Risk, benefit and moderators of the affect heuristic in a widespread unlawful activity: Evidence from a survey of unlawful file sharing behavior

Watson, Steven, Zizzo, Daniel and Fleming, Piers (2017) Risk, benefit and moderators of the affect heuristic in a widespread unlawful activity: Evidence from a survey of unlawful file sharing behavior. Risk Analysis, 37 (6). 1146–1156. ISSN 0272-4332

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Abstract

Increasing the perception of legal risk via publicized litigation and lobbying for copyright law enforcement has had limited success in reducing unlawful content sharing by the public. We consider the extent to which engaging in file sharing online is motivated by the perceived benefits of this activity as opposed to perceived legal risks. Moreover, we explore moderators of the relationship between perceived risk and perceived benefits; namely trust in industry and legal regulators, and perceived online anonymity. We examine these questions via a large two-part survey of consumers of music (n = 658) and eBooks (n = 737). We find that perceptions of benefit, but not of legal risk, predict stated file sharing behavior. An affect heuristic is employed: as perceived benefit increases, perceived risk falls. This relationship is increased under high regulator and industry trust (which actually increases perceived risk in this study) and low anonymity (which also increases perceived risk). We propose that, given the limited impact of perceived legal risk upon unlawful downloading, it would be better for the media industries to target enhancing the perceived benefit and availability of lawful alternatives.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published in Special Issue: Modeling Measles and Rubella Risks, Part II © 2016 The Authors Risk Analysis published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Risk Analysis This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: affect heuristic,anonymity,trust
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Faculty of Science
Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2016 00:12
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2019 14:56
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59903
DOI: 10.1111/risa.12689

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