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"All laws not rooted in the popular sentiment only arouse resentment."
Written by Daniel   
Saturday, 12 May 2007 09:47
File-swapping: As "the Man" says no, students say yes
ARS Technica
By Nate Anderson | Published: May 11, 2007 - 01:04PM CT

New academic research suggests that neither social norms nor the threat of lawsuits are enough to keep college students from illegally downloading music. The study, which appeared in the most recent issue of Cyberpsychology & Behavior, provides no answers to a music industry that is desperately seeking ways to put the brakes on file-sharing. It does suggest that such sharing doesn't hurt the music business, though; according to the authors, "downloading intentions also had no direct relationship to either compact disc purchases or to subscriptions to online paid music services."
RIAA launches propaganda, lawsuit offensive against college students

"Share, Steal, or Buy? A Social Cognitive Perspective of Music Downloading" was authored by Professors Robert LaRose and Junghyun Kim (and highlighted by the superb Chronicle of Higher Education), and it examined the motivations of 134 students at a Midwestern university. All of the students had downloaded music illegally in the past, and their answers to the survey questions indicated that most intended to continue downloading in the future. It turns out not to matter whether the university or a student's parents believe that such music downloads are wrong; these norms were simply not absorbed by the students.

Two things did affect student behavior. One was a sense of moral justification; students who believed that downloading music was an ethical behavior were likely to download more of it. That's a fairly predictable result, but more surprising was the finding that students were more likely to download music if they believed that their classmates were downloading more than they were. As the researchers put it, "the less excessive one's downloading was perceived to be compared to others, the more deficient was self-regulation [of downloading]." This is "keeping up with the Joneses," college style.... More

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