Date of Award

Summer 1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Donald H. Smith

Committee Member

Leonard Dobrin

Committee Member

James Nolan

Committee Member

Peter J. Mercier

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 S76


There is a limited amount of research covering the topic of computer software piracy. Few studies focus specifically on software piracy, while the vast majority looks at various forms of unauthorized access and computer hacking. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether students possess attitudes that are supportive of computer-software piracy. Here, attitude means the feeling one has about a certain topic. Operationally, attitude is defined as holding a favorable or unfavorable view of computer-software piracy. Eight research hypotheses are proposed. In order to explore the research question and test the hypotheses, a thirty-six-item questionnaire was administered to students at Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University (N=731). A total of seventeen classes were surveyed. As a whole, the data revealed that student respondents held attitudes that were not supportive of computer-software pirating. However gender, race, early exposure to computers, and participation in other forms of piracy were found to increase students' likelihood of committing computer-software piracy. The respondents' major (course of study) did not influence whether they participated in computer-software piracy. In fact, Computer Science· and Computer Engineering majors did not report the highest levels of software pirating.


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