Where do beliefs about music piracy come from and how are they shared?

Steven Caldwell Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
84 Downloads (Pure)


Research suggests that those individuals engaging in music piracy have little concern for the potentially negative consequences of engaging in this illegal activity. This study aims to build on previous research which finds that sub-cultural piracy knowledge is effectively transmitted online. Explicitly, this study aims to observe the various justifications people forward to rationalise engagement in music piracy, in accordance with Sykes and Matza’s (1957) widely researched neutralization theory, and if techniques used to rationalize behaviours are shared amongst those individuals found to be discussing and engaging in music piracy online. The research examines naturally occurring discourse across three online settings, finding a widespread perception that there is ‘no harm done’ and that tips to work around web-blocking are exchanged online, including in public spaces such as Twitter. However, differences were found in the beliefs and attitudes of the sample. The study raises key conceptual issues about the theory used.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-39
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Cyber Criminology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2016


  • digital piracy
  • social media
  • morality
  • ethnography
  • discourse
  • qualitative methodology
  • music piracy
  • neutralization theory


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