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Seeders, leechers and social norms: Evidence from the market for illicit digital downloading


  • Cox, Joe
  • Collins, Alan
  • Drinkwater, Stephen


The sharing of files via peer-to-peer (P2P) and related networks has become a hugely contentious issue in recent years, with the music industry citing this practice as a significant threat to intellectual property rights and the long term financial viability of its activities. Using Finnish data, this study examines the apparent determinants and factors associated with this important and little documented activity. Results indicate that file sharers behave in a way which is consistent with expectations drawn from economic theory but differs depending upon the stated extent of participation.

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  • Cox, Joe & Collins, Alan & Drinkwater, Stephen, 2010. "Seeders, leechers and social norms: Evidence from the market for illicit digital downloading," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 299-305, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:22:y:2010:i:4:p:299-305

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zentner, Alejandro, 2006. "Measuring the Effect of File Sharing on Music Purchases," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 63-90, April.
    2. Bhattacharjee, Sudip & Gopal, Ram D & Lertwachara, Kaveepan & Marsden, James R, 2006. "Impact of Legal Threats on Online Music Sharing Activity: An Analysis of Music Industry Legal Actions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 91-114, April.
    3. Felix Oberholzer-Gee & Koleman Strumpf, 2007. "The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 1-42.
    4. Stan J. Liebowitz, 2005. "Pitfalls in Measuring the Impact of File-sharing on the Sound Recording Market," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 51(2-3), pages 435-473.
    5. Hong, Seung-Hyun, 2007. "The recent growth of the internet and changes in household-level demand for entertainment," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 304-318, October.
    6. Zentner Alejandro, 2005. "File Sharing and International Sales of Copyrighted Music: An Empirical Analysis with a Panel of Countries," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-17, October.
    7. George A. Akerlof, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of which Unemployment may be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-775.
    8. Ben Depoorter & Francesco Parisi & Sven Vanneste, 2005. "Problems with the Enforcement of Copyright Law: Is there a Social Norm Backlash?," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 361-369.
    9. Hiroshi Ono & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Gender and the Internet," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 84(1), pages 111-121.
    10. Michel Norbert J, 2006. "The Impact of Digital File Sharing on the Music Industry: An Empirical Analysis," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-24, September.
    11. David Waterman & Sung Ji & Laura Rochet, 2007. "Enforcement and Control of Piracy, Copying, and Sharing in the Movie Industry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 30(4), pages 255-289, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tilman Klumpp, 2014. "File Sharing, Network Architecture, and Copyright Enforcement: An Overview," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(7), pages 444-459, October.
    2. Christian Handke, 2013. "Empirical evidence on copyright," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Digital Creative Economy, chapter 22, pages 249-261 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Anna Kukla-Gryz & Joanna Tyrowicz & Michał Krawczyk & Konrad Siwiński, 2015. "We all do it, but are we willing to admit? Incentivizing digital pirates' confessions," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 184-188, February.

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