Sharing or Piracy? An Exploration of Downloading Behavior



This exploratory study applies and extends a new model of media attendance to examine factors that determine current levels of sharing files through peer-to-peer networks among college students, and to predict downloaders’ intentions to discontinue the behavior in the future. In a multiple regression analysis, downloading activity was found to be positively related to deficient self-regulation and the expected social outcomes of downloading behavior. Downloading activity was lessened by dissatisfaction with poor quality downloads. Those who are willing to discontinue downloading are motivated by fear of punishment, but skilled and habitual downloaders were unlikely to discontinue. Normative beliefs also affected downloading. The perception that downloading was morally unacceptable was positively related to intentions to discontinue downloading, while beliefs that the behavior was morally acceptable were positively related to current downloading activity.