Konstantakis, Palaigeorgiou, Siozos and Tsoukalas (2010)
|Konstantakis, Palaigeorgiou, Siozos and Tsoukalas (2010)
|What do computer science students think about software piracy?
|Konstantakis, N. I., Palaigeorgiou, G. E., Siozos, P. D., Tsoukalas, I. A.
|Konstantakis, N. I., Palaigeorgiou, G. E., Siozos, P. D., & Tsoukalas, I. A. (2010). What do computer science students think about software piracy?. Behaviour & Information Technology, 29(3), 277-285.
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|About the Data
|Dataset consists of 56 semi-structured interviews with 30 male and 26 female computer science students who were attending the fourth year of studies at a Greek university. The authors also use secondary data about software piracy in Greece, provided by ‘Business Software Alliance 2008’ for the period 2003–2007.
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Today, software piracy is an issue of global importance. Computer science students are the future information and communication technologies professionals and it is important to study the way they approach this issue. In this article, we attempt to study attitudes, behaviours and the corresponding reasoning of computer science students in Greece regarding software piracy. The statements taken in 56 semi-structured interviews with students indicate that computer science students in Greece make intensive use of pirated software, mention as main reason for their practice the cost of genuine software, and blame the academic environment, coincidental stereotypes and their student status for this behaviour. They acknowledge the immoral character of their actions, as well as the fact that others are affected by software piracy, but they pay little attention to this action and they practically don’t care. While keeping distance from software development companies, when specifically asked, they easily adopt the role of a software developer and attempt to substantiate their current and eventually future attitude out of hand. They consider software copyright laws to be inapplicable and unrealistic and fail to argue against intellectual property rights for mere digital products, such as software.
Main Results of the Study
This article aims at recording the attitudes, behaviours and moral reasoning of computer science students towards software intellectual property rights. This analysis of student arguments contributes to the designing of instructional initiatives aiming to raise awareness against software piracy. It shows that:
- All computer science students participating in the research are using pirated software. The students admit that they began to use pirated software when they started using their computer, independently of their studies.
- The vast majority replied that at first they hadn’t even thought about software intellectual rights while using pirated software, because using such software was the prevalent social practice.
- Students do not show any remorse for using pirated software and their statements confirm the low moral intensity of software piracy.
- Students rationalise the continuous use of pirated software, claiming that they can not ‘bear’ the cost of genuine software. The majority of students consider genuine software as overpriced for home users or for themselves.
- The majority of students are not aware of intellectual property laws, whereas those who have knowledge of them admit that their knowledge is limited.
- Computer science students do not demonstrate a strong interest in analysing their prospective professional life or in developing professional conduct in regard to software piracy.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
A well-structured, prompt implementation of educational initiatives seems to be necessary to raise conscience among computer science students about the importance of software intellectual rights and their obligations as future ICTs professionals.
Coverage of Study
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