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Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line Pirates

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Digital piracy—a type of copyright infringement—is a global phenomenon that allegedly contains grave economic consequences for intellectual property industries. Its pervasiveness has produced a global piracy subculture. This article describes our study of digital pirates who actively participate in an on-line discussion board dedicated to copyright infringement. It explores their motivations, techniques of neutralization, and contradictions within a community-wide belief system. Motivations among this group include a desire to share content, to sample content before purchasing, to acquire intellectual property that is unaffordable, and to subvert copyright law. We then apply Sykes and Matza's (1957) techniques of neutralization. Finally, we discuss contradictions within this group's belief systems; specifically acceptance and rejection of capitalism and state power and formal control.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Sam Houston State University, Huntsville,Texas, USA 2: Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond,Kentucky, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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