Volume 1 Number 3, Pages 2-5
College Students Believe Piracy is Acceptable
Peoria, IL 61625, USA
This paper describes a study conducted on college students to determine their attitude
toward copying of computer software. This study builds and replicates two earlier studies, by
Schuster and by Christoph, et al. In addition to questions used by these two earlier studies,
additional questions about experience with computers, use of software and perceptions of the extent
of piracy by others were asked. The study was administered to over 300 students from various
disciplines and from different levels.
The study's findings corroborate the findings of Christoph et al. in failing to find a significant
relationship between computer work experience and attitude toward piracy. Questions similar to
Schuster's study replicate his earlier results. When asked if they had personally pirated software,
58% of the students who indicated previous work experience with computers responded "Yes."
The authors recommend several forms of action for colleges and universities to take to reduce such
unethical behavior. These actions include (1) formal education concerning the illegitimacy of
software piracy in orientation and early courses of the students freshmen year and (2) informal
education in the form university policies and demonstration of ethical actions by university
Software piracy, Computer ethics
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JISE - Volume 1 Number 3, Page 2.pdf
Cohen, E. & Cornwell, L. (1989). College Students Believe Piracy is Acceptable. Journal of Information Systems Education, 1(3), 2-5.