Student attitudes on software piracy and related issues of computer ethics

Ethics and Information Technology 6 (4):215-222 (2004)
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Software piracy is older than the PC and has been the subject of several studies, which have found it to be a widespread phenomenon in general, and among university students in particular. An earlier study by Cohen and Cornwell from a decade ago is replicated, adding questions about downloading music from the Internet. The survey includes responses from 224 students in entry-level courses at two schools, a nondenominational suburban university and a Catholic urban college with similar student profiles. The study found that there has been few if any changes in student opinions regarding the unauthorized duplication of copy- righted materials. Students generally felt that copying commercial software and downloading music from the Internet was acceptable and found that there was no significant correlation between student attitudes and their school’s religious affiliation or lack thereof. Additionally, the study found that a small but significant percentage of respondents considered the other questionable behaviors as ethically acceptable. Finally, the reasons for these attitudes are discussed as well as what colleges can do to correct the situation
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