CERIAS - Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

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Purdue University
Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Understanding Digital Piracy Conversion

Research Areas: Policy, Law and Management

Principal Investigator: Karthik Kannan

Piracy is a significant source of concern facing content developers, including video game developers, music labels, and movie production companies.  Firms continue to invest in digital rights management (DRM) technologies to thwart piracy, but their efforts are quickly defeated by hackers and pirates.  In the context of piracy, we also observe a surprising phenomenon: pirates often choose to purchase the digital good after pirating it.  From an economic standpoint, one would expect the pirates to not gain any additional utility by converting to a paying customer.  In light of this observation, we are interested in exploring what determines whether or not the pirates convert.  The project intends to build on prior work examining construal level theory, allowing us to observe how intentions are impacted when high or low-levels are activated. Construal levels are usually activated by priming the subject with how vs. why scenarios, requiring trade-offs of desirability and feasibility, and also by introducing a time dimension to the situation, among other methods. Specifically, our interest is in the exogenous manipulation of construal levels under various digital piracy scenarios in order to influence deviant behavior. Through our analysis, we aim to provide useful insights regarding piracy for managers.


Other PIs: Duane Wegener (The Ohio State University)

Students: Matthew Hashim (Ph.D. Student)