Piracy as a social phenomenon - It's not about the $

A recent post on ars technica highlighted an article out of Kent State that described piracy as a social phenomenon, unlikely to be affected by legal efforts. As summarized by ars:"The researchers have two theories for this, one of which is that file-sharing is more of a social phenomenon than an economic one.

A recent post on ars technica highlighted an article out of Kent State that described piracy as a social phenomenon, unlikely to be affected by legal efforts. As summarized by ars:

"The researchers have two theories for this, one of which is that file-sharing is more of a social phenomenon than an economic one. "That is," say the researchers, "downloaders of free, so-called 'pirate' music seemed to be more motivated by the social aspect of trading and sharing music with other music enthusiasts rather than the proposition of saving money on music purchases." This certainly seems to be the case for the students who run darknet servers for no profit, even as their school cracks down on the practice.

The Kent State study suggested that students were motivated by both "moral justification" as well as the belief that if they downloaded less than their peers, that it was OK. Students generally no longer have a concept of piracy or the wrongness of downloading copyrighted materials. More significantly, the researchers saw no connection between students plans to purchase music and their intention to download music. Rather, they share music for its own sake instead of to avoid paying for the material.

The study also recognized an extremely casual attitude about file-sharing and noted that even expulsion from school might not be adequate motivation to stop sharing copyrighted material. Most of us have probably seen this in our own students (and children, for that matter). The idea of copyright seems pretty meaningless to these kids. It's time for the model to move on - the listeners certainly have.