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What Motivates Software Crackers?

Author(s): Sigi Goode and Sam Cruise


Source: Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 65, No. 2 (May, 2006), pp. 173-201
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25123780
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(2006) 65: 173-201


Journal of Business Ethics
DOI
10.1007A10551-005-4709-9

Motivates

What

Software
industry.
lose revenue
when

companies

piracy. Much
on software
only
been

why,

skill

and

first

legal
of

goes

interviews

with
the

of

this

neutralisation,

directly
motivates

to

removing

copy

motivation

initial

the

actions

also

KEY

WORDS:

social

is a senior

Sigi Goode

finds

chal
as

software
Desire

Systems
and a director

University,

Australian

National

Centre

Information

for

at the
of the

Research

Systems

(NCISR). His PhD

thesis dealt with constructvalidity in IS

a motivational

reserarch. Dr.

has published

piracy,

personal

motivation,

as a digital

to pro
is expensive
good,
to duplicate
and distribute

illegal
Maude,

of copyrighted
software
(Maude and
The
indicates
literature
that firms
1984).

copies

resources

substantial

unauthorised

prevent

Schildkraut

1989;

et

Lee

2001;
Moore

developing
duplication

(Rosenberg,
2000; Wallach,
Gasper,
and Chen,
2002; Lee
2002;
and

al.,

Technology

Management,

and installation

Information

Systems,

Information

Information

interests

Sam

Technology

include

and

open

Cruise

system
source

adoption,

mobile

of Computer
Management,
the Australian

others. His
commerce,

research
software

software.

has a First
theAustralian

Systems from

and

among

Systems,

of Information

piracy

Systems

and Management

of journals,

Class

Honours

National

degree

University.

in Information
Sam

has also

worked as a project officer


for an IT and health researchproject
and recentlycompleteda Graduate Diploma inEducationfrom
the University
at
medicine
software
use.

of Western
Griffith

piracy

Australia.

University.

and policy,

Sam's
education

Sam

is currently

research
and

interests

information

studying
include
systems

with

of software
skill

sufficient

the head

Huntsman,
a

Formaster,

tection,
remained
for more
Firing,

company

stated

to

methods

Information

Journal

study

neutralisation

including Information & Management, Journal of Global

in a variety

factor
The

cracking.

2003).
the efforts of software publishers,
Despite
the devices used to prevent unauthorised

Goode

their

inexpensive
and Sanders 2000). Because
of the ease of
is
it
in
the
software
inter
duplication,
producers'
as possible
ests to make
to obtain
it as difficult

further
the

Information

Canberra

Journal

Mr.

in

lecturer

National

was

rewarding,
continue

(Gopal

cognitive

of crackers.

Australian

to

Introduction

spend
Dr.

software

justification,

Software,
duce but

The
online

and

from

was

software

activities.

study

protection

for

and

explore

The

findings.
the

study

conducts

to

crackers

eight

status was
not
social
Higher
a
of
by-product
perceived
raises areas for future
research.

actions.
but

to be

crackers

do

justification

in an anonymous
then

found

for

unnecessary

ex

This

their

while

participation,

instead

activity

the

what

survey's

strongest

in

to

aims
to remove,

employment.

this framework
applies
crackers.
The
study

of

validate

time

are
has

protection

research

social

considered

end-users

copy

This

and

and

the

for

Cruise

focuses

literature

However,

is so difficult

protection

their

to determine

survey

the

'cracker'.

a framework

crackers

lenge

lucrative

develops
motivation

research

published

by end-users.
once
software

by

invest

more

study

the

if copy

crackers
of

of
piracy

removed

plore

in the

publishing

software
rather
than
pirated
are
is used.
Policy
developers
into restricting
and money
software

time

to copy

able

and

software

purchased
to invest

legally
forced

authors

Springer 2006

Sam

Crackers?

Software

Software piracy is a serious problem

ABSTPJVCT.
software

that

have been

and
of

time.
software

dedicated

"no

In

most

copying
circumvented
1984,

development
to

protection

of

software

system

Laind
for
pro

has

uncracked

programmers
by enterprising
than a few months"
(Tyler, 1984). Martel
the founder of Noumenon
(a software pub
stated "nobody
has a total solution. We're

lisher),
just trying to defeat the casual copier" (Tyler, 1984).
to bypass
Wallach
(2001) argues, "those determined
have always found ways to do so copy-protection
and

always

will".

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174 Sigi Goode


The

role of the "cracker"


software

illegal

copied

illegally

in the distribution

of

is pivotal,
since software cannot be
or used while
is in
copy protection
copy

place. Removing

as

time-consuming,

is difficult

protection

the

has

cracker

to

and

circumvent,

the benefits of seeing the program


usually without
source code, the devices developed
by paid software
authors. This activity requires specialised
technical
more
to
which
be
could
skills,
put
arguably
legiti
mate

use elsewhere.

evidence

from

Additionally,
suggests that crackers

popular media
their work
(Piazza, 2002).
software copyright
legislation

are not paid for


Crackers
also violate
and software

(Cambanis, 2002; Lee, 2002).


This study ismotivated
by two factors.
PC application
revenues

business

software

licenses

First, the
accounted

industry
of US$21.6
billion
Association
Industry

for worldwide

the

in 1999

(Software & Information


a 19% increase from 1998.
losses due

to software
in

worldwide

the

2000),
In 1999, the estimated
billion
piracy were US$12.2

business

software

sector

alone,

an

the previous
year. The use of
from
the previous
software
increased
34%
pirated
8c
Information
year (Software
Industry Association
substantial funds are at stake.
2000). Clearly,
from

11% increase

software

Further,

means

complex

authors

of protecting

must

devise

their software

more

includ

litigation processes
(Hiduja, 2003) and
enforcement
(Kini et al., 2000).
policy
copyright
suffer losses as fewer units of software are
Managers
must
sold and policy
spend resources
developers
use
to
the
and
of
stop
trying
supply
pirated software
ing expensive

(Gopal

and Sanders,

2000; Moores

et al.,
and Sanders,
1998; Limayem
1997; Gopal
area
et
in
Most
studies
the
Rahim
1999;
al, 1999).
for conve
have used student samples, ostensibly
nience

and access

initiate the
literature
intriguing

authors
and Glass
This

such as Hinduja
(2003), Sims et al. (1996)
and Wood
(1996), among others.

discussion

two main

suggests

research

ques
and difficult

tions. The

time-consuming
apparently
tasks performed
by the cracker raise the question

what

of

a cracker.

motivates

1. What factors motivate software crackers to remove


copy protection from commercial software?
neutralise

study also aims to explore how


the social controls
that would

inhibit

deviant

This

Matza,

individuals
otherwise

patterns
(Sykes and
neutralisation
study includes
as part of a general theory of motiva
motivational

This

1957).

(justification)
tion (Minor, 1981).
2. What factors do software crackers use to justify
removing the copy protection from commercial software?
The rest of this paper is structured as follows. The
next

section

discusses

This

is followed

which

comprises

piracy literature.
theoretical
framework,

the software
the

by
research

literature

on motivation

factors to proxy for both


producing
The
aspects.
paper then details the re

and justification,

personality
search method,
the survey instrument and
including
interview
The paper then dis
method.
cognitive
cusses the results and analysis, including quantitative
and qualitative
analysis of the survey results, and the
of
these
results using interviews. Finally,
exploration
and areas for further
conclusions,
implications
are

research

Software

covered.

cracking

and

software

piracy

and Dhaliwal,

2004).
research into why
there has been much
Second,
end-users use pirated software (Davis, 1989; Eining
and Christensen,
1991;
1991; Shim and Taylor,
et
et
Givon
al., 1994; Simpson
al., 1994;
Logsdon
et al., 1995; Sims et al., 1996; Gopal
and Sanders,

However,
understand

and Sam Cruise

purposes
(Kwong et al., 2003).
little attempt to
there has been seemingly
of the individuals who
the motivations
spread of this software. The dearth of
in this area makes
for a particularly
study, and this paper answers the call of

Software

is defined

as "the unauthorized

copying
of computer software, which constitutes copyright infringe
ment, for either commercial or personal use" (Software &
and
Information
2000). Wold
Industry Association
the
Shriver (1989) were among the first to document
piracy

rise of piracy, which


increased as computers
more widespread.
the
Figure 1 describes
piracy

became
software

process.

Figure 1 illustrates the pivotal role that crackers


software. First,
of pirated
play in the distribution
the group with
suppliers provide
software
from
may
originate
reviewers

or

retailers.

Crackers,

who

software,
authoring
have

which
firms,
the most

role, strip the programs of


technologically
complex
their copy protection
the control techniques used

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What Motivates

175

Software Crackers?

1. Software
supplier

2. Supplier
protected
cracker.

Steps 1 4

the

by
piracy

group.

the copy
to the

passes
software

removes

3. Cracker

take place

is obtained

of a software

copy

protection

within the
group.
4. Cracked

is tested,
software
over
and distributed
packaged
the group's
network.
private
5. Group
software

moves

cracked

to public

"release"

networks

End-users

1. The

Figure

pirated

to prevent
unauthorised
(Maude and
duplication
ensure
Testers
then
that
the software
Maude,
1984).
on
test
works
installations
properly by conducting
different
into

Packers
computers.
small files and distribute

Finally,

use

Pre-releasers

to move

divide
them

File

the programs
to release sites.

Transfer

Protocol

to the group's
this point, external

the files

(FTP) programs
'release site' (Lee, 2002). From
courier groups take over and move
the files through
a systematic distribution
into
chain, and eventually
Usenet

newsgroups,

(Lee, 2002)

peer-to-peer

and pirate

software

software

retailers

networks

(Moores

and

Dhillon,
2000).
Published
research has generally focused on end
user piracy. Recent
studies have found that gender
and age affect piracy behaviour,
with
females and
less likely to use pirated software
individuals
and O'Brien,
1991; Simpson et al, 1994;
(Solomon
Gopal and Sanders, 1997). The literature profiles the
older

typical
edgeable,

computer

as young,
skilled, knowl
for their position,
elitist, and

criminal

overqualified

software

distribution

process.

use did not harm


that their computer
believing
or
not
who
could
afford
did not deserve to
anyone
be harmed
1984).
(Highland,
a
studies have found relationships between
code of ethics or behaviour,
such as at a place

Several
formal

of business,
and an individual's
software
and Henry,
(Pierce

decision

to pirate
and
Gopal

1996;
and Abdul-Gader,
1997; Al-Jabri
Sanders,
Some have speculated about similar unwritten

1997).
codes

of behaviour within
other subcultures,
such as street
and Costello
gangs (Winchester
1995) and prison
et
communities
other
al., 1994). However,
(Winfree
as
or
such
informal
codes,
codes, appear
personal
less influential (Pierce and Henry,
1996).
et
no
al.
found
differ
Limayem
(1999)
significant
ence in attitude
towards software piracy between
significantly

those who

attended

an ethics

course

and those who

did not.
such as inadequate
time to
events,
or
not
to
software
where
obtain
acquire
knowing
the software legitimately,
and personal gain factors
Situational

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176 Sigi Goode


an individual's decision
to copy
et al., 1994). This may be due to
of anonymity
and
the feeling

affect
significantly
software (Simpson
"deindividuation",
distance

from

the

adverse

effects

of

the

ac

person's

(Loch and Conger,


1996).
Software
crackers may
feel as though
they are
others
consistent
free
software,
by providing
aiding
with Glass and Wood
from
(1996) and evidence
tions

et al. (1996) of altruism in helping strangers


over the Internet. There
is evidence
in the popular
earn no money
media
that group members
from
Constant

instead
2002; Mackenzie
(Cambanis
2002)
as
a
social
the
which
experience
activity
describing
was motivated
prestige,
by a sense of competition,
and the entertainment
value of distributing
pirated
piracy

goods

and Sam Cruise


this
'actualization'
(Maslow,
1943)
addressing
describe
the need
for achievement
(McClelland,
and growth

one's
with developing
the
Hence,
(Alderfer, 1969).
potential
challenge of
a
itself
be
factor.
cracking may
significant motivating
There may also be intrinsic motivation
(Barbuto
and Scholl,
the activity
itself is the
1998) where
1961)

incentive
behaviour

associated

motivated
(Deci,
1975).
Intrinsically
is of two kinds. First, an individual may seek

to behave inways which allow them to feel competent


and self-determining
(Deci, 1975). The second kind
con
of intrinsically motivated
behaviour
involves
an individual conquers the
challenges. When
that
feel
encounter,
challenges
they
they will
is
that
the
achievement
There
evidence
(Deci, 1975).

quering

greater the difficulty of the challenge,


to succeed in the challenge
motivation

(Lee, 2002).

the greater

the

(Locke, 1968).
from
the chal
gained
undertaking
knowledge
to
itself
be
and
hence
motivating
lenge may
rewarding
an individual. Maslow
that
there
(1943) postulated

The
framework

Theoretical

into two
study divides its theoretical framework
arms. The study draws first on theories of motivation
and social
and, second, on theories of justification

This

neutralisation.

as

Motives

are

minants

of all behaviour

regarded

the

basic

which

causes

and

deter

is not

haphazard,
into two
and is divided
trivial, or purely habitual,
The
first
broad categories
type of
1992).
(Ford,
in which
involves behaviour
behaviour
motivated
feels forced, perhaps against their will,
to act in certain ways
(for instance, to seek food).
in which
the
The other type describes behaviour
is clearly conscious
of a definite goal to
individual
the individual

which

are persistently
and forcefully
This
includes
consequences
1969).

they

(Vernon,
individual would
study considers
Motivation

directed

(Ford, 1992). This


the second type of motivation.
can be externally
the
based when

of personal values (Bar


aim to gain group
Individuals may
nard,
1938).
and, subse
1966)
(Katz and Kahn,
acceptance
to
status
Barbuto
and
1961;
(Etzioni,
gain
quently,
sets
internal
In
the
individual
addition,
Scholl, 1998).
individual

standards

to

get the facts, to satisfy curiosity".


anecdotal
evidence
has suggested
Finally, while
that crackers are not paid for their activities
(Lee,
there is no conclusive
2002),
proof that this is the
Instrumental

rewards

such

as

salary

or

bonuses

that
individuals when
may motivate
they perceive
will
benefits
lead to tangible
their behaviour
(Barnard, 1938; Katz and Kahn, 1966). This is similar
to the need for power (McClelland,
1961), a need for
safety (Maslow, 1943) or the later stages of existence
needs

(Alderfer, 1969). Instrumental


as a possible
therefore be excluded

reward

cannot
of

component

motivation.

cracking

Factors of motivation

that the

like to achieve

to be aware of reality,

to know,

"a basic desire

case.

of motivation

Theories

was

study

the

2 describes

Figure
factors

extracted
of

software

from

application
the literature

of motivation
review

to the

crackers.

seeks affirmation

of values

'ideal' self (Barbuto

that become
and Scholl,

the basis
1998). Other

for

the

studies

Theories

of justification

it is
behaviour
exhibits
signs of deviance,
neutra
to
the
individual
how
understand
necessary

When

lised the social controls


or inhibit deviant

otherwise

check

(Sykes and Matza,

1957).

that would

patterns

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What Motivates

Software Crackers? 177

Factor_Description_
to be highly
of the piracy environment
the social participation
rewarding (Lee 2002). Individuals may have a need to interact socially (Maslow
and Mael
1943) or be part of a group (Katz and Kahn 1966, Turner 1984, Ashforth

Crackers may find

for Social

Desire

Participation

1989).
then the challenge
is extremely difficult,
itself may be a
copy protection
factor for crackers (Locke 1968, Deci
1975), consistent with
significant motivating
theories (Lee 2002).
the related psychological

If removing

for Personal

Desire
Challenge

Desire

between groups (Lee 2002)


The competition
groups to seek status (Etzioni 1961, Barbuto
factor.
be a motivating

Status

for Social

Reward

Tangible

Demand

their behaviour

(Barnard 1938, Katz and Kahn


will act solely as a control in the

Software

(Simpson

Figure

are not paid (Lee 2002).

that that crackers

software for illegal


may increase the likelihood of people providing
1996). There is further support for the provision of
copying (Glass and Wood
to strangers for no tangible reward (Constant et al. 1996).
assistance

Financial

for Free

Need

lead to

Individuals

may feel motivated when they perceive


such as pay or bonuses
tangible outcomes
that this factor of motivation
It is anticipated

will

inside

that this may

Altruism

for Free
Software

Personal

of individuals

1998) suggests

extrinsic

1966).
light of evidence
Public

and the behaviour


and Scholl

2.

Factors

constraints

can be a motivating
factor for end-users
and Wood
1996).

to pirate software

et al. 1994, Glass

context

in the

of motivation

of

software

piracy.

Factor_Description_
The Denial

for their actions, then the restraining effect on


If subjects deny responsibility
behaviour can be reduced. This denial of responsibility
helps them renounce
as victims of their
for
their
instead
themselves
deviance,
perceiving
culpability

of

Responsibility

environment
The Denial

of Injury

The Denial

of the

Condemnation

and Matza

It is possible
for the deviant actions and
that, despite accepting responsibility
Victim resulting injury, the subject may justify the action as retribution upon or in the
absence of a deserving victim (Sykes and Matza
1957).
attempt to transfer attention from their own deviant acts to those
are
disapprove of their actions. The subject may claim that the condemners
thus blaming their actions on law-makers or other officials
hypocrites,
(Sykes and
Matza
1957)
The

of the

subject may

who

to Higher

subject justifies and legitimises


are being loyal to an "unconventional
relevance
1957).
(Sykes and Matza

Figure

3.

Factors

of justification

The

(Sykes andMatza,
techniques of neutralisation
the justifi
1957) are a popular means of exploring
cation of deviant behaviour,
been
having
applied in
as varied

as adolescent

their deviant

The

Loyalties

fields

1957).

Subjects may deny that any injury or harm arises from their actions. This allows
to feel that their deviance may be undertaken without direct harm to others
offenders
1957).
(Sykes and Matza

Condemners

The Appeal

(Sykes

drug use

(Peretti-Watel,

in the

behaviour

social bond", which

context

of

software

the behaviour

by claiming that they


bears greater personal

piracy.

pageant mothers
and deer poaching
2003),
(Heltsley and Calhoun,
and
Further,
Dodder,
(Eliason
2000).
past research
are
has found that the techniques
of neutralisation
2003),

of beauty

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178

Sigi Goode

in white
valuable
collar crime
(De
particularly
et al., 1994;
Strutton
1988; Hollinger,
1991;
Young,
1995; Gauthier,
2001). Lim (2002) exam
Dabney,
played in cyberloa
use
where
their
Internet
fing,
employees
company's
access for personal purposes during work hours.
ined the role that neutralization

and Sam Cruise


research

and Grover,
1978; Malhotra
1998).
of
the
is that a range
method
survey
advantage
in situ with
little time
of variables can be examined
(Dubin,

The

and Grover,
1998).
(Dubin, 1978; Malhotra
the survey method
However,
only portrays the
state of affairs at a single point in time, provides
little
to
into
causal
and
is
open
insight
relationships,
and researcher
bias
1992).
(Galliers,
respondent
et al. (1997) argue that these drawbacks can be
Dalton
when
the research is of a sensitive nature.
magnified

Factors of justification
(1957) identify the factors
Sykes and Matza
tification and neutralisation
shown in Figure

of jus
3.

The

and
immediacy
was
method
thought
disadvantages.
survey should

Because
what

is likely

significant

find

participants.

'sensitive

examines

which

there

or

controversial

and Stanley
Sieber
1993).
the adverse effects of "po

(Lee,
also observe
or

consequences

ticipants

some

to
that it may be difficult
case
this
is
the
for
much
Indeed,

issues

(1988:49)
tential

to be

risk-averse,

concern

research'

personal

and

anonymous

specialised,

the

implications...for

the

by

research".

areas

promising

of

par

ethics

this
Accordingly,
to
data
proach
gathering
the

this,

"the
are

(Dalton et al., 1997:1049).


the same time, validity is important to research
in areas such as ethics and social behaviour. Many
to be one of the
social scientists consider validity

uses

study

items. The

interviews

to
by

greater

of findings
the triangulation
et al., 1998).
ap
study takes a two-stage
and analysis. The
survey

questionnaire

attitudinal

findings,

research

Despite

business

tive findings, but also


(consistent with Deacon

of

in the research or for the class of individuals

represented

be

interview

the target population

was

more

complemented
by a substantive
to
in
order
explore the findings
approach
in detail. A key methodological
goal of this study is
not simply the qualitative
confirmation
of quantita

method

Research

effectiveness
of the survey
to outweigh
these potential
As a result, itwas acknowledged
that a

exploring

and
the

examine

uses

second

triangulate

first phase
to

phase
cognitive
to the
add validity
outcomes
in
survey

depth.

'sensitive'"
At

most

increasing
in a

participants

certain

that

the

research

1982),
few observations

the number
the

study,

is

are

of observations
can

be more

"measuring

what

researcher

actually

is

it

it purports to measure"
1975).
(London,
Amid
the research methods
available to the social
science

Myers,

researcher,

1999),

as

such

experiments
and action

case

studies

The method

and Veiga,
and Veiga,
has proven

It has

I: Questionnaire
electronic

online

research

survey
survey

was

deemed

the

most

approach for the first phase. While


tar
be carefully and appropriately
to produce good results (Cheyne and

must

respondents
geted in order
also exhibit
lower
individuals may
Ritter,
2001),
social desirability when
they respond to online sur
to paper-based
surveys (Sproull and
veys compared
and Ritter,
1999; Cheyne
Kiesler,
1991; Joinson,
2001; Lim,

2002).

and

(Mason, 1989), surveys


research (Lau, 1997) the
shown to be an effective

(Davis, 1989),
has been
survey method
means
data electronically.
of gathering
attention
substantial
literature
received
1999; Simsek
2001; Simsek

(Klein

An

suitable

research

however

Anastasi,
important when

(London,

science

social

1975;

especially
available. By
or

of

aspects

important

Phase

also

(Joinson,
and Ritter,
2000; Cheyne
et al., 2002).
2001; Nosek
in
useful
the early stages of

Population definition and sample selection


As the actual size of the cracker population
could not
the
be found in the published
literature,
survey phase
of this study used a sample of the population
(Adams
and

Schvaneveldt,
as means
proposed
included
scanning
for email addresses,

were
methods
1991). Three
of soliciting participants.
These
pirate group contact documents
soliciting

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participation

in online

What Motivates
real-time
online

chat forums

pre-testing
on

ticipants

in

participation

boards.

message

Method

and soliciting

online

suggested

that soliciting
was

boards

message

the

choice.

This

to be

respondents
2001). Also,

this

and Ritter,

targeted
(Cheyne
type of participant

is

recruiting
useful when
the researcher
requires
particularly
control over who hears about the study and how the
study is described

(Nosek

et al., 2002).

sound

otherwise

surveys
Issues

research.

and number and type of


to survey validity. Survey
structure was important as data had to be gathered
from a variety of individuals with unknown
demo

graphics.

the eleven factors of


survey first examined
motivation
and justification
using a series of Likert
Where

questions.

questions

possible,

in the literature
instruments
adopted from existing
that had already undergone
testing (such as Solomon
and O'Brien,
the exploratory nat
1991). However,
ure of this research meant
that existing questions for
some factors could not be found, and new questions
new questions were
These
had to be developed.
to extensive

subjected
factors of motivation
one

or more

used

in

the

was mapped

instrument.

seven

respondent
The

questions

pre-testing.
and justification

Likert
scale
point
attitudes (Likert, 1932).
also

survey

a series

contained

to

Questions

to

determine

of

the

were

Demographic
the conclusion
anonymous
be ethically

information

was

also

collected

at

of the survey. The survey had to be


as the identity of an individual could not
in circumstances
solicited
where
they

two

known

crackers,

Problems

with

final

addressed.

survey instrument was


this pilot test.

the

personally

and
grammar
version
of the

created based on the results of

Survey administration
Before
administering

a list of potential

the survey,
and

questions

answers

appropriate

was

so that each respondent would


receive the
produced
same information
about the study (Dillman,
1978).
the aims of
regarding
of the researcher
identity
and Clark, 2004).
(consistent with Kotulic
In order to limit problems
such as subjects for
to
the
others
survey
(Simsek and Veiga,
warding
this

included

research

information

and

the

and multiple

from a single individual


solicited
participants were

responses

(Smith and Leigh,


1997),
by way of an advertisement

at five known
cracking
re
and
(Simsek
2001). Participants
Veiga,
an
were
to
email address and
then issued a
sponded

forums

was

which

web-based

to explain their answers to the Likert


opportunity
scale questions. Again, questions were adapted from
the literature, where
such as Sykes and
possible,
Matza
(1957).

on

tested

researchers.

structure

in

the usability and fluidity of


1978; Grover et al., 1994). The

(Dillman,

was

survey,

open-ended

in past studies
significant
subculture
deviance
(Highland,
so as
questions were optional

to examine

an attachment

to explore the factors of moti


questions,
designed
vation and justification
in greater depth. The open
ended questions would
the respondent
the
give

and

employment,

the most

online

researchers

2001)

Each of the eleven

of

1984). Demographic
to allay fears about data misuse
and hopefully
crease response rates (Kotulic and Clark, 2004).
is deemed
Pre-testing
important as it allows

These

were

area

is still active in the


the respondent
environment.
This
data has
demographic

respondent

The

data
activity. Demographic
to age, education
in relation

or not

involving

to

such as length, appearance


questions are fundamental

scale

current

the survey

Survey development
Straub (1989) argues that poorly-constructed
compromise

only

reached,

piracy
been deemed

survey

can

collected

whether

most

179

to criminal

admit

may
were
level

par

technique has been used previ


and
2001; Lim, 2002) and is
Ritter,
ously (Cheyne
a suitable means of soliciting participants.
considered
This
allowed
technique
appropriate
potential
viable

Software Crackers?

The

survey.

by using
the email.

Phase 2: Cognitive
The

a text

document,

as

to a

web-based

the one-off

accessible
within

as

or by a hyperlink

accessible

to the email,

survey

password

was

only

contained

interviews

aimed, if
phase of the research method
to
additional
the
into
possible,
gain
insight
findings
from the previous
of
stage. To do this, a method
was
used.
The
interview
cognitive
interviewing

method

second

allows

for

the

qualitative

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exploration

of

180 Sigi Goode


important points on a personal
in terms of research
ibility

and Sam Cruise

level and gives flex

(Creswell,
approach
(1997) used a similar approach to
the adolescent
of piracy and
understanding

explore

view,

beliefs.

ownership
Each interview

the general program of


(1986)
by Waldron

followed

cognitive
interviewing
and Scott et al. (1991).
and presented
gathered

in terms

First, summary data were


to the participants.
The

information
to

directed

open-ended
the finding

and

further

the

then

of the question

understanding
interviewee's
question

of

was

interviewee

sought.
confirm

and its meaning.


The
to both
the

reactions
were

then

recorded

for

to obtain

prior

participants

and

option.

direct

might

others

24

survey

more

five

than

unanswered

the demographic
statistics. Four of the
to
declined
respondents
provide
demographic

I
demographics

Category

Demographic

questions.

I shows

information.

TABLE
participant

1: Questionnaire

contained

Table

to participate

Survey

analysis

to the posts in the


total of 28 people
replied
an
to
forums
in participat
interest
express
cracking
to the
in
the
From
26
these,
survey.
responses
ing
were
two
were
received.
Of these,
survey
judged to
be overtly hostile or incomplete,
leaving 24 usable
were
if they
responses. Surveys
judged
incomplete

their

participants for this stage, calls


interviewee
participants were posted
It was hoped
that some
cracking forums.

two

Results

interview

using Private Mes


All participants
pre

The

for additional
on

the online

Phase

analysis.

In order

ferred

interview
forums.

outlined

actual question was read to the interviewee.


If the
so desired, the question was repeated for
interviewee
clarity. Each finding was then related to the inter
viewee

the choice

given
an online
Chat) or a text-based
saging on discussion

Friedman

1998).

to the study. Potential participants


a telephone
between
inter
interview using IRC (Internet Relay

and lend credence


were

Frequency

16-20

Age1"

21-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41-45

45-50
Area

of

Unemployed

employment

Student

Hospitality
Information

Technology

Media
Agriculture
Serf-Employed
Currently at High School (Years 7-12)
Completed High School
Attending University
(Bachelor Degree)
Completed University
Graduate Degree
(Masters or Higher National

**
Level

'
"

Two
The

of

education

respondents
Higher

answered

National

in terms

Diploma,

of

These
bandings.
in the USA,
available

responses
is a two

are omitted
year

graduate

from

Diploma)
the

degree

table.

above
with

degree.

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prerequisite

Bachelor

What Motivates
Past studies of deviant

electronic

subcultures

sug

in these subcultures are young,


gest that participants
and
skilled,
1984). The
knowledgeable
(Highland,
most
this:
of
the
support
demographics
respondents
are 25 and under and have at least some degree of
Seven had not attended University.
in these
element
surprising

tertiary education.

one

Tentatively,

in areas of employ

is the variation

demographics
ment. Bearing
the size of the respondent
group in
in the IT
mind, only six of the 24 respondents work
a
to
IT
much
industry
industry, contrary
higher
rate predicted
in other studies (Barber,
employment
in
of the respondents worked
2001).
or
a
as
as
as
one
fields
varied
cook, with
agriculture
turn
in
and
respondent
being
self-employed
The

remainder

five

employing

of motivation

Analysis

As observed

and justification

in other

studies of sensitive

in finding

difficulty
size

sample

other people.

assumptions
due
perhaps

can

be

about
to
tests

nonparametric

respondents
small.

In

circumstances

of

the

be made,

pected

binomial

median.

standard

deviation

II gives

Table
and

two-tailed

et

al.,

the median,
p-values

the .05 level for the factors of motivation

at

(Labovitz,

results suggest that the Demand for Free Soft


ware and the Desire for Social Participation of
cracking

group,
=
Sig.
copy
remove
to

the

however

rewarding,

factors.

factors of motivation.
have

are

they

not

motivating

the Desire for Personal Challenge factor


=
the results strongly
7,
suggest
(Median
.000 for both indicators) that crackers enjoy
and

be more

that

is particularly

which
the

important

act

of
to

cracking
the

cracker

difficult

software
than

of justification
the analysis of

This

suggests that crackers may


of justifying
their activity.
ways
to the Denial
piracy
of Responsibility,

With

regard

countermeasures

have

little

or

no

on

influence

to crack software. The findings for


of Injury factor were unclear, with crackers

cracker's decision
the Denial

having varying views on the adverse effects of soft


ware cracking (Mean = 4.33, Sig. = .503). Based on
the results for the Condemnation
of the Condemners
some limited
it
that
show
crackers
factor,
appears
=
4.92,
sympathy for the software industry (Mean
=
some
also
however
believe
the
.031),
Sig.
industry
to have

does not deserve

their product

copied.

IB: Qualitative

analysis

were
analysed using open
is
the
coding. Open
coding
analytic process through
are identified
which
and their properties
concepts
are discovered
and dimensions
in the data. This
a
process involves creating
dictionary of key concepts

to

appears

questions

Open-ended

from

the central

concepts

that

this dictionary,
stand for phenomena

(Strauss and Corbin,


category's

along

in the responses

ideas mentioned

From

crackers.

with

1998). The
a count

phenomena

of

group

categories
the

are pre

occurrences

responses.

by

or
categories
are created
a

of
For

each

factor below,
textual passages are included
example
to clarify scope and meaning. A participant's response
include entries in more
than one category
if
may
are
evident in their response.
multiple
phenomena

releasing

software

The
evidence
suggests that
publicly.
crackers believe people should pay for software they
use (Mean = 5.67, Sig. = .000) and that crackers do
not limit themselves
to cracking software that they
=
=
need
2.21,
(Mean
.001). The
personally
Sig.
Desire for Social Status did not appear to be a moti
vating factor in this analysis,
crackers would
unclear:

appeared to be
crack software

individual

sented,

For

protection

3.17,

(Mean

ambiguous

.075). Finally, Tangible Reward


as amotivating
factor to
insignificant
=
=
1.67, Sig.
(Mean
.000).
Quantitative
analysis of the factors
shown in Table III was less clear than

Sig.

the

1970).
The

are

was

software

cracking

Phase

1987). The sign test was used to test that the median
different
from the ex
response was
significantly
mean,

for

observations,

(Anderson

appropriate

the

=
6.63,
necessary
(Mean
the value of being recognised

if
anonymously
=
.000), however,
Sig.

where

cannot

the population
the number
are

topics,
that

means

181

Software Crackers?

though the results were


continue
their work

Desire for social participation


Table IV contains the open-ended
questions and co
on
ded responses for the discussion
the desire for social
the context of software cracking.
participation within
Most
crackers' relationships with
other crackers
extended beyond
software piracy. Only a quarter of
all survey respondents
in real
their group

had

even met

life. Only

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five

members

of

respondents

.263

.000*

.000*

.000*.000*

.000*
.000*
.075

.000*.001*
1.000

1.840

Even
if
I would

1.736

1.239

6.46

4.58 6.33 6.17

Factors
motivation
II
TABLE
I of
would
pay
for

1.523

1.414

1.404
Std.Dev
Mean
Median
Sig.
Exact

0.924

1.5602.289

2.17

5.67 2.21 3.75

1.404

2.239

6.63 3.17 1.67

1.5
7

4.00

2.5 1

software

when
Ia
fully
functional,
cracked
download
I
would
still
crack
software
could copy in protection
software
is a group
factor
to behindmy
if
the
is force
Tangible
reward
(monetary my
isor decision
the driving
done
ifnot software is
in important
environment.
enjoyable
the
otherwise)
more
was
an
I
it
The
social
highly
the
of
cracking
rewarding.
aspects
are
scene
I would
crack
software
had
do it
anonymously.
ifto

I was not
able
to
release
The
forQuestion
free
Cracking
a demand
piece even
of
software
crack
software
Indicator

Getting

recognition

for
software
even

People
should
for
that
they
software
pay
use.
I onlycracksoftware
Ithat
need

just for

itthe
involves.
challenge to

particularly

difficult

Public
for
participation
Desire
challenge
social for
personal

personally.cracking

remove.

decision
to
software.
crack

continue
cracking.
version

Desire

is

software
free
for

free.
for

Personal
for
free
need
software

level.

demand
Desire
for
status
social
Significant
reward

Factor

Tangible

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the
.05
at

important.

Software Crackers? 183

What Motivates
with

that their communication

reported
members

was

to software

limited

is strong support for the proposition


status (in
indeed
enjoy higher
in
Internet
the
piracy environment,
differing degrees)
seven out of nine of the respondents who
stated they
While

other group

that

piracy.

Demand for free Software


Table V contains the coded
ended

questions

context

the

This
not

responses to the open


on the demand for free software in

of

software

anecdotal
a problem

mercial

ware,

in which

of

software

Factor

Indicator

of

to crack

decision

the

disapproval
or no
influence
actions

of

me

the

of

the

Condemners

I hope

appeal to
higher loyalties

The

'who

deserve

People

that

to

The

at the

.05

the

benefits
the

software

public

pro

Exact Sie
.003*

6.5

5.46

2.146

.004*

1
3
5

2.46

.041*

4.33

2.146
1.789
1.810

to

4.79

1.841

.064

complain

3.25

1.894

.052

is not

4.92

2.020

.031*

of hypocrites

3.29

1.756

.210

of

2.5

2.92

1.863

.078

3.54

2.226

1.000

4.54

1.817

.238

cracker,

4.00

1.865

.815

to

is a bunch

justify

piracy.

at

3.38

.035*

.503

large.

for

costs

software

constitute

cracker

actions,
the

software.

cracking

software

actions.

community
to pay
have
of my

has
agencies
to crack
software.

crackers.

industry

by my

industry

should

People

software

as a software

actions

service

of

everything
they get.
a
cannot
afford
piece
access
to it.
have

not

should

to

the

software

My

Significant

actions

affected

adversely
The

does

industry

that

copy

1.837

industry.
not deserve

its product
illegally
copied.
software
has no right
industry

Condemnation

the

5.62

significant,

software

software

the

remove

to

6.5

into

have

about

this

Std.Dev

of

The

The

for

in the responses

Mean

decision

as a result

has

on

effect

crackers

Median
software

of

victim

continue

on my

The denial
the

to

them

suggests that higher status is a


factor.
and not amotivational

III

enforcement

forced

hurt

software

Cracking

law

on my

others

is really

adverse

for

software.
of

No-one

for

Question

of the commercial
disapproval
or no
has
little
influence
industry

The

needed

justification

The

The denial
of injury

to state

to the
responses
the
for
desire
questions
personal
open-ended
in the context of software cracking.
challenge
The challenge of cracking is clearly a significant

motivation

Factors

little

not

software. This

con

crackers

about

TABLE

The

were

Desire for personal challenge


contains
the coded
Table VII

cracking.

The denial
of responsibility

was

they

question.

responses to the open


on the desire for social status in the

questions

context

because

the scope of the question

soft

Desire for social status


Table VI contains the coded
ended

status

cracking

the

the

of

better

of cracking
by-product
there is a polarity
Again

the cost of the software.

should determine

treated

that

software. However,
for
the argument that the situation
port
and the quality
software is purchased,

do

tinued on beyond

suggests that crackers do


to pay for com
having
there is significant sup

with

have

were

cracking.

evidence

there

crackers

software.

as a software
to

the

software

developers.

level.

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184 Sigi Goode


tection

from

commercial

that may

sponses
sonal challenge

software.

undermine

The

motivating

as a motivational

in

experience

of per
stated that,

factor

initially a
as
diminished

Tangible benefits
Table IX contains

However,

ended

in the minority.

questions

context

the

of

There
Personal

need for free software


contains
the coded

VIII

Table

to

responses
the personal need

questions on
open-ended
software in the context of software

for free

by which

Stimulus:Do

the existence

you find

Competitive

Not

part

challenge
a group

incompetence

of

groups

social

always

makes

"Competition
care
"I don't
to

try

crackers

"When

from

less

experienced

hard,
or

not

"The

develop
restrict

they

always

fun

outside

people
over
the

"Sure,
interaction

to

limited

to

piracy

"No,

Interaction
internet

communication
limited
communication

to

I met

more

fast

not

and

the

check

software
to

able

being
then

the

other

become

groups
reversing,
information"
share

more

to make

members,

speak

"I

actually

cracking

software"

cracking

have

become

capacity?

close

extremely

scene

that

friends

to

years"

name]

"I

of

through

you

"Only

realm

had

for

things"

astonishing

team

have

"I don't

best'"

nature"

ofthat

things

release

in

interest
from

you

'scene'

drinking

the

cracks"

group

a serious

to release

the

3 days
together"
"I know
many

Constant

and

of nonworking

in the

"[group

are

of'we

feeling
more

stats"
and be
the top of all the
key gens
exist outside
other members
with
If so, in what
of software piracy?
relationship
of the group
to
to
about
talk
software
13
"It's
with
limited
protections."
only
people
impossible
in the cracking
I've met
"I have
with
friendships
people
developed
piracy

me

Discussion

code

individuals"

their

groups

you
and

your

Close-friendship

social

for me"

their work"

you

extend

Real-life

fun
Gives

faster

get

on

Discussion

the

away
and win.

title

release

release

to crack software?

together"

groups

the

and

drag

"It's

Does

operate.

reason

compelling

takes

push

other

away

stay

of

you

about

"...promotes
make
"...can

work

to get releases
fun to race a big

cracking

"It's

Stimulus:

Indeed,

participation

release groups
should

groups

"Cracking

quality
Outgrow

between

of competition

"I
Promotes

cracking.

Example

"Just
6

for

software

IV

TABLE
Desire

the coded responses to the open


on the effect of tangible benefits
in

a significant proportion
of
to the concept of
respondents were
openly hostile
from
people making money
cracking, perhaps pro
viding evidence for the existence of a personal credo

cracking.
responses to this question contain a great deal
of variation
that cannot be explained
by demo

Counter-Productive

are dis

They

is strong support for the conclusion


that
to
do not influence
the decision
benefits

tangible
crack software.

the

The

Code Freq

affiliation.
section.

was

increased.

programming

of this type were

responses

graphies or group/scene
cussed in the following

re

only

the inclusion

the difficulty
of cracking
its effects were
factor,

although

and Sam Cruise

beer,
even

know

security
to [them]

etc"

some

of

on

have
only
in rare cases do

own

my

and

reasons

some

their
have

you
ire or phone
contact
with
real world

really

LAN's

cracking

from

people
vodka

can meet

we

group,

real

met

and we

names,

to be
every
other

amazing
we met

where

people
each

a few

with
other

times

interests"

equal
and

spent

together...

it that way"

keep

discrete"

very
day"
crackers

relationships

and

mean

reversers
face

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the
though
to face meetings"

internet"

What Motivates

Software Crackers? 185

responses to the open


of the denial of
discussion

ended

for
questions
in the context
responsibility
These

into

tered

that

to pirate
actions. Only

their

this

en

have

members

Internet

the

of

ticularly

on the denial

questions

of

software

software

cracking.

par

sons for considering


the size of a software company.
While
eight responses indicate awish to avoid harm to

The denial of injury


contains the coded
text

of

indicate a lack of concern


of the responses
it comes to
about the size of a software company when
rea
use
half
its
different
software.
The
other
pirating
Half

group.

Table XI
ended

environment,

piracy

some other technique of neutralisation


is likely
there are clearly respondents

context

concerned

the DrinkOrDie

recognise

Table XII

was
threat of punishment
the recent arrests of

the

respondents

to

able

The denial of the victim


contains the coded responses to the open
on the denial of the victim
in the
ended questions

half of the respondents


stating the threat of
was
the
ineffectual
and
other half stating
punishment
a
it had
significant effect. It isworth noting that most
the reasons why
effective

are

being
who
their actions have some negative
acknowledge
on
the software industry, while there are others
effects
who even believe their actions are beneficial.

two

almost

considered

to

of results in the responses

used. However,

respondents
that could
indicated
there was a group of people
in software cracking.
influence
their participation
A polarity in the responses is evident here, with

of

question.

victims,

full

software with

Most

the damage caused to the software companies by their


actions. Since they are not denying
injury to their

cracking.

crackers

the decision

over

control

of software

indicate

responses

is a polarisation

There

The denial of responsibility


contains the coded

Table X

responses to the open


of injury in the con

smaller

software

the

companies,

re

four

remaining

that the respondents


did not crack
sponses
software from larger companies for fear of retribution.
indicate

cracking.

TABLE V
Demand

Code Freq
Stimulus:
Software

Should

all software

not

be

Please

"No.

free

"No.
"Of

Software

10

companies

over-charge

"The

professional
course
not,

"Some

Only

be

should
denied

not

access

software

we
below

mean

the

software,
be

free

at

the
person
should

software

"I believe

"I often

should

too much

year"
commercial

software

that

age

ever

has

to wait

10 years

be

available

support

I will

like

$5000,

have

an

with

especially

overpriced"
of dollars

100's

expect

them

buy

for

it"

I use

all because

before

a year

of

source

open

he
so

say 3D

lets

to pay

the money

to all, more

equivalent

books,

and

a lot,

software,

25 will

on

them

can

start

for

practise

in developing

or more's
is the

wages"
answer

Studio

Max...NO

a license,

such
on

where

countries

to

this

should

that

3D modelling?"

issue,

for

the

cost

of

all digital

software)"
who
the

use

a donation-based

approach

even

if I don't

use

their

effort"

share
often
not...very
why
use and
it"
appraise
properly
"Sure,

products,

is acceptable"

price

to authors
to

their

is ridiculously

crap

FlashFXP

donation-based

(music,

for

like to use and think is reasonably price"

Iwould

expensive

is the

donate
just

absolute

and

the

and

look

ONE

medium

software

way
or

produce

mIRC

basis

regular

"When

some

All

that much

the purchase
of software"
supported
through
to ask for money
in exchange
of his job"
wouldn't
be able to support
themselves"
companies
be

right

development

programmers

"Software

Donation-based

the

"I support software which


a

Poor

has

companies...charge
6 months
every

"I use WinRar,

software

worthy

must

developers

big

answer.

your

explain

Software

upgrade
"I do think

pay for

software

free

Example

be free?
20

need

for

or

trial versions

are

so restricted

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it's

impossible

to

186 Sigi Goode


A

believe
that their ac
respondents
bad corporate practices in software
same number
that the
believe

total of five

tions can remedy


The
companies.
of

pricing

has

software

led to the proliferation


Six respondents
believe

pirated software today.


the actions of the software
and the popularity
other

and Sam Cruise

industry
software

of pirated

no

have

There

by

condemnation

of the condemners
to
the coded
contains
responses
about
the
condemnation
questions

open-ended
the condemners

in the context

of software

an

in

sponse

The

of

the

is incorrect while

another

6 believe

the industry reaction is futile and will have no effect


on piracy. While
there are responses supporting
the
actions of the industry, the examples quoted by the
indicate a support of the industry re
respondents

that
effect

factors.

Table XIII

the condemnation

of

in the responses to this question.


Seven
that the commercial
believe
software

respondents
industry reaction

of

is explained

is evidence

condemners

area

removed

Internet

from

software

piracy.

the

Six

of

enforcement

cracking.

accept

the

agency

efforts

to

these

responses

respondents
Further,

racy.

of

inevitability
address

law

software

indicate

an

popular

amongst

pi

acceptance

TABLE VI
Desire

Code

for

status

social

Freq
Do

Stimulus:

your

more

Afforded

actions

Example

as a cracker
afford

"I have

respect

fellow

my
are

Crackers

on the Internet?
so in what
higher status
If
capacity?
a somewhat
a
as I am real
status
in
sense,
"high"

you

elite

"The

crackers"

you

"Sometimes

when

in and

kicks

mentality
groupie
as a
demi-god"

come

ppl

the

in to my

that DON'T

people

on

channels

IRC,

know

you

talk

to me

they

treat

like

I am 'god all mighty'"


a
status on the net,
know
you have
you.
high
people
some
a
a motivator"
is
for
it's not
"There
crack but
respect
"It's
rather
fun to go onto
IRC
and have
you with
message
people
use
as a motivation"
I don't
it
BIGGEST
FAN!'
but
really
a motivator"
it's not
is some
for a crack but
"There
respect
"Yes.

Status

Name

Access

is unnecessary

is recognised

to restricted goods

Educator

status

experience

"My
name

Admire

When

"People
"I can

in

reverse

the

recognition"
in the scene

recognize

some

which

get

scene

engineering
me

but
for

are,

not

me

give
come

don't

people
others,

does

you."

'I'M YOUR

the

at my

falling

of

power

feet"

accessible"

things
to
and so on"
tutorials,
tools, warez
non-public
someone
status
I
I
is
who
has less knowledge
"The
when
get
only
'higher'
help
or reverse
about
cracking
engineering"
a lot
to learn more
"If you
have
then people
look up to you
knowledge

"You

get

access

things

for

themselves"

Stimulus: Should otherpeople be grateful to you for providing cracked software?Why / why not?
to make
11
"I don't
other
crack
Gratitude does not matter
people
happy"
"The

last

thing
it for fun

"I do
"I

Gratitude

is desired

crack

software

"Yes

they

them

these
course

"Of
on

I care
and
for

about

fun mostly,

should...One
great
they

while
own

for my

services?
should,

minute
The
many

I'm

cracking

pleasure"
not for
and

they

is the

general

public"

people"
have

what

they wanted.

And

who

crackers"
'leechers'

don't

care

about

the

time we

protection"

"I guess they should be grateful if I crack something

they request"

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spend

gave

Software Crackers? 187

What Motivates
as crackers,
the law. Five
they are breaking
with
have
taken
issue
the recent
respondents

With

that,

crackdown

on

release

most

example

groups

often

across
was

quoted

the world.
the

the

and

of software

that most

suggest

attitudes

com

of

the morality

regarding

the
their

appropriate.

Phase 2: Cognitive
The appeal to higher loyalties
contains
the coded
Table XIV
questions
open-ended
context
in
the
loyalties

interviews

In the interests of confirming


the findings from the
first phase of the study, the researchers conducted

to

the
responses
the appeal to higher
of software cracking.

additional

about

pants

interviews.

cognitive

for

these

Gathering

cognitive

Just as the original participants were


in the survey, so too were
ticipating

that cracking software is justified


spond,
if the software product
is too expensive.
Three
a
smaller
believed
that cracking
software
from

careful

even

pants
interview

six indicated

more

some

In

exercise.

of

wary

partici

was

interviews

to this question
indicated
that
Non-respondents
was
not
their
and
first
consequently
English
language
the verbose wording
of
they could not understand
did re
the question.
From the participants who

not

wary
these partici
real-time

longer

cases

it

easy.

of par

took

of

weeks

assurance

and

using private
trust-building
to agree to
in order for the participant
messaging
even a brief interview. As one participant
reasoned,
"if I was you and I wanted me to be comfortable

is not justifiable
three
and, surprisingly,
are not jus
to end-users
that the benefits
in any way.

company
believed
tified

piracy,

have

crackers

Eight
respondents
challenged
terms of
in
of
software
companies
morality
and
business
strategies.
pricing

members.
of the DrinkOrDie
Tellingly,
prosecution
some respondents
indicated that the actions of
while
were justified, none deemed
law enforcement
their
actions

responses

plex or confused
software piracy.

The

arrest

to the morality

respect

to admit to something
and then stay put
enough
I did it, I'd use IRC". However,
while
interview

TABLE VII
Desire

Code

for

challenge

personal

Freq

Example

Stimulus: Do youfind the difficulty of cracking software a compelling reason to continue the activity due to the challenge involved?
not
"I know
who
of no cracker
does
the challenge"
Challenge is critical 19
enjoy
"If

there

was

as

Experience
to
desiring

challenge

"However,
I became
"I don't

The harder the challenge

New

protections

are

the better

the most

fun

protections

are futile

I began
a more
like

"When
"The

harder

and

the more

to

the

simple

"Cracking

difficult

'look,

then

it would

spend

several

become

as

just

not

hard

really

software

the more

challenge

boring

[from

you

a super

less

cracking]

that
feel

patient
like

and

crack.

less

as

anymore"
are in heaven"

you

one

gratification

hard

gets when

finished

it becomes"
is no

software

difficulty

it's pointless

'rush'

experienced
programmer"
too much...I'm
not

fun"

is the

ultimate

and

protections

elegant"
it would

that

us

software

is something
were
no new
the

the

on

weeks

struggle

addictive

"Cracking

"It's

to get

crack

you

protection
"If there
Copy

challenge

playing
"In the early days
I could
Now
I try to avoid
those"

Leads
less

no

tic-tac-toe"

new

trying

keeps
to protect

going,
[your

fun

get
it's

especially

rather
the

software]'"

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

fact

when

boring"
that we

the

can

say,

and Sam Cruise

Sigi Goode

TABLE VIII
Personal

Code Freq
How

Stimulus:

do you pay for

often

if software isworthy

Buy

pay

Rarely

software

own

your

software?

isn't much
ever.

"Hardly

never

"Never,

"Not
Buy

"[I

all

I'm

software

"I buy

free

when

software

"I do

can

crack

for"
paying
it then good

for me"

and

so,

as I am

a student,

conscience"

a poor

from

software"
I have

whenever

to do

the money

pay forWindows

so"

and Visual Studio"

software"

"If I use something


Use

it and

to do

reason

professional
to ease my

software]

all

is worth

that

frequently
I. If I need

it"

"If I could afford it, Iwould

financially viable
Buy

paid
no
I have

for

should

why
for

often.
pay

I use

software

And

little money

very

when

software

"If there's something I truly think is great then I buy it"


"I pay only for software I find worthy"

"I've

software

free

Example

"There
for

for

need

to

tend

I buy it"

look

for

free

a lot"

software

possible

participants appeared to be interested in the research:


"This is by far one of the most exciting emails I've
as a cracker,

got

what

someone

that

participants were
as
information

demographic
participants.
information,

asked

for

same

the

the

where

Have

you

ever received

any kind

software? If so, what?


No tangible benefits
to those who
tangible

of tangible

19
7

rewards

Access

tangible

"No,

and if offered,

"No.

I've

rewards

tangible
to other
pirated

never

in my

to crack

material

been

for

example"

one.

of

this

offered

been

"[I

circle
-

off warez

have

Iwouldn't

received

etc)

as a result
of removing

I don't

offered]

gifts

friends

is an

think

a real

money,

[person] even offered me

"Yes,

I have

"Warez

someone

from

thing
as money

and

accounts,

the
and

view,
free

for my

would

idea

of people

is not

do

so"

services"

access"

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and

making

permitted"

equipment"

free mail

$1500 for a patch"

pay me

cracker

they should be jailed"

rejects

in our

shell

"One

had

absolutely

evil

such

copy protection

accept it"
And

are lamers and parasites. Furthermore

"Such people

"I have

access

internet

(money, free

benefit

"Everyone

rewards

IX
benefit

Example

money

Received

these

support for the proposi


tion that the social aspects of the cracking scene are
there was very strong support for
highly rewarding,

original
shows
this demographics
they were provided.

Table XV

Code Freq

Offered

of each aspect
are pre

and

Desire for social participation


there was moderate

Tangible

receive

discussion

While

survey

TABLE

Hostile

involved

and justification,

I think and mean".

Interview

Stimulus:

interview

sented below.

care

to

bothers

really

Each

of motivation

free webspace

What Motivates

in software

ipate

in

that,

the

absence

of

all

The

cracking.

responses

generally
than 10 people
the effect of the cracking group
group". However,
to be quite significant:
one interviewee
appeared

suggest
almost

2 added

Interviewee

noted,

wife

"my

wouldn't

just
are

there

Clearly

tional

to this,

confirmation

in real life, and I don't


outside my group. In fact, less
I do for the
probably know what
tell others

tell people

6.33, Sig.
.000) respondents would
(Mean
continue
this survey finding,
cracking. Supporting
Interviewee
3 noted,
"We don't brag or make
ourselves known as crackers to people outside of the
groups."

189

"I don't

arguing,

to partic

environment,

group

is not

the proposition
that social participation
motivation
factor for individuals
defining

Software Crackers?

understand".
more

other,

motiva

powerful,

so willing
to
respondents
without
the
rewards
offered
cracking
by a

continue

are

if the

factors

TABLE X
Denial
Code

Freq

Stimulus:

Does

in what

the disapproval

capacity?

of others

influence

Example
to which

the degree

at all 18

Not

of responsibility

I participate

"No.

care what
received

Never

others

think

disapproval

of

software

matter

authors

of other group

Opinions

Does

Stimulus:

the threat

has

no

of punishment

effect

from

anyone"
one
disapproves

affect your

some

the

"I'm

but

does

not

concerns

has

reverse

effect

if the

to be

busted

I was

and

lose

DoD
for

in

a lot of

thinking

when

"Maybe

at all. And

should

why

it?"

responsibilities.

got

5 minutes

tried
will

are hard

to quit

"If

threat

bother

cracking.
tell him not
to,
me

stimulates

dangerous
"Forbidden

or

times

It's

all other
of

the

the more
very

but

the

it's just
when

feeling
benefits

being
little

kid

he

does

much...I

the

caught,

is the

not
you
scene

not many

syndrome,

some

people
of mine,

hobby

possible.
break
has

to offer"

would

the more

you

it."
love

doing

forbidden."
apple

and

free time I have"

friends,
and

protection
no
there was

scared

it's a true

but

to break"

numerous

lose many

all got

sometimes,

life, I do it in ANY
habits

cannot
I really
college,
anymore"
retirement.
I guess
it's not worth

everything"
we
busted

a new

"It

of,
is careful."

involved
me

affect

leader

If so, how?
an
example

software?

more

with

cash"

effort."

it to be"

everybody

doesn't

ago wen

"Yes,

"I

and

with

supported
it's their

and made

caught

older

been

You

threat

be
-

think

I could have afforded to have been busted a

t'smy

influence

threat

years

"Old

Punishment

it"

they

often

getting

"Yes
threat

other"

should

cracking

get

it's not

While

cracking

yourself

disapproval

of

what

to continue

decision

few

Punishment

about

the

any

developers

care

"No,

10

influences

significantly

received

"Software

"No
of punishment

or

way

"I've

but

Threat

change
done
for

not get released


crack] may
in the group
want
I'm in doesn't

11

and

disapproval

for

"[A

matter

Punishment

one

never

"I

members

care

"I don't

"No
Opinions

If so, whose

cracking?

Whatsoever"

"None,
not

in cracking

will
disapproval
should
be
things

myself...No
that. Some

Do

in software

you participate

sweetest."

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

things

considered

it,

quit':

and Sam Cruise

Sigi Goode

TABLE XI
The denial of injury
Code Freq
Do

Stimulus:

think

you

Example

that software

companies

11

Piracy hurts companies


not

does

software

harm

about

effect

course

"No.

People

"No.

Those

"Software

benefits

companies

interviewee

One

cannot

who
who

crack

benefit

piece

of

from

software

on

reflected

role that inter-group


competition
plays in
to
the motivation
crack software may also be limited
to those who value being the first to release a piece
to". The

pirated

One

interviewee

gave

context

to

is one
this, arguing that, "there is somebody who
if
behind
and
whole
you
you stop, your
step
night's
is pointless because second place doesn't exist
work
in

the

scene".

but maybe

single

say

suggests

anonymously
minor

role

in

the motivation

to

crack

their actions
plays only
software.

recognition

unnecessary,

there

was

believed
that receiving
of respondents who
was
important. On reviewing
recognition
extremely
"I can
the results, one interviewee
candidly wrote,
see why you found this. Very few want to be known
a
personally,
they don't mind being known by
can
are
also useful [because] you
[nickname]. Nicks
walk away from them, and set up alibis if the heat is
but

of pseudonymous
importance
in
2's comment,
Interviewee
apparent

anyway"
release

huge
is widely
pirated"

faster

are

you

after

up

their

their

at

prestige was
"The better/

software

base

the

cracking,

that

better

can

got cracked"
occur

The

can

you

groups

access

to sites on

very best groups get


tens of terabytes of information
links
with
[gigabit]
in a respected group in
back
years. Being
dating
a
lot
of
respect amongst others in
stantly gets you
join.

in the scene". Discussing

volved
this

group

one

hierarchy,

training

for

ground

the

of

piece

software

"it's

noted,

generation".

Desire for personal challenge


Almost
all survey respondents
a

of

the importance

interviewee
next

is

that

signalled
to

the

crack,

the

more

the

Almost
all respondents
experience.
=
the
.000) stated that releasing
(Mean 6.17, Sig.
software was secondary to the challenge of cracking
in the cognitive
itself. This finding was supported
For

Interviewee

instance,

noted,

is
step ahead of the [software] developers
"being
I'm
than
them!".
better
good for my ego. Basically,
6 argued that, "We are just like you.
Interviewee
You say you're doing this research just to find things
out

about

motivates
results,

us, look
an

to know what
If you want
in the mirror". On reviewing
the

the world.

interviewee

"there

wrote,

is

never

to spend early in the


of people willing
their
time
of
hours
proving a point".
morning
some
For
this desire had persisted
interviewees,
shortage

for

some

time.

For

instance,

one

respondent

noted

rush I got
the huge mental
and that "my
from cracking my first program"
parents actually supported me from the beginning
that "I still remember

The

who

one

cluster

on

authors

in customer

increase

interviews.

The

for cracking software


issue of receiving
recognition
to
the respondents
(Standard
appeared
polarise
the majority
While
Deviation=2.239,
Mean=3.17).
considered

software

case."

it at all"

buy

the

sales went

their

the

enjoyable
to perform
that recognition

not

will
for

paid

of payment"

[software
piracy]"
not
in their
exist

does

software

have

harder

Desire for social status


The willingness
of crackers

capacity?

of

problem

their

wouldn't

firms

surely

to support this, arguing, "I could


experience
meet
but I
the ones that live near me,
up with
choose not to meet
them as I have no real interest

software.

because

piracy

afford

never,

his own

of

lose millions
the

in what

If so,

is good and worthy

independently..."

when

environment.

They
so rich
that

medium-sized

"Some
"Some

social

do.

companies

software
Piracy

they
are

"Companies

companies

Conflicted

actions?

of your

"They only suffer if their product


"Of

Piracy

as a result

suffer

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What Motivates

Software Crackers?

TABLE XII
The denial of the victim
Code

Freq
Does

Stimulus:
of

Size

of

affect

of

affects

to pirate

software

decision
Size

the size

a company

a company

does

to pirate

decision

software

company
12

not

12

software

Example
decision

to crack

"Yes.

We

all

to release

good

well

known

"No,

not

at all,

affect your

the

"Never,
with

size

"The

not

crack

'small'

software

"It

from

company

not

Will
a

'big'

crack

software

from

has

company

absolutely

a factor,

is not

company

me

trouble

when

release

you

on"
to do

nothing

their

product

expensive

apps

solely

small

software

we

made

companies

don't

touch

them

usually
working
a different
kettle

they're

Microsoft,

big

etc"

on

shoestring

budget.

offish..."

MYOB...We

Adobe,

from

any money"

students

poor

by

are

well,

very

cracking
I am costing

think

to crack

multinationals,

leave

the

big fish to the big fish"


and

What

you

answer.

your

explain

titles. When

status!"
get more
I can get my
hands

whatever

as I don't

The

"Yes,

company

Stimulus:

the

not

not

"I would

No

I crack

Please

known

I crack"

of

companies,
"I try not

The

well

morals"

does

"Yes.

their software?

software

software

whatever

or business
Will

like

role do

the actions

role

god

crack

go

knows

from

something

what

they would

Adobe,

in the popularity
of the software
industry play
of pirated
"I don't
think
the actions
of the software
of pirated

popularity
at a certain

see

"I don't
of

course

the

software"

pirated

do

the

[in

nowadays?
in the
any role
industry
play
free
stuff, and if their morals

Internet

except

environment]

piracy

software"

a role.

got

If someone

it will

unreleased

something

power,

software

like

People

use

they

anything

developing
haven't

"They

software.

they will

level,

and

got money

they

do"

get

their

gets

released.

on

hands

a matter

It's just

time

of

and motivation"
Remedy

bad

company

a company
not
to offer
decides
free
to crack
their application"
if they protected
their
software
"Maybe
"If

practices

that

updates

a strong

provides

incentive

have

Windows

cheaper"
"How
they

corrupt

they wouldn't

been

for

their

is ridiculous"

that's why

products,

if it was

scale

large

a CD

for

$1500

paying

too much

in this

pirated

people

stuff"
of

reason

is the main

software

so many

why

use

people

software"

pirated
"Should

industry

have

someone

justify

demand

prices

"High

would

can

"Companies
use cracked

Morally

then

problem"

"I doubt

effects

Over-pricing

a bit more

corrupt

morally

it then

industry

a game

becomes

and

should

they

to crush

attempt

players

expect

fight.

the

The

scene,

more

fight
the more

Self-destructed

by advertising piracy

"The
such

I will

crack

software
a

you

out

issue

public
Prior
and Kazza.
that

could

those

and music

to
obtain

industry
of file

have

sharing

the Napster
music

software"

players'

hurt
clients

controversy,
and

software

for

themselves

by making

like

the

few

people

free

using

programs"

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former

Napster

realized
these

they

are

192 Sigi Goode


and I would

to have

like to consider myself


cracker".

and Sam Cruise

devel

week.

into an ethical

oped

Personal need for free software


was
in
the
survey
strong
support
=
=
for
the
2.21,
(Mean
.001)
Sig.
proposition
to software
that crackers do not limit themselves
need.

An

wrote,
they personally
of the targets I examine
aren't pieces of
that I even have any practical use for".
software
comments
from
other
Echoing
participants,
interviewee

wrote,

I release

"Nope,

that some

costing

apply a different
software to crack and to

crackers

to purchase
in its purchase,
if they have the money
the software, or if they are one of the three who
this conten
purchase all their software. Supporting

interviewee

"Most

another

three programs

to choosing
may
personally using cracked software. Respondents
be reluctant to use cracked software if they see merit

There

that

I bought

Last week

each".
$40-80
It is possible
set of reasoning

tion, one interviewee


noted,
to
their
just
study
protections

[I have] stacks of games on my


a different
before but all with

point.

any

also noted
thing I can get". The same interviewee
that he paid for software frequently:
"Every single

"I actually buy games


to an almost obsessive

played

shelf never
protection

version".

TABLE XIII
The

Code

condemnation

Stimulus:

wrong

is your

What

opinion

of the reaction
1
"Their
want

priorities

and

to

The CSI reaction

is pointless

is wrong.

by

don't
is never

are

"They
Commercial

software

"Big

issue

"Do
is appropriate

"I

support

What
of

Actions

law

is your

opinion

enforcement

of the reaction
6
"They

(LEA) are justified

agencies

and

overreacted

are

of the LEA

think

"Their
"I

Actions

their

P2P-users

won't

lead

issue

the

ignore

seen

of

penalties

think

"Banning

would

law enforcement
are
doing

"If

as

Alliance]

is insignificant
signalled

that

on

down

crack

they mainly

towards

agencies
illegal

software

piracy?

actions"

completely

got

they

the
to

disproportionate

law
the

will

cause

only

enforcement

going

a decline
into

4
they

did

on

their

side"

crimes"

in computer

other

areas,

should

They
child

but

security"
I guess

actually

spend

there

[sic]

resources

on

"I'm

always

not

understand

serious

crimes

they'd

employ

like

rape,

us

instead

abuse."
understood

why

we

crack

then

perhaps

of putting us in jail"

people

as

that."

and

they

wrong,

anything

reverse-engineering
to see law

say

murder

they do
are

like

"Ridiculous.

Two

almost

it's overkill"

"I would

misguided

LEA response

anywhere"
cracking,

anything."

Software

crackers

job,

better"

"They have a job to do"


"Don't

have

fight
willing

software

issue of the file-sharing


clients
public
into
will
it,
it, the more
get
people
to
in the morning
hours
early
spend

software"

pirated
of the

response

do

people

it hurts profits"
[Business

use

that

software piracy?
so that more

point"

rarely

the BSA

companies
Stimulus:

I've

react?

they

you

Targetting
stupid.
seem
to completely

if they do not believe

industry (CSI) ignore


reaction

proving

companies

lower

prices

their
a

by making

of people

shortage

plain

towards

industry

make

to protect

how

more

it. The

get
a

time

their

learn
a mistake

made

there

software
should

They

copy"

legal
should

have

"They

of

of the commercial

response

reaction

"They

LEA

condemners

Example

"Developers

the

the

Freq

CSI have the

CSI

of

surprised

there

this

question.

isn't more

of

response"

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What Motivates

Software Crackers? 193


of cases. They should be more grateful to the person
that puts the release into the public domain
(news
2 noted,
"I don't par
Interviewee
groups, p2p)".

Public demand for free software


was little evidence
in the survey of altruistic

There

concerns

in

the

is evidence

there

individuals

of

should

(Mean=5.67,

of

motivation

pay

Further,

among crackers that


software that they use,

for

Interviewee

Sig.=.000).

on the curious

mented

crackers.

a belief

between

crackers

concerned

with

That

crackers

what

users

end

I'm more

want,

the competition
side".
believe
that others should

software

relationship
public: "I don't care
software-consuming
an
user
I
is grateful to me, because
whether
end
don't mean for them to be using the software in 99%
and

about

pay for
while
the
crackers
themselves
use,
they
is
facilitate
the use of pirated
software by others,
a
of
attitude of crackers
paradox. The
something
towards paying for software is clearly more complex

com

also

care

ticularly

the

TABLE XIV
The
Code

appeal to higher

loyalties

Freq

Example

Stimulus: Do the benefits to end-usersjustify the costs to software developers? If so, in what way?
some
it costs,
"Some
software
deserves
the amount
Justified if software is too
expensive

over

plain

priced"

"Software
leave

Not

justified with

small
Benefits

companies
are not

justified

Is software

piracy

morally

attitude

Ambivalent

should

software

un-cracked"

themselves

"The

smaller

13

of

because

all

software

to get

employment"

it becomes"

less justifiable

"It

depends

companies

"The

wrong

wrong,
for

issues

morally

a reason

and

big companies
and piracy

only

of piracy

for

how

I have

set of

justifiable

sided
story"
on
it depends
really,
on how
define
you

not

"Well

morally

to

cracked

the

costing

it

price

Please
"I

successfully,
"I think
it's a two

are

the

a chance

has

so that we

prices,

it has"

features

your answer.
explain
with
the moral
struggle

have

at east

Photoshop

the

to find

Software

countries

the

company,

in their

reasonable

them

giving

as Adobe

such

"Software

wrong?

with,
the

be

third world

from

people

train

does,
Stimulus:

developers

their

"Some

is just

software

rules

think

you

software

tried,

not

entirely

to follow"

about

it"

piracy"

the existing
laws
flourishes
because

against
of the

[piracy]

are

unnecessary

morally
high

prices

software"
a

use
is morally
for which
you
wrong,
product
continually
a
is
is
which
full
of
and poor
however,
product
providing
bugs
to the
a money
without
back
yet provided
programming
guarantee"
public
a lot of afford
to create
I think yes, ppl make
and then
"Well,
software,
smart arses like us crack
it ;D"
"To

keep

so

Piracy

is morally

wrong

"Its

Piracy is not morally wrong

Only

if it harms small firms

basically
think

copyright
"No. What

when

"I
and

can

we

understand

if for profit

it is seen
we

who

people
as

copy

do with

his months

seeing
I'd never
release

Only

from

stealing

"I don't

morally
a cassette

the

budding
of work

work

hard"
no more

wrong,
tape

or

be

software

should

developer,

working
on
away

given

than breaching
a program
off

record
up

for
the

the TV"

to us"
a

long

net...in

time

on

a program

circumstances

these

the

program."
"If you're
of monetary
any kind
making
are a company
"If you
and use a software

or

tangible

product

profit
to make

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off

it,

money,

then

yes"
then

yes"

Sigi Goode

and Sam Cruise

TABLE XV
Cognitive

Interview

Case

Gender

interview

31
18
34
30

Level of Education

(no details)
Self-employed
23
Medical Doctor
Retail/Student
36 Software Architect
Not given

B(Law), B(Comp. Sei.)


Graduate Bachelor of Medicine

Not
Not

the end of the interview,


thought. At
2 noted,
"I would
Interviewee
like to see 99% of
If I had my way,
software.
end users without
pirated
than first

scene

releases would

the

be for those contributing

only

scene".

Tangible
was
There
Sig.=.000)
to crack
comment

regarding

"cracking

programs

morally

the
for

right. Selling
passes pirate CDROMs
criminal offence".

tangible
fun and

benefit

finding:

the

is
challenge
in a organised group that
is not only immoral but a

them

PhD

all hate

the idea of them making money


in this way".
Another
"Our group takes pride in per
explained,
fect releases ... this is a big thing in the scene ... but
by the time [the software] get to these pirate stores
and full of trojans. Why would
they are incomplete

2 noted,
similar lines, Interviewee
cracking". Along
in an ISP, he
"I had a friend in a group working
I
could get me free small Cisco
routers, although
never took him up on the offer. Other
than that, and
the

occasional

expensive
than site

bit

for
[via Paypal.com]
other
afford, nothing
access. That's
all I ever wanted".

software
(FTP)

of

cash

I couldn't

the most
[received]
and
knowledge".
important things: friendship
in that the
interview
The
stage proved valuable

Another

argued,

"I've

only

researchers were

able to probe the apparent duality


the insignificant
effect of a tangible reward,
to
the significant
dollar amounts
attributed

between
and

software piracy globally. One interviewee


explained,
or Hong
"walk
any street in Singapore
through
and
Kong and you'll find stores full of CDs of Razor
Myth

want

to be

"it's

just

releases from the internet

and newsgroups.

We

with

associated
it can

that

be

copied

that?". Another
so

easily

... and

interviewee
they're just satisfying demand". Another
of
software
cracked
versions
noted,
[is
"selling
but I believe
that ... the software publishers
wrong]
as possible,
are simply trying to charge as much
at what
the software
is actually
looking
to someone".
while
This
that
suggests
the spread of pi
crackers are integral to facilitating

without
worth

rated

3 noted,
"I've got a [power supply
PJ\M
and a hard drive. But
2
sticks
of
unit], cpu,
that was a gift from the group, we don't get paid for
Interviewee

given

B (Commerce)
B(Arts)

wrote,

support
(Mean=1.67,
insignificant
factor
for tangible reward as amotivating
software. One
interviewee
made
this

Sei.)

B(Comp.
Not

given
given

we
reward

A-Levels

Services

Financial

26
44

demographics

Employment

Age

M
M
M
M
M
M
M
M

to

participant

software,
the distribution

conducted

copy protection,
through removing
of this software outside the group is

by other

parties.

Tlte denial of responsibility


demonstrated
survey evidence
of
commercial
software
the
proval

The

that the disap


industry and law

had little influence on the


respectively
to
decision
crack software. There was strong support
for the argument
that crackers accept full responsi
enforcement

bility for their actions and the disapproval of others.


is
In the case of crackers, the denial of responsibility
not used as a technique
One
of neutralisation.
interviewee
respect to their own
spoke of this with
group's actions: "[Our group] has a note in
that says something
like, 'if you want us to

cracking
the NFO
stop

many

your

cracking

have

please

authors don't know

bother

contact

us'.

How

us in the last 2?3 years? 2-3


cracks exist or they
to look at them".

contacted

The

people?
just don't

software

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What Motivates
interviews

the

However,

was

industry disapproval
this issue, Interviewee
pretty

morals,

high

some

in

agreements

also

that

showed

not

On

ignored altogether.
1 noted,
"I personally have
but if you read the licence

software

they

state

that

can't

you

do this or you can't do that with the software. They


are clearly trying to both have the cake and eat it. If I
to do what
pay $1500 for software it should be mine
I want

with.

For

a car manufacturer

example,

not

to repaint the expensive


made
interviewees
Other

tell you

can't

car you just


similar com

bought".
ments. This suggests that crackers are aware that they
are responsible
for their actions (and hence do not
at the same time they
however,
deny responsibility),
basis for this
feel as though
there is a justifiable

The denial of the victim


survey results for the denial of the victim ap
the software
peared to indicate that some thought

The

industry did not deserve to have its products illegally


shed further light on this finding.
copied. Interviews

The denial of injury


some respondents
their

as

actions

software

industry,

actions

are

about

the

some
or

harmless,

existence

to accept

appeared
cause

cracker

individuals

believed

at

were,

of

least,

adverse

that

to

harm

the

their

conflicted

effects.

The

gave greater
insight into this finding.
not
"I have
harmed
One
interviewee
noted,
I
has died from my actions,
and nobody
anybody
never
to
real
down
believe
has
harmed
piracy
earns 32
so what
if some company
earth people,
interviews

rather

million

than 54 million?".

the

some respondents did utilise the denial


of injury to justify their actions. These
respondents
the fact that
used the denial of injury to neutralise
their

actions

run

counter

to

law.

For

instance,

on

one
interviewee
the survey findings,
discussing
me
that you
"It also bothers
noted,
immensely
could go to jail for cracking for longer than people
of
that is a perversion
go to jail for rape. To me
1 noted,
Interviewee
"If I was
justice."
Similarly,
to kill someone while DUI,
I would
probably get
sent to prison for a year or so and get a $5,000 fine.
If I copy/crack
software I could go to jail for five
a
and
is human
fine
of $10 million. Why
years
get
as 'cheaper'
life regarded
than software? Mainly
because

our

the

software
[sic]
lobby's
industry
a
to
and
has
so".
An
lot
of
do
money
politicians
a
"to
bust
them
AND
them
other wrote
that,
give
fine
geous".

comparable

to manslaughter

is just

outra

software

source/free

open

...

comment

not

a more

becomes

attrac

some

However,
as crackers
their

get
software was

I struggle with
this issue".
that their ac
individuals believe

tive alternative.
tions

software would

if commercial

it then

because

pirated,

The

community.

source

is that open
argument
more
support and users

are

actions

justified,

may

suffer

of

regardless

cause.

as

a result

harm

any

whether

On

software

of

cracking
1 argued, "No, they don't. Bill
activity,
is
Gates is still the richest man in the world". There
evidence
of the denial of the victim as a neutralisa
might
Interviewee

be

technique. This suggests that crackers may


of recognising
targets they believe
capable
tion

Further
inappropriate.
is
needed.
technique

research

are

the use of this

into

of the condemners
in how
this factor suggest a divide
While
the
the
software
regard
industry.

Condemnation
The

results of

crackers

of crackers

majority

However,

one

"the

that

is a comment
that lingers with me and troubles me,
about how pirated software might negatively
impact

companies

While

wrote

interviewee

One

that

activity.

195

Software Crackers?

software

as a result

industry

cluster

do not wish
their

feel quite differently.


felt that law enforcement

on

instance,

interviewee
to

cracker

interactions
the

reviewing

noted,
release.

"this will
try

They

with

is a

Some
agen
crackers.
one

results,

survey

only

the

there

actions,

of crackers who

respondents
clearly
cies over-react
in their
For

of

on

any harm

the

challenge

to make

stronger

pro

but forget to make


their software near bug
wants.
is
which
And that iswhat
what
the
client
free,
a
very protected box of bugs".
they will pay for. Not
were
also critical of Microsoft's
Respondents
tections

and

product

wrote,
Microsoft.

"All

practice.

For

software

example,

I keep

one

respondent

I pay for, except


to be highway
rob

I feel their product


in
sale of software
respect of their continued
bery
that is buggy and a great security risk for the general
the size of the software publishing
public". Again,
a
firm might play
role in this effect. One interviewee

wrote

that "the big boys

like Microsoft

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and Adobe

196

Sigi Goode

targets no matter what


they do".
"Microsoft
is a special case, well
that sells horrible
software to mil
one
people".
Additionally,
respondent

will

always be
Another
noted,
hated company
lions

of

"I'm not

noted,
they

got

to hunt

me

any titles from Microsoft,

touching

resources

the

to put

on

pressure

any

agency

that software,
others
also felt that people
using
to pay for software.
should have
Some
crackers
appeared to use the appeal to higher loyalties, in this
case serving the community
software,
by supplying
as a means of
their behaviour.
justifying
the conflicting
results of this factor
However,
indicate that the majority
of crackers might
justify
on
the
situation and may have
piracy depending
for doing so. For
quite intricate methods
developed
consider

when

this

interviewee's

comment,

asked whether
all software
but that doesn't mean
I have

should be free:
to pay $2000 for
either. Not only could I not afford it, but
Photoshop
even if I couldn't
I would
just use the [free, open
"No,

source] Gimp instead, but since I have access to both


for free, Photoshop
is by far the better choice".
The cognitive
interviews
useful addi
provided
tional insight into this neutralisation
technique, with
some interviewees
that
crackers
could be of
arguing
use to the software industry because of their tech
nical

skills. One

they

to

save

use

should

our

or

another
and

and

if

increase

companies
their

profit,

respect

to the

study's

research

as follows

I. What factors motivate software crackers to remove the


copy protection from commercial software?
from the survey stage suggest that the
Findings
is a significant
difficulty of removing copy protection
motivating
interview

factor.
stage

care

I don't

solve.

it". The

about

the

that the pres


reward was not a

analysis
or possibility
of a tangible
factor. Evidence
from
motivating

Evidence

further

that not only

suggested
dents

not

payment

the

the interview

ismonetary
factor,

motivating

reviled

that's

program

also showed

idea

of

stage
or
compensation

but

some

receiving

respon

for

payment

software.

cracking

factors do software crackers use to justify


the
copy protection from commercial software?
removing
were
Factors
of justification
less clear. Most
2. What

some

denied
respondents
was
There
activity.
victim

for their
responsibility
evidence
of denying
the
as
tech
neutralization
injury

some

and denial

of

niques: in particular, some crackers felt little sympa


of more
software
thy for the vendors
expensive
to
the condem
products. With
regard
condemning
some
ned,
enforcement

of law
appeared to disapprove
others found
agency behaviour, while
their behaviour
and understandable.
acceptable
most
to
of
the
did not wish
However,
respondents
crackers

cause harm

to the original
software authors them
if the author was from a small
(particularly

selves

to the appeal to higher loyalties,


that crackers might
justify their
on the circumstances.

firm). With
regard
there was evidence
activities

depending

research

Implications for
This

paper

search

in

makes
the

areas

a number
of

ethics

of
and

contributions
information

to

re

systems.

a number of factors of
First, this research compiles
motivation
and justification
to be
that are found
remove
in
actions
the
of
those
that
copy
important

suggestions".

conclusions

with

were

to

like

around

"In the end we

wrote,

money

and

findings,

questions,

way

some

Discussion
The

interviewee

one

win

always
want

dominant
the
factor,
motivating
overshadowing
or desire for social status.
need for social participation
One
interviewee wrote,
is exactly
"[the difficulty]
all little puzzles. Riddles
I
my motivation.
They're

ence

down".

The appeal to higher loyalties


The survey finding for this factor was unclear. While
some respondents
believed
to
that being unable
afford a piece of software should not be a barrier to

example,

and Sam Cruise

from

suggests

the
that

cognitive
this is the

from commercial
software. Second,
this
protection
study is among the first to explore the originators of
pirated software rather than the users and distributors
of pirated software.
in terms of research method
this study
Third,
makes
several contributions.
The solicitation of par
from
chosen
forums on the inter
ticipants
carefully
net was
directly

generally
relevant

successful

and yielded

to the research

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respondents
study's
topic. The

What Motivates
method

a survey

of

administering
of open-ended
combination
scale questions was highly

richness

of

and reliability
internet. The

the effectiveness

highlighted

over

the

and Likert

questions
a
successful and yielded
not have been
that would

information

Subsequent
using a single collection method.
the
inter
interviews
confirmatory
using
cognitive
view method
in validating
also proved
invaluable
possible

earlier findings

the

research,

exploratory

to the study. For

and lending weight

tiple data collection

of

effectiveness

methods

was

using

mul

confirmed.

Software Crackers? 197


quite

to the plight of
those
from
particularly

software

sympathetic

opers,

For

companies.

one

instance,

of

the

small

interviewee

devel
software
wrote,

authors

shareware

against
opinions
can
cracking influences me, and I try to read what I
or
a
cracker
their views".
about
Approaching
cracking group to request that they cease cracking
results. Further,
their software may yield positive
some respondents
the
felt that they were
doing
"only

software

a positive

firms
and

removal,

increasing

service by assisting
user

the

base.

This

in bug
is con

sistent with

the arguments of Conner


and Rumelt
where
software
the
enable
(1991),
pirates
spread of
et al.
software and thus increase its user base. Givon

Implications for practitioners

"pirates play an important role in


potential users into users of the software,

(1995: 30) write,


are a number

There
and

of contributions

for

software

Software
systems
practitioners.
should understand
that regardless of the
of amethod
of copy protection,
there is

information

developers

converting
of whom

many

legally purchase

the software".

complexity
evidence
that crackers will

still try and break the


for
the
copy protection,
simply
challenge it involves.
Interview discussion
revealed that crackers are dri
ven

of surmounting
the copy
challenge
This
difficult
that
suggests
increasingly
protection.
a
can
as
act
to
motivator
copy protection
significant
by

the

crackers.

software

Interviewee

evidence

supported

this: "The harder they make


it to crack, the harder
we will work to crack it. Look atMicrosoft's
attempt
to activate its new OS online - held us back a bit but
we

in

If the challenge
the end".
is
important to crackers, the finding may not apply to
other members
of the piracy process whose
role is
not as challenging,
such as couriers and suppliers
(consistent with Lee, 2002).
If the development
is
of copy protection methods
a costly process,
could
reconsider
the
developers
feasibility and viability of this activity. In this regard,
got

there

to argue that software firms


tempting
should make their software easier to copy and reduce
the difficulty
of the challenge.
To
this end, one
interviewee wrote
iswhat drives me,
"the difficulty
it would

be

if all of it were

easy,

I don't

think

I would

still be

doing this stuff today". Similarly, one interviewee


hinted, "I never try to crack a program simpler than
the last one, this would
be a loss of time". Another
"if I see the protection
is really, really easy, I
wrote,
don't
With
should

publish

the crack".

regard
understand

to

Implications for policy makers


in terms of policy developers,
if the goal of
is to curb software piracy then
policy development
the following
contributions
should be considered.
Finally,

Crackers

understand what they do is illegal yet that is


not a restraining factor for their actions. One
inter
viewee wrote,
"I fear nothing of punishment.
Like
Galileo expanded his knowledge
the
church,
despite
I do the same. I live to know more. No
one can
force me

out
as

effective

it". The

of

deterrent

harshness
some

to

that many

managers
authorship,
of these crackers are

crackers.

is

Recent

arrests of people from the online piracy environment


have considerably
influenced how crackers perceive
their actions
curbing
understand
others
actions

of it
there is little evidence
although
actions.
should
Policy
developers
that crackers may
differentiate
from

their

in the online

piracy

environment

in that their

are motivated

of
mainly
by the challenge
an
this
outlet
alternate
for
desire
cracking. Providing
for personal challenge
is an area that should be ex
plored

by policy

developers.

Limitations
of important
study is subject to a number
limitations.
the
size
small
limited the
First,
sample
on
the data. Factor
analysis that could be performed

This

software

of penalties

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198 Sigi Goode


would

have been particularly


in
useful
between
differences
different
response
examining
factor analysis it cannot
types. Without
respondent
are using one technique or if a
be seen if respondents
analysis

are using

minority
The

sample may

cracker

The

population.

ther,

group

desire

respondent

was

survey

for

the

beyond

Fur

2001).

and

secrecy

the

of

self-selective,

not be generalisable
(Simsek and Veiga,

and responses may


respondent

all techniques.
not be representative

at later times may


time period. Surveys conducted
an
in as dynamic
different
results,
give
especially
as the software market. The findings
environment
in geographical
be biased due to differences
as
from non-English
regions,
respondents
speaking
to
with
seemed
the
struggle
backgrounds
phrasing of

may

some

Further,

questions.

only

forums were

crackers

included

In the absence

who

read

the

in the sample.
studies on software

of published
the research factors were

cracking,
carefully chosen
from the literature on motivation,
end
justification,
user software piracy,
and computer
crime. The
measures

in the survey, while


and based on past measures
used

testing
may not be effective
A
based

factor proxies.
avenues for future

of

number

to pre

subject
when
possible,

exist
a

research

on

this study. This research suffered


of respondents.
small number
Repetition

respondents would make


study with more
more
with more complex
effective
analysis

from

the

of

the data
statistical

a case-study
analyses. Alternatively,
approach could
be employed using particular groups. This approach
would yield information on all types of online piracy
environment

not

This

just
the large groups that law
approach
are responsible
believe
for
enforcement
agencies
90% of the pirated software available on the Internet
(US

participants,
could focus on

crackers.

Customs

Service

2001).

Crackers

exhibit

decision-making
procedures with
regards
complex
to the morality
of software piracy, purchasing
soft
ware,

and

attitudes

towards

software

companies,

suggest the use of a personal code for decision


into the existence
of a personal
making. Research
Such research should
code in crackers, is needed.
this code can be
also consider the degree to which
which

by extraneous

influenced
software

company

such as laws and

factors,

disapproval.

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