Softlifting: Exploring determinants of attitude

Softlifting, or the illegal duplication of copyrighted software by individuals for personal use, is a serious and costly problem for software developers and distributors. Understanding the factors that determine attitude toward softlifting is important in order to ascertain what motivates individuals to engage in the behavior. We examine a number of factors, including personal moral obligation (PMO), perceived usefulness, and awareness of the laws and regulations governing software acquisition and use, along with facets of personal self-identity that may play a role in the development of attitudes and therefore intentions regarding this behavior. These factors are examined across multiple settings expected to be pertinent to our survey respondents: home, work and school. Personal moral obligation and perceived usefulness are significant predictors of attitude across all settings. Past behavior is a significant predictor of intention across all settings, and a significant predictor of attitude in the home setting. We find evidence that awareness of the law causes a less favorable evaluation of softlifting in the school setting only, but has little effect in the home and work settings. As in previous studies, attitude is a significant predictor of intent. We do not find indications that one’s personal self-identity influences one’s attitude towards the behavior and the intention to perform it, except in the case of legal identity, where marginally significant effects are found in the work environment.
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