Cronan and Al-Rafee (2008)
|Cronan and Al-Rafee (2008)|
|Title:||Factors that influence the intention to pirate software and media|
|Author(s):||Cronan, T. P., Al-Rafee, S.|
|Citation:||Cronan, T. P., & Al-Rafee, S. (2008). Factors that influence the intention to pirate software and media. Journal of Business Ethics, 78(4), 527-545.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Al-Rafee and Dashti (2012), Robertson, Mcneill, Green and Roberts (2012), Wang and McClung (2011), Wang, Chen, Yang and Farn (2009), Yoon (2011), Yoon (2012)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The sample for this study is based on a student sample from a business college at a university in the Midwest. The instrument was administered to a total of eleven (11) classes during regular class time (one sophomore class, seven (7) junior classes, two (2) senior classes, and one graduate class). 280 usable responses were received. A review of the sample indicates that 164 (58.6%) of which were male students and 116 (41.4%) were female students. The average age for the students in the sample was 23.5 years with an average GPA of 3.1. The majority of the students (76.7%) were either in their junior or senior year, and had an average full-time work experience of 2.3 years.|
|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:||
This study focuses on one of the newer forms of software piracy, known as digital piracy, and uses the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) as a framework to attempt to determine factors that influence digital piracy (the illegal copying/downloading of copyrighted software and media files). This study examines factors, which could determine an individual’s intention to pirate digital material (software, media, etc.). Past piracy behavior and moral obligation, in addition to the prevailing theories of behavior (Theory of Planned Behavior), were studied to determine the influence on digital piracy intention. Based on the results of this study, planned behavioral factors in addition to past piracy behavior and moral obligation were found to influence an individual’s intention to pirate digital material. Attitude, past piracy behavior, perceived behavior control, and moral obligation explained 71 percent of the intention to pirate variance. Using these results, a better understanding of why individuals pirate is presented and can be used to help combat digital piracy.
Main Results of the Study
Using the components of attitude, perceived behavioral control, moral obligation, and past piracy behavior to structure this model, the study found that:
- Past piracy behavior had the greatest effect on the intention to pirate. This suggests that subjects who have previously pirated digital material have a higher intention to pirate in the future, especially as the frequency of pirating increases. 76.5% of the subjects in this study have previously pirated.
- The differences between males and females subjects with respect to past piracy behavior is noted. Of those who have not pirated digital material, 36.4% were men and 63.6% were women. Of those who have pirated digital material in the past, 65.1% were men and 34.9% were women.
- Moral obligation also had a large effect on the intention to pirate digital material. Subjects who felt more guilt or moral obligation toward digital piracy have a lower intention to pirate. 50.7% of the subjects felt more guilt or moral obligation that pirating was not right, while 23.6% felt pirating was alright and acceptable behavior.
- When comparing men and women, both groups felt that pirating was not right (54% and 46.5%, respectively).
- Perceived behavioral control (PBC) also had an effect on the intention to pirate. Subjects who have the skills and resources to pirate digital media have a higher intention of pirate digital media. 84.3% of the subjects reported that it was easy or very easy to pirate digital media, and only 0.3% found it hard or very hard to pirate. In response to this high PBC, it is also interesting to note that the music and movie industries have been making pirating much more difficult to accomplish.
- Attitude was not the best predictor of intention in terms of explained variance (as was the case in previous studies). This could be a result of the high correlation between attitude and moral obligation (r = 0.6481).
- 43.9% of the subjects indicated a more favorable attitude toward digital piracy, while 23.6% had a less favorable attitude and 32.5% neutral.
- It is also noted that subjective norms was not significant in the extended TPB piracy intention model.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Potential policy implications:
- Given that subjects believed that it was very easy to pirate digital material, as indicated by the PBC score, one method of prevention could be new technologies such as Digital Rights Management (DRM), which are already being implemented by many companies to control the distribution and use of their digital material (Sundararajan, 2004).
- The subjects in this study also believed that they had the resources necessary to pirate digital material. CD burners are available at very reasonable prices and blank CDs are even cheaper than computer floppy disks. One option is to increase the cost/supply of these resources needed for piracy. By increasing the cost of piracy and decreasing the cost of the digital material, digital piracy can be combated effectively.
- Since students have access to high-speed internet at their universities, a complete Hollywood movie can be downloaded in less than 30 minutes. Many universities are now employing high-end firewalls to prevent the illegal trading of digital media. The next step would be to target ISPs and software makers (that create these file-swapping programs) to curb digital piracy.
- Many subjects didn’t feel a great deal of guilt about pirating digital media; that it was acceptable behavior. There was a low level of guilt (moral obligation) towards digital piracy. To combat this, society has to be informed of how harmful piracy is. One method is the use of targeted ads like the ones targeting smoking in young teenagers.
- Another method is the use of advertisements in movie theatres explaining how piracy affects the motion picture industry as well as individuals that are a part of the industry. Different harmful aspects of piracy should be presented to consumers in the public opinion court. Examples of appropriate behavior must be emphasized.
- Another way would be to enforce newer ethical codes of conduct for information systems professional that stress different types of piracy (not just software) and its effect on business and society as a whole.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||University students|
|Period of material under study:||2008|