Al-Rafee & Rouibah on the Effect of Awareness of IP Laws on Intentions Respecting Digital Piracy

Professor Sulaiman Al-Rafee and Professor Kamel Rouibah, both of the Kuwait University College of Business Administration, have published The Fight Against Digital Piracy: An Experiment, 27 Telematics and Informatics no. 3, pages 283-292 (2010). Click here for the full text of the article. Here is the abstract:

With the increased reliance on the Internet, digital piracy is a hot topic that is receiving substantial interest. And while most studies concentrate on understanding piracy in developed countries, few studies have been done in developing countries. In order to fill in this gap, this study reports on an experiment to deter/prevent digital piracy behavior in an Arab and a Middle Eastern country. The study used an experiment where different treatments (effect of religion, law, and awareness) were applied to the samples. Results revealed that only the religion and awareness treatments contributed to a decline in digital piracy, and that awareness having the higher effect on the piracy intention. This study discusses the study results and implications for both research and practice.

Here is an excerpt of the authors’ discussion of the “law treatment”:

In this group, the respondents were told about new laws that are specific to fighting digital piracy with harsh penalties, and that tough enforcement of these laws will be imposed. Results of the study revealed that this had no significant effect on digital piracy intentions, and thus, contradicts with major trends of digital media organizations, which are employing this approach to fight against digital piracy. The results can be attributed to three main reasons. First, there have been few cases where Intellectual Property (IP) laws have been enforced in developing countries. Second, while there are already laws protecting IP, piracy and breach of IP are a common practice, where pirated material can be purchased almost everywhere. Third, people in developing countries country have a general perception that laws are not always being enforced.

The results are consistent with other studies that found that laws are not always successful in changing the piracy behavior.

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