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The Circumstances and Antecedents of Consumers' Motivations for Internet Piracy

Grant Winners

  • Maria Petrescu, Ph.D. – H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship
  • John Gironda, Ph.D. – H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Isabella Dominici, MBA – H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship


  • Preston Jones, Ph.D. – H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship


Award Winners

Using a framework that integrates Consumer Ethics Theory and the Theory of Planned Behavior, this research will investigate the circumstances and antecedents of consumers' motivations for engaging in online Internet piracy. Given the prevalence of online piracy and its impact on copyrighted material, the financial success of firms, Internet traffic volume and bandwidth consumption, an investigation such as the one proposed here is long overdue. Two separate studies will be conducted for this research project. This first will involve the investigation of the relationship between a pirated electronic product's popularity and its price and/or availability. In order to do this we will collect and analyze data from a popular BitTorrent download website related to the top 100 most downloaded movies, music, software and games in order to establish whether there are relationships between product popularity, product price, and product availability. The second study will involve a cross-cultural analysis of other key factors related to consumers' motivations to engage in Internet piracy using a multi-national sample of 1000 individuals. Both multiple regression and structural equations modeling will be used to statistically analyze the data. Completion of this research should lead to a number of contributions for both academic scholars and business practitioners. Enhancing knowledge of the factors motivating consumers to illegally download copyrighted content can significantly assist companies affected by this activity and regulate the availability and use of copyrighted materials. In addition, this research should also aid in formulating business models and strategies that can avoid the escalation of illegal downloads and lead to savings of billions of dollars. Moreover, for business researchers, such a study can clarify not only the theoretical aspects of consumers' behavior related to online copyrighted content, but also more general issues in the domain of consumer ethics.

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