James W. Hamister, Wright State University, and Michael J. Braunscheidel, SUNY Brockport, “Software Piracy and Intellectual Property Rights Protection”

[Dr. Hamister does the show]

Property is not an absolute right: we have some obligations to use our property properly; certain values outweigh (consider: intellectual property rights to drugs versus right to life/pursuit of happiness of disease sufferer)

H&B want to investigate the extent to which intellectual property protection effectively reduces software piracy.

H&B are roadtesting R, the free multiple regression software.

H&B find lots of studies on patenting, but that doesn’t apply directly to their research question of whether we can extend IP protection to the software piracy realm.

Theory Development:

  • Institutional Theory (Powell & DiMaggio 1983): identifies three organizational isomorphic processes (things orgs do similarly)
    1. coercive pressures (forced to do things)
    2. mimetic pressures (imitating others)
    3. normative pressures (following rules, ethical behavior)
  • Theory of Reasoned Action (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1975)
    • why not pirate software? so much to gain!
    • theory says attitudes and social norms combine to produce behavioral intention, which then produces the actual behavior
    • recent research says social norms and attitudes are tangled, interactive

Dependent Variable: software piracy rates from Business Software Alliance and IDC Global Software Piracy Data (ranges from 20% pirated software in U.S. to 93% in Armenia (2007)

Independent Variable: Intellectual Property protection, measured by Cato Institute country-level survey of managers, perceptual scale (2006)

H1: Cultures with high IPP will have low software piracy; H&B find strong (-0.35 to -0.43) correlation at p=0.001

H&B look Hofstede’s 5 dimensions of culture: individualism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masc/fem, long-term orientation

  • power distance lower in Euro-U.S., higher in S. Am. and Asia
  • H2: Cultures with high power distance have higher software piracy; correls of 0.3 at p=0.001
  • H3: individualism linked to lower software piracy? -0.33 to -0.38, p=0.001
  • H6: long-term orientation links to higher software piracy; correls 0.31 to 0.35, p=0.001; thrift may be driving piracy; interesting in that long-term orientation usu. comes with strong power of shame; if we can build shame into the conception of piracy, maybe we make progress

The other dimensions (uncert., masc/fem) showed no signif. correlations.

H&B suggest cultural shift mechanisms may be important to anti-piracy efforts.