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Social Learning Theory and Music Piracy: The Differential Role of Online and Offline Peer Influences

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Studies Volume: 22 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 405-420
Sameer Hinduja; Jason R. Ingram
Date Published
December 2009
16 pages
This study examined the impact of offline and online peer influences on students' participation in digital piracy.
Social learning theory has been proven to demonstrate much explanatory value in the study of software and music piracy that occurs over the Internet. As a multifaceted predictive framework, though, the salience of some of the theory's individual components has yet to be empirically measured. Answering the call of recent research to do just that, the current study seeks to identify the differential impact of offline and online peer influences on participation in music piracy. Results based on data from a sample of approximately 2,000 university students indicated real-life peers had the strongest effect, after controlling for individuals' demographic characteristics and Internet capabilities. To a lesser degree, though, online peers and online media sources (e.g., chat rooms) were also found to significantly predict participation in music piracy. Suggestions for policy stemming from these findings are discussed in conclusion with the intent of sharpening response efforts to reduce intellectual property theft in cyberspace. Tables and references (Published Abstract)