The accidental criminal: Using policy to curb illegal downloading

  • Kalika Navin Doloswala Centre for Industry and Innovation Studies (CInIS) Research Group, School of Management, School of Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney
  • Ann Dadich Centre for Industry and Innovation Studies (CInIS) Research Group, School of Management, University of Western Sydney
Keywords: Illegal downloading, attribution theory, psychology, Internet, P2P, copyright infringement, ISP blocking

Abstract

Illegal downloading is a multifaceted social issue. In addition to the loss of intellectual property and revenue for copyright-holders, it can implicate perpetrators into the criminal justice system. Despite legislative attempts to curb illegal downloading, lessons to date suggest these do little to reduce the activity. Drawing on psychological literature, this paper offers an innovative approach to address illegal downloading. Attribution theory argues that the activity might be moderated by increasing opportunities for engagement between the owners and users of intellectual property. Rather than using policy and legislation to restrain access to intellectual property, this theory suggests that policy that closes proximal distances and creates psychological contracts might curb these practices. Examples from the music industry are discussed as evidence that this approach can be successful in changing downloader behaviour. To date, social policy informed by attribution theory has not been tested as a way to prevent illegal downloading. The paper argues the need to examine and critically evaluate non-punitive approaches to curbing illegal downloading from a policy perspective.

Author Biographies

Kalika Navin Doloswala, Centre for Industry and Innovation Studies (CInIS) Research Group, School of Management, School of Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney
Kalika (Navin) Doloswala, PhD, Masters of Social Change and Development, Grad Cert Entrepreneurship, is an Associate Lecturer with the School of Communication Arts and a research associate with the Centre for Industry and Innovation Studies (CInIS) Research Group, at the University of Western Sydney. He is passionate about emerging technology, radical innovation and illegal networks.
Ann Dadich, Centre for Industry and Innovation Studies (CInIS) Research Group, School of Management, University of Western Sydney
Dr. Ann Dadich, BSocSci Hons (Psych), PhD, is a registered psychologist and a Research Lecturer affiliated with the Centre for Industry and Innovation Studies (CInIS) Research Group and School of Management at the University of Western Sydney. Her research passions lie in the related areas of social policy, community psychology, health / mental health service systems, and knowledge translation. Prior to her life in academe, she worked in both the government and non-government sectors with people who experience mental health issues. These experiences continue to inform her research interests and her approach to conducting research that is both empirical and respectful.
Published
2011-05-29
How to Cite
Doloswala, K. N., & Dadich, A. (2011). The accidental criminal: Using policy to curb illegal downloading. First Monday, 16(6). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i6.3412