Software piracy is a problem in the software industry, as firms lose revenue when pirated rather than original software is purchased. However, much of the research literature focuses on end-user piracy. This study goes directly to the initial software crackers to determine why they invest their skill in this activity instead of more lucrative and legal employment. The study applies a framework developed from the psychology literature in an online survey. The challenge of removing copy protection was the strongest motivation. Desire for social participation, while rewarding, was unimportant to crackers. Higher social status is a by-product of cracking.
Cruise, Sam and Goode, Sigi, "What Motivates Software Crackers?" (2004). ACIS 2004 Proceedings. Paper 118.