Software piracy has become a global problem that hinders the development of software industry. Therefore, it is important to understand the underlying mechanisms that drive users’ software piracy behavior. Previous literature on this issue heavily relied on the general deterrence theory (GDT) suggesting that two key punishment perceptions namely punishment severity and punishment certainty determined the software piracy behavior. However, how these punishment perceptions are formed has been rarely examined. To fill this research gap, from the social learning perspective, this study will investigate the three sources of punishment perceptions – policy awareness, personal experience and vicarious experience – and compare their relative strengths on punishment perceptions. Through a field survey with 253 subjects, we found that: (1) personal and vicarious experience have impacts on both punishment certainty and punishment severity; (2) policy awareness has influence only on punishment severity; and (3) personal and vicarious experience have greater impacts on punishment certainty than policy awareness. The implications for theory and practice are also discussed.
Sun, Yongqiang; Lim, Kai H.; and Fang, Yulin, "Do Facts Speak Louder than Words? Understanding the Sources of Punishment Perceptions in Software Piracy Behavior" (2013). PACIS 2013 Proceedings. 167.