Ten years after the fall of Napster, digital piracy remains an issue for e-commerce firms. While scholars treat digital piracy as a behaviour that needs to be prevented or punished, the user’s decision about how to acquire a digital product involves more than the piracy option, yet the decision between piracy and legal alternatives has received limited attention. Moreover, existing models of piracy emphasize some elements of the acquisition decision, but disregard other important influences. This paper presents a model of digital product acquisition in the context of piracy, integrating elements of previous digital piracy models and expanding upon them to reflect the decision’s complexity. We depict the acquisition decision as being influenced by the user’s price perceptions, perceived risks, product desire, skills, and internal regulators of behaviour. A preliminary and partial test of the model is conducted for film and music using data collected students in at two Danish universities. The paper concludes with an outline for future research.


Digital products, digital piracy, consumer behaviour, music, films, price perceptions, decision-making, internet piracy


ISBN: [978-1-86435-644-1]; Full paper