Journal of Information Systems Education (JISE)

Volume 1

Volume 1 Number 3, Pages 2-5

Spring 1989


College Students Believe Piracy is Acceptable


Eli Cohen
Larry Cornwell

Bradley University
Peoria, IL 61625, USA

Abstract: 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 employees.

Keywords: Software piracy, Computer ethics

Download this article: JISE - Volume 1 Number 3, Page 2.pdf


Recommended Citation: Cohen, E. & Cornwell, L. (1989). College Students Believe Piracy is Acceptable. Journal of Information Systems Education, 1(3), 2-5.