Why do people file share unlawfully? A systematic review, meta-analysis and panel study

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Author(s)Fleming P, Watson SJ, Patouris E, Bartholomew KJ, Zizzo DJ
Publication type Article
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
ISSN (print)0747-5632
ISSN (electronic)1873-7692
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Unlawful digital media sharing is common and believed to be extremely damaging tobusiness. Understanding unlawful file sharers’ motivations offers the opportunity to developbusiness models and behavioral interventions to maximize consumers’ and businesses’benefit. This paper uses a systematic review of unlawful file sharing research, and the Theoryof Planned Behavior, to motivate a large-scale panel study in which initial determinants wereused to predict subsequent behavior. A meta-analysis found Attitudes, Subjective Norms andPerceived Behavioral Control were all associated with unlawful file sharing. Media type anddemographic differences in the importance of Perceived Behavioral Control were found andattributed to more accurate evaluation of familiar activities, i.e., greater experience increasesthe influence of Perceived Behavioral Control but age does not.The panel study confirmed that greater past experience was associated with PerceivedBehavioral Control and Intention. We conclude that past experience increases the efficacy ofthe Theory of Planned Behavior and specifically Perceived Behavioral control in predictingbehavior, contrary to some widely held beliefs about the role of experience. The role ofexperience is therefore crucial to understanding people’s choices. Practically, improvingsocial approval, positive evaluation and access to lawful media should reduce unlawfulbehavior.
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