A large volume of the scientific literature on piracy concerns predictive factors and deterrents. In other words, who it is getting their hands on copyrighted content for free and how we can stop them from doing it.
As has been mentioned in a previous post, the general rule in research is that if a trend keeps emerging from different datasets, then it is considered to be true. If different researchers explore the same phenomenon using different measurements, exploring different samples and they keep finding the same thing, well.. it's probably true. Such is the case with gender as a predictive factor in music piracy research.
And yup, you guessed it. It's males who are the culprit.
To briefly discuss the findings from a few studies, Nel, Raubenheimer and Bounagui (2009) identified gender as a moderating variable in the intention to purchase music downloads. Also, Kini, Ramakrishna and Vijayamaran (2004) identified males as more likely to engage in software piracy. More interestingly, in terms of trying to understand why this gender difference exists, Malin and Flowers (2009) note males as having more favourable attitudes towards piracy than females. How does this help us better understand the gender difference? Well, Taylor, Ishida and Wallace (2009) established that attitudes towards the act of piracy to be a predictive factor of actual engagement.
Surely anti-piracy strategies would do well to try and alter attitudes towards music piracy then? Such was the successful approach in the UK with smoking long before the smoking ban came into effect.
Why might males be more favourable towards piracy though? Two alternative, yet equally controversial suggestions are given below.
1 Males are more tech-savvy
Ample support exists for such a claim where it is thought to be the increased confidence males have with technology (from their increased experience) that empowers them to engage in the risky activity that is piracy. Alternatively, females relative lack of knowledge and confidence contributes towards their reluctance to do so.
2 Males are more immoral
The subject of the previous blog entry, support also exists for this claim where females consistently outperform males on various measures of moral reasoning. This may stem from their greater empathising skills where females are more considerate of the consequences their actions will have on others, thus making piracy engagement unattractive.
Age as a predictive factor is on the cards for a future blog post, but for now, ask a few friends why they do or do not engage in piracy. You are guaranteed to hear all sorts of different responses.
Go on, ask around. Do you notice any consistent gender differences?
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Malin, J. and Flowers, J.B. (2009). Adolescent self-control and music and movie piracy. Computers in Human Behaviour, 25, 718-722.
Kini, R.B., Ramakrishna, H.V. and Vijayaraman, B.S. (2004). Shaping of moral intensity regarding software piracy: A comparison between Thailand and US students. Journal of Business Ethics, 49(1), 91-104.
Nel, J., Raubenheimer, J. and Bounagui, M. (2009). Gender differences in purchase intention of music downloads. Management Dynamics, 18(3), 25-36.
Taylor, S., Ishida, C. and Wallace, D. (2009) Intention to engage in digital piracy: a conceptual model and empirical test. Journal of Service Research, 11(3), 246-262.