Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 13 Number 4 1997 pp. 49-60

To Purchase or to Pirate Software: An Empirical Study

Cheng, Hsing K, Sims, Ronald R, and Teegen, Hildy

ABSTRACT: Illegal copying of computer software, usually called software piracy, is a prevalent and serious problem. Some researchers attribute the widespread incidence of software piracy to people's attitudes toward piracy behavior and peer norms. However, current literature leaves unanswered a fundamental question of why individuals pirate software. The objective of this paper is to identify the underlying reasons why individuals pirate software. We also identify what motivates individuals to purchase software as opposed to pirating it. Understanding why individuals purchase and pirate software has clear value for policy makers to develop effective measures to curb the software piracy problem.

Key words and phrases: income effect in software acquisition, software piracy, software purchase