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Title: Understanding digital piracy behavior of individuals in virtual communities
Other Titles: Pou xi ge ren zai xu ni she qun zhong de shu ma dao ban xing wei
Authors: Kwong, Timothy Chung Hang (鄺頌恒)
Department: Department of Information Systems
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Computer crimes.
Piracy (Copyright) -- Social aspects.
Internet -- Social aspects.
Notes: CityU Call Number: HV6773 .K85 2009
xii, 220 leaves 30 cm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 183-212)
Type: thesis
Abstract: In recent years, with the rapid growth of the Internet and related peer-to-peer technology, the situation of digital piracy on the Internet has become increasingly serious. In particular, the growth in the number of virtual communities has facilitated the sharing of files among members of virtual communities. Today, owing to strengthened prosecution by authorities, it is difficult to find a web site that provides copyrighted digital materials (such as music, movies, software, games, etc.) for downloading. As a result, piracy in virtual communities by means of peer-to-peer transfer has become the trend, and the loss to copyright holders is very huge. Previous research has focused on individual behavioral intention itself, which does not completely explain the current situation inside virtual communities. It is therefore important to understand the factors that affect members in virtual communities in sharing copyrighted digital products on the Internet. Prior piracy research has been studied from a wide range of perspectives, such as economical, legal, ethical, culture, social, and psychological. One of the major focuses in prior research has been on individual behavioral intention for piracy behavior. The purpose in this study is to examine the behavior and the behavioral intention of individuals to engage in digital piracy in virtual communities. A research model is developed that is based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to explain individual digital piracy behavior. However, piracy in virtual communities is affected not only by individual personal choice, but also by a collective action within the virtual community. This research therefore focuses on the individual behavior under group settings. In the model development, literature from other research areas, as well as virtual communities, is incorporated to reflect group interaction. In the literature of virtual communities, there are no studies that directly use virtual communities as a facilitating medium for unethical and even illegal purposes, such as digital piracy. This research fills in the gap. By incorporating theories from different disciplines, a research model of digital piracy of virtual communities was established by rigorous development processes. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Hong Kong to empirically test the validity and reliability of the research model. The results supported the research model with high validity and reliability. The same study was then replicated in China and the US to increase the generalizability of the research model. The results obtained in China and the US support those obtained in Hong Kong with some minor differences in path loadings of the research model. The implications of the results, as well as the differences among the three areas, are discussed critically with contributions, limitations, and further research directions considered. With the research model, it is hoped to contribute to more understanding on digital piracy by members of virtual communities.
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