It is a Theft but not a Crime
AbstractWhy do people who normally refrain from committing illegalities become digital pirates? In this paper we use a theoretical model of digital piracy combined with a game-theoretic mechanism of social norm formation to argue that no social stigma is attached to digital piracy because the latter has no perceived social cost; therefore, there is no pressure to build a norm condemning it. We note the existence of a "sophisticate" form of piracy focused on high-quality copies, and not on Internet downloads and black market purchases of low-quality copies like the most common form. Somewhat paradoxically, sophisticate piracy could help to generate a social attitude against piracy, because it is self-containing. However, it is limited in its scope, and it is difficult to predict whether it might ever become sufficiently widespread to effectively engender the formation of an anti-piracy social norm.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2047.
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
digital piracy; social norms; conformism;
Other versions of this item:
- D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
- L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
- L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
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