Software piracy has defied punitive measures, posing threats to jobs of millions of employees and the computer industry. The study proposed an attitudinal approach to the wide-reaching problem and examines the variance explained by gender and opportunity recognition in attitude to piracy of software products. It utilized a correlational design in a survey of two hundred and forty students in an institution of higher learning located in southwestern Nigeria. Results indicate that opportunity recognition and attitudes toward software piracy have a significant positive relationship (β = .18, p < .01). Opportunity recognition accounted for 3.5 percent (p = < .01) of the variance in attitudes toward software piracy, indicating that it favourably disposes an individual to software piracy. Contrary to hypothesis, gender was not significantly related to attitudes toward software piracy (β = .06, n.s.). Practical implications of findings and future research directions are discussed.
Key words: Gender; opportunity recognition; attitudes to software piracy; computer industry; Nigeria.
Software piracy has been described as the unauthorized duplication, reuse and /or distribution of copyrighted computer programmes (Higgins, 2006; Dupin-Bryant, 2010). This includes software that is stored on hard drives, floppy disks, CD-ROMS, and the internet as well as software on personal computers (Higgins, 2006). It is a form of white-collar crime that has assumed an alarming proportion due to wide spread access to computers, mobile communication and the internet (Hagan & Kay, 1990; Motivans, 2004). An appreciation of the negative effects of software piracy on the computer industry and their employees, and the society at large has brought to the fore a need to focus on all dimensions to the problem. The government has assisted the situation by enacting laws that stipulates stiff penalties for the infringement of copyright. Organizations in the industry have licensed their software products and have engaged in enlightenment, surveillance and prosecution of violators of their copyright. In addition, some have incorporated anti-copying devices to their products, offered free auditing software to detect pirated copies and published punishment for violation of their copyright (Peace, Gallettea & Thong, 2003).
Despite the stiff penalties for infringement, piracy behaviour has continued unabated (Moinul, 2010). The ease with which software can be copied without permission has made it difficult to detect and to enforce piracy laws (Peace et al, 2003). As such, the problem has continued to hurt many software businesses costing the industry a fortune in lost revenue, diminishing incentive to sustain innovative production and causing the retrenchment of thousands of computer industry workers (Peace et al, 2003; Dupin-Bryant, 2010). The phenomenon has equally been a particularly harrowing experience for employees in the software industry: they are constantly in fear of losing their jobs - the employment of a conservative estimate of 1 million workers is threatened at every point in time. For this reason alone, software piracy should be a major source of concern to an organizational psychologist and a keen enthusiast of employee well-being and the survival of the software industry.
Although all hands appear to be on deck in solving the piracy problem, there is a dimension that seems not to be receiving the desired attention. This is attitudes to software piracy. The importance of examining software piracy attitudes is underscored by two reasons. First, and to reiterate, stiff penalties have not stopped piracy of software products (Moinul, 2010). Second, researchers (e.g. DupinBryant, 2010) have suggested that other alternative ways of preventing infringement of intellectual property should be explored to help the situation. One alternative method is to understand attitudes to …