Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 78, Issue 4, pp 527–545 | Cite as

Factors that Influence the Intention to Pirate Software and Media



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.


intention toward digital piracy ethical behavior theory of planned behavior moral obligation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Information SystemsUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleU.S.A.
  2. 2.College of Business AdministrationKuwait UniversitySafatKuwait

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