Software piracy is one of the worst problems facing the software industry, and the piracy rate around the world is rising and in 2008 alone software industry lost more than US$ 5.3 billion due to software piracy, and in the same time frame Malaysian software industry lost around US$ 368 million.
Many previous researches concluded that software piracy is common among college students, preventive and deterrents techniques were no effective in combating the piracy problem, therefore there is a great urgency to identify the factors that leads to software piracy in order to formulate better strategies to overcome the problem.
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This research identified six variables that influence the intention of college students to use pirated software; they are Gender, Age, Value Consciousness, Attitude, Peer pressure and Novelty seeking.
A survey was conducted with students who are attending colleges in Selangor, Malaysia, with a total of 247 respondents participated in the survey. The study found out that Value consciousness, Attitude, Peer pressure and Novelty seeking are the factors that has significant relationship with intention to use pirated software, however gender and age was not found to be significant factors that influence the intention to use pirated software.
Software piracy can be considered as robbery, an infringement of copyrights, and anything that is copyrighted can be pirated and almost anything worth copying is worth pirating (Honick and Craig, 2005).
Independent study sponsored by Business software Alliance (BSA) shows that software piracy is the worst problem that software industry faced, BSA defines software piracy as the unauthorized copying or distribution of software’s. When the end users purchase the software they do not become the owner of the product, however they have the rights to use the software under the terms and conditions oppose by the copyright owner of the software.
According to Microsoft there are 5 basic type of piracy,
1- End user copying: Here individuals or organizations copy and distribute unlicensed copies of the software or purchase a licensed copy and use beyond the allowed limits.
2- Hard disk loading: this is practiced by computer manufacturers who use a legal copy of a software to install as many PC they want and sold to end users who are not aware of the wrong doing
3- Counterfeiting: software and its packaging are illegally produced in a large scale.
4- Online: Online piracy occurs when the end user download the software from an online source without the permission of the copyright owner.
5- License misuse: software distributed with a discount rates for the high-volume customers, computer manufactures, and academic institutions that then redistribute these software to others who are not qualified for the software.
TA study conducted by BSA (200X), shows that piracy rates went up from 38% in 2007 to 41% in 2008 worldwide, however the encouraging news is that among the 110 countries the study was conducted, in 57 counties (52%) the piracy went down and in one third of the countries piracy remained unchanged (35%).The monetary losses for software vendors grew from US $ 5.1 billion to US $ 5.3 billion from 2007 to 2008.
Lowest piracy countries according to the BSA(200x), research were the United States Luxemburg, New Zealand and Japan, at around 20% and highest piracy rates were among Armenia, Georgia, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe around 90%.
Research conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC 200X) shows that, if piracy is lowered 10% in four years it will create more that 600,000 jobs worldwide. Robert Holleyman, the president and CEO of Business software Alliance stated that in 2008 more that 40% of the software installed worldwide was obtained illegally and cost US $ 50 billion of losses to the software industry.
For every dollar of the software sold another 3 or 4 dollars are paid to the local IT farms, in other words software piracy means less jobs in Information Technology Industry, as per IDC (200x) study if piracy is reduced 10%, governments will generate more that US $ 24 billion in revenue without increasing tax. According to Rothken (1998) buyers of legitimate software has to pay an additional 15 dollars to every 100 dollars spent on software, meaning software add 15% to the price of legitimate software because of software piracy.
Software piracy will also increase cybercrime and security problems, a study conducted by IDC in 2006 shows that more than 29% of the websites and 61% of peer-to-peer sites offering illegal software infect the computers with virus and other types of identity theft tools.
Software piracy is somewhat out of controlled in the real world, Microsoft investigators found pirated software in the computers of a police department who were investigating piracy, and also one out of three software used in business are pirated ( Carbon 1997).
The population of Malaysia is estimated at 28 million and spends more than US$ 4.6 billion in information technology, which is 2.9% of the annual GDP. There are more than 6,900 companies employing 222,100 employers in the field of information technology (BSA, 2007).
In Malaysia piracy increased by 1% (from 58% in 2007 to 59% in 2008) and it terms of financial losses, Malaysia lost over US $ 368 million compare to US $ 311 million in 2007. If piracy could be brought down to 10% in next 4 years (2008-2011), Malaysia could create an additional 2,600 jobs, financial gain of US $ 660 million to Malaysian software companies and US $ 144 million in tax revenue for federal, regional and local governments (BSA, 2007).
This research aim to find the common factors that influences the intention of college students in Malaysia to use pirated software, as finding these factors will help to combat the issue of software piracy more efficiently.
Software piracy has become a worldwide dilemma due to the financial and economic losses the software industry and governments has to face, also extra cost, viruses and other identity theft problems the consumers have to bear. For an issue that has gone out of control, like software piracy, it’s important to identify grass root problems.
In the case of software piracy it is important to identify what factors influence the intention of individuals to use pirated software; this will help the software industry to come up with better strategies in the fight against software piracy.
TAs colleges and universities are identified as breeding grounds for software piracy by Hinduja (2007,) and use of pirated software is a common problem in universities and which even happens inside classrooms (Kurger 2003) and college students believe it’s ethical to use pirated software (Cohen and Cornwell, 1989), its important to find what factors that influence these behaviors in college students in Malaysian context.
TA study conducted by Cohen and Cornwell (1989) shows that software piracy is acceptable among the college students, research done by Hinduja (2007) illustrate that colleges and universities are breeding grounds for software piracy.
Protecting the intellectual property is a key factor for the copyright holder and for the consumers as well. The financial loss the software companies are facing is due to the casual attitude of the consumers towards intellectual property rights (SIIA & KPMG 2001).
Unauthorized distribution and use of software without copyright owner’s permission is illegal. Number of legal cases conforms that copy right and patent laws apply to computer software. In the case of Whelan Association Inc v. Jaslow Dental Laboratories, Inc (1986), Lotus Development Corp v. Paperback software Int’l (1990), Plains Cotton Corporative International Inc v. Altai Inc (1992) court ruled that intellectual properties were protected (Lau, 2006).
According to the Malaysian copy right act 1987, if an individual or a corporation was found in position with unauthorized software, the user may face criminal charges, they will face a fine of not exceeding RM 10,000 for each infringing copy, or prison sentence of not exceeding five years, or both.
Preventives and deterrents are the commonly used techniques in the fight against software piracy (Gopal and Sanders, 1997), preventives makes it difficult for software crackers to crack the software by increasing the security features. The idea behind the preventive concept is that, when it becomes difficult to crack, the software hackers will find cracking software’s are hard and eventually give up. Deterrent uses the laws and regulation to prevent software piracy.
The truth is preventives and deterrents are not so effective, the higher security that is placed in the software’s are checked by more advanced tools, it’s only a matter of time for software crackers to crack the security codes, the fact that deterrents are not working can be seen from the fact that only 1-5% of the computer abuse is detected.
This proves the need to find the influential factors that derives individuals towards software piracy, understanding these factors will help to formulate better strategies to deal with the problem of software piracy.
There have been number of studies conducted in relation with software piracy among the college students, however a study focused on college students in Malaysia is not found, Since Malaysia also looses enormous amount of revenue and jobs as a result of software piracy, and the fact that colleges and universities are identified as the breeding ground of software piracy and these are the people who are going to be professionals tomorrow, it’s important to identify the factors the influence the intention of college students in Malaysia to use pirated software.
Since most of the current studies are conducted outside Malaysia, there might be some significant difference in the behavior of the college students in Malaysia compare to previous research done in other countries. As there are no researches done on college students in Malaysia, it will be difficult to guaranty that those factors brought in by other literature can we applied to college students in Malaysia. T
This study aims to answer following questions.
Will factors like Value consciousness, Attitude, Peer pressure and Novelty Seeking influence the intention to use pirated software among college student in Malaysia?
Will demographic factors like Age and gender influence the intention to use pirated software among college students in Malaysia?
This study has five chapters; the chapter one includes the background of the problem, problem statement, objective and purpose of the research, justification and research questions.
The second chapter is a Literature review, which talks about different theories related to behavior and ethics, findings of the previous literature and few models used in articles writing in the subject of software piracy are discussed.
Third chapter is the methodology, which talks about the research philosophy, purpose, approach, and strategy and sample selection used in this study.
The forth chapter talks about the findings of the study and the fifth chapter is a conclusion of this study, along with the limitation of the study and further research suggestions.
First part of this chapter reviews different theories related to behavior and ethics, particularly the Theory of Reasoned Actions by Fishbein and Ajzen, Theory of planned behavior by Ajzen and theory of moral development by Kohlberg were discussed, which will be useful in understanding the factors influence an individual’s intention to use pirated software.
Second part of this chapter is focused on the findings of the previous literatures, specifically the literatures related to factors the influence individuals to use pirated software will be examined and finally the models used in some literatures will be used to explain software piracy.
Theory of Reasoned Action, developed by Icek Ajzen and Martin Fishbein (1980) were used to explain why an individual behaves in a certain manner. The theory is based on the assumption that humans are rational and information available to them will be used systematically.
TRA uses attitude and norms to predict behavioral intentions, that is when attitude leads to certain behavior but the relevant norms suggest something else, then both factors influence the behavior.
The Theory of Reasoned Actions (TRA) identifies that behavior is a function of intention and intention is a function of both attitude and subjective norms.
Theory of Reasoned Action is an useful tool used in predicting certain behaviors, its has been applied in predicting number of behaviors like dental hygiene, smoking, breast cancer examinations and the use of seatbelts. (Change, 1998)
Enker (1987) examined how attitude and normative belief is related to cheating and he found out that theory of reasoned action was a useful tool in understanding moral behavior of an individual.
The motive behind explaining the theory of reasoned action is to understand the sequence of actions that leads to a certain behavior such as software piracy.
In 1985, Ajzen concluded that Theory of Reasoned Action was not fully completed; he explained that TRA was insufficient, as it does not give consideration to situations where behavior is not under the individual’s control. To address these restrictions in TRA, Ajzen developed the Theory of Planned behavior (TPB), which was an extension of Theory of Reasoned Actions
The new model proposed by Ajzen included the Perceived Behavior Control (PBC) which was not found in TRA. PBC could be easily measured, and identifies the individuals’ belief on the difficulty level in performing a certain behavior (Ajzen and Madden, 1986).
The Theory of Planned Behavior states that an intention to behave in a particular fashion originates from persons attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control.
Similar to the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) is used is in wide range of situation to predict a behavior (Flanny and May, 2000)
Chang (1998) tested the validity of both Theory of Reasoned Action and Theory of Planned behavior in software piracy. The research was conducted to see the capacity of TRA to explain software piracy behavioral intentions and to see whether TPB can predict software piracy more accurately than TRA.
Chang (1998) concluded that perceived behavioral control is the most important factor that influences individuals to used pirated software. Individuals who behave unethically most of the time do not have the full control of the situation. Opportunities must be available to the individual for him to use pirated software.
Kohlberg (1969) developed the theory of moral development, which consists of 3 level of moral development and each level contains 2 stages. The concept behind the moral development stages is that, an individual mature morally when they mature intellectually.
Preconvention is the first level of moral development, this is the beginning of the moral development process, and in the first stage of preconvention level (Punishment and obedience orientation) an individual will have full respect for the authority and only concentrate on avoiding any punishment. At the second stage of the first level (reward orientation) an individual will focus on achieving personal benefits such and rewards. At this stage an individual will concentrate more on satisfying his or her own needs rather than fulfilling the needs of others or society as a whole.
Conventional is the second level of moral development, in this level individuals focus more on a group, this is the level where peer pressure begins to influence the decision of an individual. At the first stage of this level an individual will think in terms of social convention, someone is labeled good or bad based on familial and social norms. If individuals turn to second stage of level two, they mature morally and focus on law and regulations, at this stage the focus is on maintaining social order, so that societies can function in an orderly manner.
Post conventional is the final level of the moral development proposed by Kohlberg, if an individual reaches the first stage of post conventional level one should be able emphasize on what could be legally binding, however one should be able to understands that laws can be amended to meet the social demand. When an individual is at the final stage of moral development or the universal ethical principle orientation individuals see himself as a judge for the moral problems. Individuals at this stage are more concern about human rights, justices and equity in decision making.
According to Kohlberg, most people are stuck at the conventional level, authority orientation stage, where law and order is the key aspect of moral decision making. A study conducted by Lane and Lane (1996) on the subject of softlifting (pirating software for personal use) found out that many students who participated in their study remained in the conventional level, authority orientation stage, of the moral development, based on their research they concluded that moral reasons behind software piracy was less important to the student compare to the benefit from softlifting.
Prior research conduct on software piracy shows that age had a significant influence on software piracy, hence younger responded were found more acceptable to use pirated software (Al-Rafee and Cronan 2006; Peace 1997 and Gopal and Sanders 1997). Research conducted by Liebowitz (2004) on piracy in the music industry showed that 41% of internet users between the age group of 18 – 29 download music illegally compare to 21% in the age group of 33-44. However a study conducted by Kini et al, (2004) concluded that age has no significant influence on software piracy.
Kini et al.., (2004), suggest that female students have a higher morality than male students, thus female students use pirated software less than their male counterparts. Ford and Richardson in their research in 1994 also concluded that females are more ethical than males; therefore females will use pirated software less than males, as software piracy can be considered unethical.
Even thought the research conducted by Weng et al, (2005) explained that gender was not a significant factor in the behavior to use pirated software, and one possible factor that researches shows male use pirated software is because they are more risk takers than female, this explanation seconds the research done by Solomon and O’Brien, (1990) Banjerjee (1992) and Sim et al (1996),as they concluded that gender was practically accountable to the decision of an individual to use pirated software.
Using pirated software could be costly for an organization, even thought their employees used the pirated software without the knowledge of the top management, the management could be held liable for the action on their employees (Robinson and Reithel.., 1994).
However individuals do not see the use of pirated software as a crime or unethical behavior (Im and Van Epps, 1991, Reid et al.., 1992). Also risk of been prosecuted was not identified as a significant factor in the study conducted by Hsu and Shiue (2008), because in reality it’s highly unlikely to get caught and been prosecuted for using pirated software. Kini et al, (2004) suggest that there is lack of recognition and enforcement to intellectual property laws, making software piracy a common phenomenon.
The study conducted by Gopal and Sanders, (2000) and Yang et al.., (2009) indicated that ability for an individual to purchase the original software’s is related to his or her income. Countries with higher Gross National Income (GNI) such as United States, Japan and Luxemburg has a lower piracy rate (less than 21%) compare to Georgia, Bangladesh, and Armenia, where piracy rate is more than 92% (BSA, 2008), and for these poor countries software piracy rate remains an economic issue (Moores, 2008).
Individuals who earns a high income tend to use pirated software lesser than the individuals who earns a lower income (Wee et al.., 1995). Lamayem et al.., (2004) also backed this concept by stating that economic growth declines the piracy rate in a country; however some individuals might continue to use pirated software due to hobbits. Yang et al, (2009), also stressed that economic improvement tend to reduce the use of software piracy.
Countries with high piracy rate
Countries with low piracy rate
Source: BSA piracy report 2008
Moores (2008) in his study on “An Analysis of the impact of economic Wealth and National Culture on the rise and fall of software piracy rates” found out that Software Piracy Rate (SPR) in a country is related to its economic wellbeing and Individualism-collectivism (IDV) of a country.
At an individual level, the cost of original software is considered as prime factor that influences the decision of an individual to use pirated software or not (Cheng et al, 1997).
Moores and Dhillion, (2000), Rawlinson et al, (2007,) in their research found out that most university students do not have much discretionary income with which to purchase original software, they also point out that reduction of the price of the original software will reduce the software piracy rate.
Studies conducted by many researchers in the subject of software piracy identifies that financial gain that an individual gets from using pirated software is the most common reason to use pirated software (Cheng et al..,1997, Moores and Dhillion, 2000; Traphagan & Griffith, 1998; Wee et al.., 1995). According to Al-Rafee and Cronan (2006) many users believed that original software’s are overpriced, this concept was also supported by the studies conducted by Albert-Miller (1999);Block et al.., (1993); Cheng et al.., (1997).
Banerjee et al.., (1998,) developed a research framework based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to model the ethical behavior intentions of Information system (IS) professionals and found that individual and situational characteristics do influence ethical behavior intentions.
Loch and Conger (1996) in their study found that attitude and social norms play an important role in ethical decision making situation which can be related to the use of pirated software. Researches done on the subject of software piracy found that software piracy was a normative and accepted behavior, (Cohen and Cornwell 1989), and many individuals do not consider software piracy as a moral issue and use of pirated software is widely common among the business students (Soloman and O’Brien 1990)
Simpson et al.., (1994,) examined factors influencing softlifting, and identified five factors that influence and individuals decision making process, they are, stimulus to act, socio- cultural factors, legal factors, personal factors, situational factors. They found out that personal and situational factor influence the softlifting behavior.
Thong and Yap .., (1998,) also attempted to explain soft lifting behavior using ethical decision making theory (the theory suggest that individuals are influence by deontologicalF and teleologicalF consequences of behavior) study showed both were found to influence the decision to use pirated software.
Peace et al.., (2003,) generated a software piracy model using Theory of Planned behavior (TPB) as a framework to explain the intention to use pirated software. The study concluded that attitude (which is affected by the cost of original software, punishment severity and punishment certainty), subjective norms and perceived behavioral control were found to be significant factors that influence the intention of and individual to use pirated software.
Zhang et al.., 2009 used the general theory of crime and deterrence theory to explain behavior that leads to digital piracy and they found out that only risk taking and punishment certainty leads to digital piracy.
Simpson et al.., (1994,) found out that, Academic institutions are increasingly including ethical education in their curriculum. However many studies done on software piracy suggest that ethical education in academic institution had no or minimal effect on the intention of the students to use pirated software (Simpson et al.., 1994; Taylor and Shim.., 1993). Even though, individuals who felt a moral obligation or guilt towards software piracy have less intention to use pirated software (Cronan and Al-Rafee.., 2007).
Logsdon et al.., (1994) and Al-Rafee and Cronan (2006) in their studies tested the assumption that individuals with higher level of moral development, are less likely to use pirated software, however they did not find a strong relationship between level of moral judgment and attitude towards using software piracy. The researchers also warn the software developers that even individuals with higher moral reasoning may engage in software piracy.
It’s believed that culture of a country influences the development of an individual’s moral judgment and on understanding of moral intensity regarding software piracy. Christensen and Eining (1990) indicated that individual do not see piracy as inappropriate behavior and they do not believe their friends and superiors believe its inappropriate behavior.
Researches concludes that use of pirated software’s in colleges and universities are more common than the general public (Kini et al, 2004). A study conducted by Taylor and Shim (1993) found out that professors use pirated software’s more than business executives.
With a sample size of 243 college students , Kuo and Hsu (2001) conducted a research based on Bandura’s social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1982) and they discovered that self-efficacy was an important element in software piracy, subject with higher self-efficacy were more likely to engage in piracy. The famous psychologist Albert Bandura defines self-efficacy as “over belief in our ability to succeed in a specific situation”.
Kini et al (2004) studied the cultural differences between the students of United States and Thailand in relation to software piracy, and they found out that students of United States has higher moral understanding towards software piracy compare to the students in Thailand. Swinyard et al (1990) in their research suggested that Asians have a more casual attitude towards software piracy than Americans, they are more likely to copy or buy software and less likely to criticize anyone who uses pirated software.
Ferrell and Gresham (1985) emphasized the importance of peer group working supervisors in affecting ethical behavior. Christensen and Eining (1991), identified that the decision to use pirated software are influenced by the attitudes of friends and organization, these researchers also indicated that students do not perceive software piracy as inappropriate since they also believe their friends and superiors share this same view.
Software’s were the first product that’s copied electronically in a large scale (Swinyard et al.., 1990). According to Yang, (2009) software piracy is a huge problem for policy makers and consumers alike, due to the uncertainty involving cross border conflicts, business losses and consumer exposing to virus and different kind of identity theft.
McDonald and Roberts (1994) also considered software piracy as a very serious problem though out the world and the reason that it has become so hard to deal with this problem is the easiness in duplicating a copyrighted product. Tang and Farn (2005) concluded that supply to the pirated software will exists as long as there is a demand for pirated software, enforcement of laws and regulation and awareness programs may minimize the piracy rates, but it will not stop people from using pirated software.
Researchers who try to take the use of software piracy positively suggests that, software piracy can be seen as a form of product sampling, and that sampling can aid in the diffusion of a good (Gupta et al, 2004).As per Mahajan and Muller 1995, the success of excel over lotus 1, 2, and 3 was due to the high tolerance level towards software piracy.
Givon et al, (1995), in their paper, “Software Piracy: Estimation of lost sales and impact on software diffusion” used a diffusion modeling approach to estimate the sale of software piracy, and they concluded software piracy creates shadow diffusion of the software same as the diffusion of original software in the market, the shadow diffusion is a major influential factor on the diffusion of the original software. They argue that the sellers of the pirated software’s may influence the potential buyers to adopt the pirated software, and some of these adopters might even purchase the original software.
However, Solomon and O’Brien.., (1990,) had a different view; they think software piracy will de-motivate the software developers to bring quality products to the market. Also the consumers have to pay a higher price to use original software; because the price of the legitimate software is inflated in order to make up to the loss of revenue from software piracy (Eining and christensen.., 1991; Taylor and Shim, 1993,). In the fight against software piracy, Germany has started enforcing a charge on every CD burner that is sold to compensate the loss of revenue due to piracy (Cronan and Al-Rafee.., 2007,)
In this section, previous research models are discussed in order to explain software piracy. Five models related to software piracy will be examined here, as shown below.
Tim Goles et al.., 2007 proposed a model to identify the intention to softlift, their model is shown below:
The model shows that there is a significant positive relationship between Perceived usefulness, past behavior, technical personal identity, and risk taking personal identity towards attitude to softlift. And negative relation between awareness of the law, moral personal obligation, and legal personal identity towards attitude to softlift. Furthermore the past behavior and attitude towards softlifting has a positive relation with the persons intention to softlift.
Wang et al.., 2005 conducted a study on the attitude towards software piracy among Chinese consumers with a the help of the following model on consumers response on purchasing pirated software, which was an extension of the model created by Ang et al.., 2001. The new model produced by Wang et al.., 2005 had two new components, Collectivism and Novelty seeking, which was happen to be influential factors towards consumers attitude.
According to Bearden et al.., 1989, Information susceptibility and Normative susceptibility were found to be two forms of consumer susceptibility to social influence. The purchase decision taken on the basis of expert opinion is considered to be information susceptibility, on the other had in Normative susceptibility purchase decision is based on what would impress others (Ang et al.., 2001).Consumers with higher susceptibility to social influence may have a negative attitude towards software piracy as its consider as illegal and unethical (Wang et al.., 2005).
Ang et al.., 2001defines Value consciousness as concern for paying lower price, subject to some quality related issues .Since pirated software functions as well as a original software and could purchase for a friction of the price of an original software, the value conscious consumers may have a positive attitude towards software piracy.
Integrity is considered as the individual’s obedience to the laws and regulation as well as ethical standards of the consumers. Therefore if integrity is valued highly by a consumer, the chances of using pirated software will be lower (Wang et al.., 2005).
As per Ang et al.., 2001, personal gratification can be considered as the persons desire to enjoy finest things in life, or persons need for a sense of accomplishment. Hence people with higher personal gratification will value original software more and will have a negative attitude towards software piracy.
In the model proposed by Wang et al, (2005), the collectivism is been used to explain the difference in piracy rate and ethical decision making in the consumers between westerns and eastern cultures. In regression studies collectivist culture is strongly associated with piracy rate at a macro level (Husted, 2000).
Novelty seeking can be considered as the humans interest to seek difference and variety. In student groups novelty seeking was found to be an influential factor to use pirated software. Ang et al…(2001) in their study concluded that attitude towards software piracy was an influential factor for purchasing intentions.
Based on the response from the 314 participants from the study Wang et al, (2005) concluded that Collectivism and Novelty seeking were found to be important factors influencing consumer’s attitude. Also normative susceptibility and value consciousness were found to be important factors influencing consumer’s attitude.
However Integrity was not found to be a influential factor in attitude of consumers towards software piracy, this finding was backed by the research done by Logsdon et al, (1994); Simpsons et al, ( 1994), that there was a weak relationship between consumers moral judgment and their respond to software piracy. Wang et al, (2005) also found out that information susceptibility and personal gratification was not found to be influential factors in determining the attitude of consumers.
Moral judgment that leads to the attitude towards using pirated software. This measured using the Defining Issues Test (DIT) which includes different ethical situations with different problems. P-index score, which is represents the percentage of time an individual makes a decision is used to represent moral judgment.
MACH IV scale was used to measure MachiavellianismF. The scale consist of 20 questions out of which 10 are reverse worded, these questions includes subjects like views, tactics and morality. These questions are drafted like “most people are kind hearted” or “you’re asking for trouble if you trust someone”.
Al-Rafee and Cronan (2006) used three dimension structures to measure affective beliefs; they are excitement (arousal), happiness (pleasantness) and distress.
Nine questions were used in this study out of which six questions related to happiness and excitement and the remaining three questions were associated with fear. In the survey questionnaire, the participants were asked how they felt about using pirated software from a scale of seven points; the answers included consists from “not at all” to “very much”.
Theory of reasoned action was used to evaluate the cognitive belief. Questions like “what are the advantages of (if any) software piracy, “what are the disadvantages of (if any) software piracy” and “is there anything else you associate with software piracy” and these questions were related to saving money when using pirated software, getting caught and be prosecuted and convenience of using pirated software and the assumption that original software’s are overpriced.
To measure the subjective norm, the participants were asked questions like “most people who are close to me, think I should not use pirated software” and “when considering to pirated software, I wish to do what most important people to me thinks”. The subjects were asked to answer these questions using a Likert scale strongly agrees to strongly disagree. The study also found that there is a strong relationship between subjective norm and attitude
Perceived importance consists of 4 items with questions related to importance of the task in hand, the participants were asked to give their opinion from a Likert scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree.
As per the finding of this study, except for Moral judgment, distress and the sex of the individual all the other factors were found to be significant factors that influence the attitude towards digital piracy,
Cronan and Al-Rafee (2008) proposed a digital piracy intention model based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), the researchers included two new components to TPB, Moral Obligation and past piracy behavior which leads to intention to use pirated software, which eventually leads to software piracy
If an individual have more favorable attitude towards using software piracy, it’s assumed that the individual intention to use pirated software will be strong. Similarly, if the individual have a higher subjective norm, the intention to use pirated software will be great.
Higher perceive behavioral control in an individual will also lead to higher intention to use pirated software. If an individual has experience of using pirated software, it’s highly likely that the individual will have intention to use pirated software in the future. However individuals with higher moral obligation will have lower intention to use pirated software
The study found out that except for subjective norms all the other factors influence the intention to use pirated software.
Zhang et al, (2009) developed a model that lead to software piracy by using the General deterrence theory. Among the six dimensions of low self control identified in the general deterrence theory only risk taking was significant to identify behavior that leads to the use of pirated software.
In their research they found out that punishment certainty is related to software piracy, however punishment severity was not considered significant to the use of pirated software. The result also showed that self-efficacy had a positive relationship with digital piracy behavior and the study also found out that low punishment certainty leads to high self efficacy, which eventually leads to the use of pirated software.
The objective of this research is to find out the relationship between different factors that influence the intention to use pirated software. In order to find these relationships hypothesis are formed as follows:
Previous research shows that females have higher ethical decision making perspective than males (Leonard and Cronan 2005). Research’s conducted by Kini el al, 2004; Al-Rafee and Cronan, (2006) shows that females have a lower attitude towards software piracy. Based on that, we can assume that intention to use pirated software is significantly dependent on gender.
H1: Perceived level of intention to use pirated software is significantly dependent on gender
Younger individuals are less concerned about the outcome of their behavior (Coombe and Newman, 1997). Older students have a higher ethical standard than younger students (Ford and Richardson 1994) and younger individuals have more favorable attitude towards using pirated software, ( Kini et al.., 2004 ; Al-Rafee and Cronan, 2006), therefore we can assume that intention to use pirated software is dependent age.
H2: Perceived level of intention to use pirated software is significantly dependent on age
Value consciousness if defined as concern for paying a lower price, subject to some quality constrains (Ang et al (2001). Peace et al.., 2003, and Wang 2005, found that cost of the legal software was a significant factor influencing individuals towards pirated software.
A poll conducted by Harris interactive (2004) on music piracy shows that if the prices of the CD are reduced the level of illegal copying will reduce. Lau, (2006) found out that cost of original software was an important factor that motivates individuals to commit piracy. Therefore we could believe that value consciousness is an important factor that influences the intention to use pirated software.
H3: High value consciousness has a positive effect on an individual’s intention to use pirated software.
Glass and Wood, 1996, found out that individuals do not see software piracy as an ethical matter, and piracy is an acceptable behavior among the college students (Cohen and Cornwell, 1989), Attitude was found to be an influential factor that leads to intention to use pirated software according to the research conducted by Cronan and Al-Rafee (2008), therefore we can assume that attitude towards software piracy influence the decision to use pirated software.
H4: Individuals with more favorable and positive attitude towards piracy will have a greater intention to use pirated software
For number of years influence of peer pressure on an individual’s perception and behavior has been the major topic of social psychology (Tang and Farn, 2005) Peer pressure seems to be an inflectional factor for an individual to use pirated software. (Tang and Farn, Therefore we assume peer pressure is positively related to intention to use pirated software.
H5: Intention to use pirated software is positively affected by peer pressure
Novelty seeking (wanting to try out the software) is an important factor that affects the intention to use pirated software Wang et al, (2005).
H06: Novelty seeking has a positive effect on an individual’s intention to use pirated software
This following table provides a list of hypothesis that will be used in this study
Perceived level of intention to use pirated software is significantly dependent on gender
Perceived level of intention to use pirated software is significantly dependent on age.
Individuals with more favorable and positive attitude towards piracy will have a greater intention to use pirated software
Individuals with higher, more favorable attitude towards piracy will correspond to a greater intension to use pirated software
Intention to use pirated software is positively affected by peer pressure
Novelty seeking has a positive effect on an individual’s intention to use pirated software
Table 2.3: complete list of hypothesis tested in this research
2.8 Research Model
A research model for this study was developed and illustrated in the diagram below:
The model shows the factors the influence the intention of an individual to use pirated software.
The following table shows the description of the factors used in this study
Gender of the respondent
Age of the respondent
Concern for paying a lower price
The subjects overall evaluation about the behavior
Influence of friends and close relatives to use pirated software
Wanting to try out a new software
Intention to use pirated software
This chapter discus the research methodology carried out in this dissertation. The methodology approaches that were chosen for this research will be explained and justified.
This study uses the philosophy of positivism, as the researcher is independent from the research and the focus is on finding facts. In this research the hypothesis is formulated and then test and the sample is not investigated in depth or over time (Amarathinga et al 2002).
The research purpose can be classified in to 3 types; they are exploratory research, explanatory research and descriptive research.
Exploratory research can be used when the aim of the research is to find new insights for problem and it is useful when the researcher is looking to clarify a problem. When conducting an exploratory research the researcher must be flexible to change the direction of the research when new data and knowledge is gained (Saunders et al 2002).
As per Saunders et al, (2002), explanatory research is a study that establishes casual relationship between variables. The focus is on explaining the relationship between two variables.
A descriptive research would show an accurate profile of person, events or situation; this may be an extension to an exploratory research. The researcher must have a clear idea of the event or facts on which the data is collected prior to collecting the data (Saunders et al 2002).
Descriptive research uses structured interviews and uses existing theories and researches to formulate the research question and objectives, thus this research is a descriptive research as it’s based on existing theories and previous literature reviews (Saunders et al 2002).
The research approach can either be deductive which is testing the theories or inductive which is building the theories
In an inductive approach the research makes the observation, creates patterns, make hypothesis and generate theories on the other hand in a deductive approach based on theories hypothesis are generated, which is tested and come to a conclusion,
This study is a deductive research as based on theories and pervious literature hypothesis were generated which is tested using SPSS software and concluded the finding either accepting or rejecting the hypothesis.
Quantitative research consists of hard data, like order size and information on profit gain and often presented as numbers that will determine the quantity or extent of some phenomena (Saunders et al.., 2002).
The purpose of a quantitative research is to gather, analyses and measure statistical data. A wide sample selection is normally used and the questions asked are generally not of complex nature and close-ended (Saunders et al.., 2002).
Qualitative data deals with description and it cannot be measured numerically, hence in this study, lots of data is collected using questionnaire, all the data collected was numerical and as a result quantitative approach was used in the methodological research.
Research strategy is a general plan of how the researcher will go when answering the research problem and questions. The research strategy also contains clearly defined research objectives and detailed information about the source from where the information was collected. Some of the most common strategies discussed are surveys, case studies and experimental research (Saunders et al.., 2002).
Survey strategy is a frequently used strategy in business and management researches, which is usually associated with deductive approach. This strategy allows the researchers to collect large amount of data from a considerable population in a highly economical way. (Saunders et al.., 2002). When the problem area is already studied and the research problem is somewhat structured the survey is the most appropriate approach.
The case study is “a strategy for doing research which involves an empirical investigation of a particular contemporary phenomenon within its real life context using multiple source of evidence”. Case study strategy can useful when researcher wants to gain a rich understanding of the context of the research and the process being enacted (Saunders et al, 2002).
Case study strategy also has considerable ability to generate answers to questions ‘why?’ as well as the ‘what?’ and ‘how?’ questions, although ‘what?’ and ‘how?’ question tend to be more concern with survey strategy (Sunders et al, 2002).
In experimental research the sample of the respondents are taken from a known population and measures small number of variables and allocates sample from different experimental conditions (Saunder et al, 2002).
With reference to the research strategies discussed above, the research strategy that best fits to this research would be survey, as the research approach is quantitative and deductive, therefore the most ideal choice for this research would be survey strategy.
Primary and secondary data are the two types of data collected to meet the objective of the research questions (Saunders et al, 2002).
Secondary data includes both quantitative and qualitative data; these data can be used in both descriptive and explanatory research. These data may be in the form of raw data, where there is no or little processing, or compiled data what have received some form of selection or summarizing. The primary data is collected for a specific purpose by the research and information is gathered for instance thought interviews, questionnaires and observations. (Saunders et al, 2002).
Since there are no previous data were available for this research and the data is gathered solely for the problem is hand, primary data will be used in this research.
Interviews may be highly formalized and structured or standardized question for each respondent or may be informal and unstructured conversations. (Saunders et al, 2002).
Interviews may be categorized in to structured interviews, semi structured interviews or unstructured interviews. This thesis is a structured interview, which uses questionnaire which has predetermined standardized or identical set of questions (Saunders et al, 2002).
The questionnaire used in this study was made using Google forms and published in a personal blog and when a respondent fill up a questionnaire the result comes instantly to a excel sheet.
The questionnaire was advertised using social networks such as Facebook and My space. The web link was posted in 20 Facebook pages of colleges in Selangor and a total of 256 respondents filled up the questionnaire.
There are two major type of sampling; they are random (probability) and non-random (non-probability) sampling. The random sampling gives every part of the population an equal probability of selection, probability sampling includes sample random, systematic, stratified random and cluster sampling (Sunders et al, 2002).
On the other hand, the non-probability sampling includes a selection of a sample on other basis than the random sampling, such as quota, purposive, snowball, self selection and convenience sampling.
The convenience sampling was used in this study as the data cannot be collected from the entire population and a quantitative research statistical interference has to be made and also there is no suitable sampling frame available.
In addition to that it’s not likely that sample is representative and it’s not an exploratory research, also individual cases are not difficult to identify plus the sample size is not too small and there is a little variation in the population (Saunders et al, 2002).
The College students were used in this study because Colleges are found to be the breeding ground for pirated software’s (Hinduja, 2007) and as the college students are the people who will be the responsible citizens in the future, there is a greater need to find the factors that influence College students to use pirated software in order to minimize the piracy rate in the future.
Sample size in this study was 256, the survey was terminated at this point because most of the articles writing on the topic of software piracy had a sample size of plus or minus 200, and also the fact that this research had time and financial constrains
According to Sunders et al, (2002), Validity checks whether the finding of a research is really about what the research aims to find and validity is one of the concepts used to determine how good an answer is provided by research.
In research methodology literature, the measure of validity is often considered under either internal or external validity. Internal validity identifies whether the right cause and effect relationship has been established.
On the other hand external validity identifies the extent to which any research findings can be generalized beyond the research sample. External validity can be achieved from theoretical relationships (Amarathunga et al, 2002).
Reliability means consistency, therefore a set of data can be reliable but not valid, but to be valid the data should be reliable. Readability is sufficient on its own as respondent may interpret a question differently then what the researcher intend to gain (Saunders et al.., 2007).
Reliability is concerned with the strength of the questionnaire, and the focus is on whether or not the questionnaire will produce consistence findings at different times and under different conditions (Saunders et al.., 2007). The goal of reliability is to minimize the errors and biases in a study, and the object is to ensure that, if a later investigator follows exactly the same procedure, the same findings and conclusions would result (Amarathunga et al.., 2002).
There are three common approaches to reliability are test re-test, internal consistency and alternative forms.
Test re-test estimates of reliability are obtained by correlating data collected with those from the same questionnaire collected under as near equivalent condition as possible. Practically this is not an easy method to follow as the researcher has to get the questionnaires filled by the same respondent twice, therefore this method is advisable to use as a supplement to other methods (Saunders et al, 2007).
Internal consistency involves correlating the response to each question in the questionnaire with those of other questions in the questionnaire. Internal consistency therefore measures the consistency of response across either all the questions or a subgroup of questions from the questionnaire. The commonly used method to calculate internal consistency is Cronbach’s Alpha. Alternative form offers some sense of reliability within the questionnaire through comparing the Reponses to alternative form of same question or group of questions (Saunders et al, 2007).
This research will use cronbach’s alpha to check internal consistency. Under the construct value consciousness, 5 questions were asked, which had an alpha value of 0.735, Attitude towards pirated software had 3 questions which gave an alpha value of 0.731, under Peer pressure 4 questions were asked and the alpha value was 0.736, and in Novelty seeking 4 questions were asked which had an alpha value of 0.802.
No of Items
Value Consciousness (VC)
Attitude towards piracy (ATT)
Peer pressure (PP)
Novelty Seeking (NS)
All the participants of this survey were informed about the desired outcome of this research. They were also informed that there is no risk associated with this study.
The participants were told that the participation in this survey is voluntary and all the data collected in this survey will be used anonymously and no individual data will be single out and analyzed separately.
This chapter presents the findings that have been derived from data collected through the questionnaire. A total of 256 respondents participated in the survey; however 247 were taken for analysis as the remaining 9 questionnaire had some missing data.
This chapter also includes general findings on age, gender, education and a descriptive statistic is conducted on the variables used in this research. The entire hypotheses formulated for this study were tested using SPSS software and presented in table format. In addition to that, model proposed for this study was tested in this chapter.
There were some general and informative questions in the questionnaire that their statistical results and briefly discussed and visualized here.
Value consciousness was hypothesized to affect the intention to use pirated software positively; the relationship was hypothesized as follows:
H3: High value consciousness has a positive affect on an individual’s intention to use pirated software.
Table 4.9: Value Consciousness (Person Correlation)
Pearson Correlation was used to test the affect of value consciousness on intention to use pirated software, and the results shows that, Value consciousness was a highly (at the 0.00 level) significant variable, positively affecting the relationship between value consciousness and intention to use pirated software. This hypothesis is therefore accepted and concludes that value consciousness leads to intention to use pirated software.
Attitude was hypothesized to affect the intention to use pirated software, the relationship was expected to be positive and hypothesized as follows:
H4: Individuals with more favorable and positive attitude towards piracy will have a greater intention to use pirated software
Table 4.10: Attitude (Person Correlation)
Person Correlation was used to test the relationship between attitude and intention use pirated software, hence attitude was found to be a significant factor that influences the intention of the subjects to use pirated software.
As expected there was a positive relationship between attitude and intention to use pirated software, therefore this hypothesis was accepted and concludes that individuals with more favorable attitude towards piracy will tend to have a higher intention to use pirated software.
Peer pressure was hypothesized to have an affect on intention to use pirated software. The relationship between peer pressure and intention to use pirated software were expected to be positive and the hypothesis was formulated as follows:
H5: Intention to use of pirated software is positively affected by peer pressure
Table 4.11: Peer Pressure (Person Correlation)
With the help of Person Correlation, the relationship between Peer pressure and intention use were tested, the results as shown in the table above shows that peer pressure was a significant factor that influences the intention of the subjects to use pirated software.
There is a positive relationship between peer pressure and intention to use pirated software, therefore we accept this hypothesis and concludes that peer pressure influence the intention to use pirated software.
Novelty seeking was hypothesized to positively affect the intention to use pirated software. The relationship was hypothesized as follows:
H6: Novelty seeking has a positive effect on an individual’s intention to use pirated software
Table 4.12: Novelty Seeking (Person Correlation)
Novelty seeking was a significant variable affecting the intention to use pirated software. As expected there was a positive relationship between novelty seeking and intention to use, therefore we accept this hypothesis and conclude that novelty seeking has a positive effect on an individual’s intention to use pirated software.
Perceived level of intention to use pirated software is significantly dependent on gender
Perceived level of intention to use pirated software is significantly dependent on Age
Individuals with more favorable and positive attitude towards piracy will have a greater intention to use pirated software
Individuals with higher, more favorable attitude towards piracy will correspond to a greater intension to use pirated software
Intention to use pirated software is positively affected by peer pressure
Novelty seeking has a positive effect on an individual’s intention to use pirated software
This chapter is a conclusion of the whole thesis work based on the data analysis results. It also includes a number of recommendations along with the limitation of the study and areas for further research.
Gender of the subjects was not found to be a significant factor that influences the intention to use pirated software. This finding is in sequence with the findings of Wang et al, (2005), who also found out that gender, is not a significant factor in the behavior to use pirated software.
Even though younger students was expected to have a higher tendency to use pirated software more than older students, this research did not show any significant relationship between age of the subject and intention to use pirated software. This finding is supported by the finding of Kini et al.., 2004, who concluded that age is not a significant factor that influences software piracy.
As expected value consciousness had a significant relationship with intention to use pirated software. The finding was supported by the research done by Weng et al, 2005, who concluded that value consciousness was an important factor that influences the intention of individuals to use pirated software.
Individuals with higher, more favorable attitude towards piracy had a greater intension to use pirated software, this statement is supported by the findings of Cronan and Al-Refee, 2008, who stated that subjects who felt guilt or moral obligation towards digital piracy have a lower intention to pirate, also the research done by Weng et al, 2005 indicates that attitude towards piracy were found important in determining future purchase intention.
Peer pressure was hypothesized to have a positive affect on the intention to use pirated software; this statement was proven to be correct in this research, this finding can be backed by the study conducted by Tang and Farn, (2005) who also stated that peer pressure is an influential factor for an individual to use pirated software.
Novelty seeking was found to have a positive affect on individual’s intention to use pirated software. This finding can be seconded by the researches carried out by Chang et al.., 1997, who found out that novelty seeking (wanting to try out the software) is the second most important reason only behind cost consideration (software too expensive) out of the nine main reasons, this finding was also backed by the research done by Wang et al.., 2005.
In order to address the software piracy problem in the colleges, ethics subject thought in colleges could include a chapter on software piracy, as this study has shown that most of the students do not believe software piracy is something wrong, perhaps educating the students in the subject area could change their perception.
Software developers could give away free samples of legitimate software to college students for them to experience with it, maybe later some of them will purchase legitimate copies or it might be an influential factor for their friends to use legitimate software.
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Thank you for participating in this study. This questionnaire should only take few minutes of your time to complete.
Description: The purpose of this research is to find out the factors that influence college students in Malaysia to use pirated software
Benefits and Risks: Your participation in this research will help to understand the factors that influence college students to use pirated software. There is no risk associated with this research as no penalties are assigned to your response.
Participation: Please participate in this survey, if you’re currently studying in a college in Selangor, Malaysia and own or otherwise control a personal computer. Your participation in this research is voluntary.
Confidentiality: All information will be recorded anonymously. No individual respondent will be identified, thus this questionnaire is an anonymous questionnaire.
Informed Consent: I have read the description, which includes the nature and purpose of the study, the benefits, confidentiality statement and right to withdraw from the study at any time. My participation in this study indicates that I freely agree to participate in this research.
Please provide the following background information:
□ Above 30
□ A’ level
□ Masters □ PhD
□ Other, Please specify
□ Below RM 1,000
□ Between RM 1,000 – RM 2,000
□ Between RM 2,000 – RM 3,000
□ Above RM 3,000
Section B: Please tick where it’s most appropriate
I feel original software’s are too expensive
I am concern about price and product quality
I compare prices for the best value for money
The value of original software is worth the retail price
I am always one of the firsts to try a new product
When considering software piracy, I wish to do what people who are important to me want me to do
I believe software piracy is an important issue
I am always exited to purchase some interesting products
I might use pirated software’s of my friends
I might use pirated software, if my friends uses it
I do not believe using pirated software is wrong
I would not feel guilty if I pirated a software
I always want to try new software
It’s likely that I might use pirated software in future
I have used pirated software in the past
My friends used pirated software
I own a lot of popular products
I try to maximize the quality for the money spent
TPPT Deontological theories relates to the inherent righteousness of behavior
TPPT Teleological theories emphasizes that good or bad is embedded in the consequence of the action
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