Choosing Lawful Versus Unlawful Music Downloads

Of people who download copyrighted music online, why do some people obtain their music lawfully from sites like iTunes while other people obtain it unlawfully from sources such as peer-to-peer networks? In a new paper, Marc Bellemare and Andrew Holmberg try to answer these questions using an empirical study of the views of college students. Their survey was completed by about 300 undergraduates at what the paper describes as a private university in the South (presumably Duke University, where one of the authors is a professor). Their basic finding: “While the average student’s willingness to pay for legal music certainly matters in explaining music piracy, the threat of litigation as well as the average student’s degree of morality matter just as much.”