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Introduction

Piracy,asdefined by the dictionary, isthe crimeof illegally copyingand sellingbooks,


tapes, videos, computer programs etc.(Piracy). Stealing Internet Piracy, can
therefore be defined as stealing online content and using it without permission of
contentcreators.

It is important to address this topic as it is a prevalent issue in Singapore. Despite it


decreasing over theyears, Singapore still had a32%piracyrate in2013 (Yu).Without
raising awareness ofwhatinternet piracycould doto the creative industry,piracy rates
could increase, leadingto the decline in creativeservices as contentcreatorsmaylose
hopeingettingdulycreditedfortheirwork.Thus,inthisliteraturereview,wewillfindout
howwearecontributingtotheriseofinternetpiracy.

LitReview

FactorsthatcontributetoInternetPiracy

PeerInfluence

Social conformity affects onesinvolvement inpiracy.Accordingto Gupta, piratingwas


considered an act ofcollectiveviolence,andnotjustanindividualact(qtd.inRisch2).

A study conducted by Moore and McMullan in 2009 (


Neutralizations and
Rationalizations
) showed that some of the respondents used the everyone else is
doing it neutralisation technique to justify internet piracy. The study surveyed 44
students aged between 18 to 29 (Jaishankar 215), and asked questions regarding
piracy. 16% of respondents used the aforementioned technique (218), showing that
peer influence does influence the tendency to pirate. The respondents also justified
internet piracy, rationalising that recording industries will only persecute persistent
pirates instead of themselves, having only 20 illegally downloaded tunes. Some also
statedthat their peers whodownload music donot get caught,hence such actionsare
acceptable. (219). However, the group ofrespondentschosen for this study werevery
specific, and thus may be subjected toexperimenter bias.The samplesize isalso too
small to make an accurate representation of the general populations perspective on
piracy. Despite theflaws, thisstudymanagestoexplorethereasonswhypeerinfluence
affectsapersonstendencytopiratecontent.

Similarly, a local survey done by the research consultancy Sycamore Private Limited
aimed to find the correlation between Singaporeans ages and the frequency of them
pirating online. It was revealed that despite being aware of internet piracy and its
consequences, 7 out of 10 Singaporeans aged between 16 and 24 engage in digital
piracyoutof habit (1 in 2Singaporeans). 80%of theyoungerrespondentsperceived
piracy to be a social norm now (Online PiracyBehaviourandAttitudes

),in spite of it
beingillegal. However,thestudydidnotincludespecificallyolderSingaporeansattitude

towards piracy, but focused on the opinions of the16 24yearold Singaporeans, and
the whole cohort of respondents in general. Theresultsare hencebiasedtowardsthe
responses of the younger Singaporeans. They could potentially include whatthe older
Singaporeans thought about piracy in the findings. However this study manages to
conclude that piracy is rampant especiallyamongst theyounger generation, whothink
thatpiracysociallyacceptablenowadays.

Both studies prove that peer influence is indeed afactorcontributingto internet piracy
and could be one of the main reasons why one in two youths pirate content (1 in 2
Singaporeans).

Lowcostandhighaccessibility

Itis mentioned inthesame Singaporeanstudy bySycamorePteLtdthat85%ofactive


pirates stream or download content online as it is free (1 in 2 Singaporeans).In the
2014 version of the
Online Piracy Singapore Launch Presentation
by the research
group, resultsshowthat46%ofrespondentspiratemusicbecauseitisfree,and15%of
the total respondents do it to gain quicker access tocontent.It can be concluded that
people pirate contentbecause it seems like a better optionto them thanhavingto pay
for the same content and possibly not having access the the content as quick. The
study conducted is thorough in exploring the reasons why and what Singaporeans
mostly pirate. However, the study did not elucidate the reasons behind the stance of

those who do nottakepart ininternet piracy. If mentioned,itcouldpotentiallyprovidea


more balanced portrayal of the contrasting viewpoints on internet piracy, offer more
solutions,andhaveafairerconclusion.

PositiveandNegativeimpactsofInternetPiracy

Negative
Internet piracy is generallyblamedforthedecline inprofitsofcontentmakersasaccess
to freecontent online disregardsthe needto attain paid legal content. Accordingtothe
IFPI, losses due to piracy in the US music industry were estimated to be $3.7 billion
(qtd. in Jaishankar194). Thisthenengenders a lossof jobsandaffectsmarketstability
(Jaishankar 194). In a survey evaluating the degree of peertopeer (P2P)
contentsharing activities acting as substitutes or complements to original material,
respondents indicated that they would purchase music acquired over P2P networks,
had P2P networks not been available (Barker 2). The estimate loss per person is
suggested to be worth $168, which accumulates to a lossofmillions ofdollarsfor the
industry (2). The survey used a random selection of Canadians aged 15 and up,and
questioned them on their methods of music acquisition (4). It was concluded that the
availability of illegal content online negatively impacts the profits of content creators.
However, the sample size was small, at 2100 (4), and may not be an accurate
representation of the general population. Additionally, evaluation apprehension may

affect the studyas internetpiracyis generally regarded as negative. The resultsof the
survey were also inconsistent (4). Despite this, the study was able to highlight the
possiblelossofrevenueasaresultofP2Pfilesharingnetworks.

Positive

In contrast to popular opinion, internet piracy may be beneficial to content creators.


Unauthorised copies ofcontent providearisklessalternativeforconsumerstosamplea
product or service, before purchasing a legal copy, which isperceived to be ofhigher
quality (Belleflamme and Peitz 8). Additionally, the circulation of content online may
increase the exposure the creator gets (9), which increases the revenue earned.
According to theSwedishRecordingIndustryAssociation(GLF),therevenuegenerated
in the music industry in Sweden rose from just over SEK 829 million in 2011, toSEK
943million in 2012,aftercopiesof musicweremadeavailableonline(Ingham). Thisis
backedup by a study analysing the profitsof the box office after theclosureofpopular
filesharing website, Megaupload, todetermine ifthereisindeedarelationshipbetween
revenuegeneratedandtheavailabilityof unauthorised content online.Itconcludedthat
the shutdown of Megaupload had no effect on the box office revenues (Peukert,
Claussen, and Kretschmerl 1). In fact, it brought adverse effects to certain groups of
movies (1). The researcher suggests that it was because piracy has positive

externalities,where informationaboutthequalityofanexperiencegoodspillsoverfrom
piratestopurchasers(2).

Similarly, another study done to assess the impact of piracy on sales of books,
concluded thattheavailabilityofunauthoriseddigitalcopiesofbooksdoesnotaffectthe
profitgeneratedfromthesalesofbooks(Hardy,Krawczyk,andTyrowicz17).Here,two
groupsof sampleswereprepared: ControlTreatment (CT)andEnforcementTreatment
(ET) (7). Unauthorized copies of books under ET wereregularly tracked and reduced,
while thetitlesunderCTwereleftuntreated (7). The numberofillegalcopiesaccessed
in both groups were then recorded and compared, to which the aforementioned result
was generated. However, this study was done on a limited number of filesharing
websites, and excludes other possible sources where users mayaccess unauthorised
copies of the sample titles (89). Furthermore, the book sampleused waslimited, and
are not representative of the general market (17). Regardless, the study was able to
dispute against common beliefs and suggest that pirated content does not have any
bearingonrevenuegeneratedfromlegalcontent.

However, the studies above directly contradicts eachother,with sources claiming that
the negative impacts of internet piracy includes huge economic loss, while other
sources stated that access to unauthorised copies online can bring about economic
benefitstocontentcreators.

Demographicdifferences

Age

According to a studybySykes andMatza,89.7% ofrespondentsaged below 25years


old responded thattheytend to pirate music,whilstitwas 66.7%forthegroupaged25
and above (Ulsperger, Hodges, and Paul 10). These statistics conclude that people
under 25 years old are more likely to pirate music. The study mentioned that these
percentages were unsurprising, given the trends of internet usage. As Ulsperger,
Hodges, and Paul quoted from Schleret al,Generation Ytendsto engagein activities
such as blogging (12). The participants who were quoted, most being under 25,
respondedinanindignantway.Some reasonsmentionedforpiracy werethattheywere
too busy to purchase or find the original content, it was innocuous behaviour, or they
were aiding industry. Some even felt that the government should take responsibility if
theywantedinternetpiracytostop.

Thestudywas lacking inage diversity, notspecifyingthe agerangeoftheparticipants,


stating only that there were two groups respondents under 25 years old and
respondents 25 years and above. Also, out of the 778 participants, 670of themwere
below 25 years old, while 108 were 25 and over. This meant that it was an uneven
study, asthenumber of respondents below 25 wasmore than sixtimesthe number of
the othercohort,whichleadsto a biased study.However, theresponse recordeddoes

contribute to data gathered on youths, 25 and under,perspectiveofinternet piracy. It


could have beenimproved withmore quotes and recorded responses of those thatare
25 and above,so that a fair conclusioncanbe reached after analysingandcomparing
thedifferentopinions.

Gender

A study conductedbyCybernormsto determine the demographics of Pirate Bayusers


found that 93.8% of the respondents were male, while only 6.2% were female
(Svensson, Larsson, and Kaminski 4). This huge contrast inpercentages was present
throughout all age groups (4),suggestingthatmalesaremorelikelytopiratecontentas
compared to females. The study was conducted by altering the logo andnameof the
site(1).Userswho clicked onthemodifiedlogowereredirectedtoanonlinesurvey (1).
Theresultsof this study maythusnotbeaccuratein thatitwassusceptibletomortality,
asusers might nothavehadthetimeorpatiencetoanswerthequestions.Furthermore,
participants were of a voluntary basis researchers were not able to select sample
subjects, hence, the resultscannotbe representativeofthegeneralpopulationofthose
who access illegal content. However, the results prove that a large percentage ofthe
userswhopartakeinunauthorisedfilesharingaremales.


Conclusion

In conclusion, withthe advent of technology, piracy isaburgeoning issueinSingapore.


Peer influence, low cost and highaccessibility play imperative rolesin determiningthe
propensity to access pirated content, despite being familiar with the concept and
adverse effects of such behavior. Users who engage in such activities have been
desensitized to the immorality of such actions. It can be deduced that such activities
havebothpositiveandnegativeimpactsontheprofitsgeneratedbycontent.
Demographics wise, male youths are more likely to utilise filesharing websites. The
studies explored in the review cover both local andinternational statistics and factors,
whichwillaidusincomingupwithrelevantsurveyquestions.

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