Influences on the decision to share or copy copyright-protected recorded music among journalism and mass communication college students
Guffey, Gary Charles
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The music industry faces a crisis as digital technology enables an inexpensive way to share or copy copyright-protected files using the Internet as a distribution channel displacing the industry’s tradition “brick and mortar” distribution channel. This comprehensive social science study uses a computer word count of different types of news media, in-depth interviews and a six-campus survey of journalism and mass communication students to triangulate the music piracy issue. Many of the findings may seem obvious, though little research about the industry’s problem have been empirically documented. A few studies have gathered descriptive data and some have explored music piracy more deeply, but this study goes further to examine the influences on the decision to share or copy copyright-protected recorded music. Specifically this study examines the media communication students’ knowledge including the legal, economic, social, ethical and demographic influences on the decision to share or copy copyright-protected recorded music. The principle findings of the study suggest: (1) various news media provide scant coverage of music piracy and do not use the legal terms necessary to adequately discuss copyright law; (2) journalism and mass communication students do not understand copyright law and generally pirate music without feelings of guilt or fear of getting caught; and (3) constructs developed from social, equity, legal and economic theories can be used to enhance the explanatory power of the theory of planned behavior to predict the illegal behavior.