Parameters for Software Piracy Research

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Finance and Supply Chain Management

Publication Date



Advances in Internet and other digital technologies have opened up new channels and methods for online business. They have also led to a situation where the same channels can be abused and misused. One of these forms of technology abuse, which is becoming increasingly prevalent these days, is the piracy of digital content. This article introduces a relatively comprehensive and unified theoretical framework for studying and understanding a major aspect of digital piracy: namely, software piracy. Based on Routine Activities Theory, Rational Choice Theory, and guardianship concepts, the framework identifies key parameters that can affect the incidence of software piracy. We apply the framework in conducting a systematic examination of 75 articles dealing with software piracy. The examination reveals that a considerable number of parameters have received little or no attention from software-piracy researchers. In addition to suggesting research opportunities, the framework furnishes a systematic approach for structuring the design of future research studies in the realm of software piracy. The insights furnished by this article contribute to future investigations of the software-piracy phenomenon that are needed to avert the economic and social damage caused by software piracy.


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The Information Society: An International Journal


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