Deterrence effect of four legal and extralegal factors on online copyright infringement

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-327
Journal / PublicationJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


A survey of online file sharers found that both legal and extralegal factors had a deterrence effect on online copyright infringement. Perceived certainty of punishment, perceived stigma of label, awareness of the laws and consensus with the laws were found to be negatively correlated with both current and likely future file-sharing activities. The regression analyses revealed that both current and future file-sharing activities were best predicted by the legal factor perceived certainty of punishment. The extralegal factors, perceived stigma of label and consensus with the laws, played important roles in deterring both current and likely future file-sharing activities, while awareness of the laws played a weak role in deterring likelihood of future file-sharing. The findings provide an empirical basis for developing alternative strategies to deter online file-sharing that involves massive users. Copyright © 2009 International Communication Association.

Research Area(s)

  • Awareness of laws, Consensus with law, Deterrence effect, Extralegal factors, File-sharing, Online copyright infringement, Punishment certainty, Social stigma