Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Excuses, not reasons? How pirates rationalise their behaviours

An exciting area of research principally amongst Criminologists, work into the neutralisations and rationalisations of digital piracy reveal what can thought of as some of the 'excuses' people make to justify their behaviours. Importantly, these behaviours must first of all be interpreted as wrong in order to merit engagement in such rationalising.

A recent article by Smallridge and Roberts (2013) not only summarises this area of research well (certainly better than I just did) but adds to it by including new neutralisation techniques including 'the claim of normalcy', where people point to the large volume of others engaging in digital piracy to make them feel better.

Notably, their study considers movie, music, software, and gaming piracy independently, and concludes that: "There are some differences in neutralization acceptance across piracy type. In addition, some techniques appear to have a stronger impact on certain types of piracy" (p. 136.).

The paper also comes from the open-access journal 'International Journal of Cyber Criminology' which means you can read it for free.

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Smallridge, J.L. and Roberts, J.R. (2013). Crime Specific Neutralizations: An Empirical Examination of Four Types of Digital Piracy. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 7(2), 125-140.

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