The Lure of Digital Music Piracy: Modelling the Decision to Pirate or Not to Pirate Digital Music

Ee-Shiang Lim,Helen S.H. Lee
IUniversiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia



Music is increasingly being consumed online. Unauthorised downloading and spreading of music have posed a significant threat to the digital music industry. This study investigates the factors that affect digital music piracy among end-users in a developing country where the intellectual property rights regimes differ from those in developed countries. Both the descriptive and econometric analyses were carried out using primary data collected in Penang, Malaysia. In terms of socio-demographic characteristics, age and ethnicity were found to be significant factors in influencing consumers’ engagement in digital music piracy. The results highlight that music piracy is prevalent across all age groups, with young people having a higher tendency to engage in illegal music activities. Likewise, social influences from family members and the media are also significant factors in explaining digital music piracy. Surprisingly, knowing intellectual property rights and awareness of the severity of punishment for piracy also appear to increase the likelihood of pirating digital music. The study concludes by discussing the policy implications of these findings.

Keywords:  copyright, digital piracy, economic of crime, intellectual property rights, social learning