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It's not really theft!: personal and workplace ethics that enable software piracy

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This study examines predictors of software piracy, a practice estimated to cost the software industry between $4 and $12 billion in lost revenue annually. Correlates with software piracy were explored using responses from a university wide survey ( n = 589). Forty-four percent of university employees reported having copies of pirated software (mean = 5.0 programmes), while thirty-one percent said they have made unauthorized copies (mean = 4.2 programmes). A structural model was developed based on (1) previous studies of software piracy, (2) consequential aspects of intellectual property, and (3) the theories of planned behaviour (Ajzen 1985), and reasoned action as applied to moral behaviour (Vallerand et al . 1992). This model indicates that social norms, expertise required, gender, and computer usage (both home and at work), all have direct effects on self-reported piracy. In addition, ease of theft, people's sense of the proportional value of software, and various other demographic factors were found to affect piracy indirectly. Theoretical as well as practical implications for the design and marketing of software are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1998-01-01

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