format than during a personal interview over the telephone or in person’ (Wolf, 2008).|
|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:||
The current study empirically demonstrates the widely discussed gap between copyright law and social norms. Theoretically founded in the sociology of law, the study uses a well-defined concept of norms to quantitatively measure changes in the strength of social norms before and after the implementation of legislation. The ‘IPRED law’ was implemented in Sweden on 1 April 2009, as a result of the EU IPR Enforcement Directive 2004/48/EC. It aims at enforcing copyright, as well as other IP rights, when they are violated, especially online. A survey was conducted three months before the IPRED law came into force, and it was repeated six months later. The approximately one thousand respondents between fifteen and twenty-five years-of-age showed, among other things, that although actual file-sharing behaviour had to some extent decreased in frequency, social norms remained unaffected by the law.
Main Results of the Study
The main results reported by the study:
- The results indicate that the implementation of enforcement strategies in Sweden has not triggered any sudden changes in the strength of social norms relating to illegal file sharing
- However, the fact that IPRED actually changed people’s behaviour with regard to compliance contradicts that conclusion. Behavioural change sometimes leads to changes in the social norm structures, even when the former has occurred as a result of enforcement strategies.
- The survey results show that one possible cause why people in common ignore copyright online is the lack of social norms that reinforce the legal framework. Generally, people observe informal social control, and when the law, as in this instance, lacks a social equivalent, there are only weak incentives for them to comply with it.
- If implementation of IPRED in Swedish legislation on April 1 2009 was able to influence social norms, the effect was marginal; thus the pedagogical effect of the law does not come into play.
- Considerably more respondents stated that they ￼never file-share in Study 2 than is the case in Study 1. This means that the implementation of IPRED actually has had an effect on file sharing as such, but this is a purely deterrent effect rather than a change of social norms.
The study reports the following limitations:
- Limitations inherent in the quantitative approach suggest a need for future qualitative research that complements the understanding of file sharing and legal compliance from a situated-cognitive perspective. This could include the impact of other factors such as the media’s role in communicating legal revisions, or a more language and conceptual metaphor-based approach to copyright formulations and functions in comparison with a digitalized society
- A follow up-study ￼of the same survey as in this study might prove useful in confirming, refuting or nuancing the long-time effects of IPRED’s implementation that are suggested here.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Policy implications of the study include:
- Given the gap shown to exist between copyright law and social norms, there are likely negative and unconsidered consequences of the enforcement strategies.
- Legal enforcement of a copyright regulation that does not correspond with social norms risks working as a stimulus to counter-measures. Given the generativity of the technologies of online communication in networks, these counter-measures may imply an increased diffusion of techniques of online anonymization.
- This means that the legal enforcement of copyright not only risks undermining public confidence in the legal system in general, but also facilitates the diffusion of technological knowledge that will undermine legal enforcement in general when it comes to computer-mediated crime.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Individual|
|Period of material under study:||January-February 2009|
|Level of aggregation:||Individual|
|Period of material under study:||October 2009|