Analysis of the key reasons behind the pirated software usage of Turkish Internet users: application of routine activities theory


Author/Creator ORCID




University of Baltimore. School of Information Arts and Technologies


University of Baltimore. Doctor of Communications Design

Citation of Original Publication


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The basic reason for protection of intellectual property rights is the necessity to encourage and support innovation and to promote the creation of knowledge. Intellectual property has a functional effect on the creation, development and innovation of the intellectual products which improve our life. Software piracy is one of the important parts of the digital piracy problem, and according to Swinward et al. (1990), software was also the first copyrighted product that was duplicated on a large scale. BSA defined software piracy as the illegal copying, downloading, sharing, selling or installing of copyrighted software. It is difficult to measure accurately the worldwide magnitude of the software piracy problem. According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA) Global Software Piracy Report, the rate of software piracy in 2009 was 43%. This is a serious problem for the world economy, but the problem is more serious in Turkey. According to the BSA 2009 Global Software Piracy Report, the software piracy rate in Turkey was 63% in 2009. If the assumption is made that every instance of pirated software usage equals an amount of loss in the economy, then the impact of the loss on the Turkish economy was 415 million dollars. Before advanced technology and high speed Internet, software piracy was carried out by copying disks or other types of physical objects, but now almost all types of software piracy occur over the Internet. The aim of this study is to explore the factors that contribute to pirated software usage among Turkish Internet users in order to define the dynamics behind the problem of software piracy from the Internet users' perspective. Definition of the reasons behind an existing problem is a crucial part of the problem solving process. With this study the factors behind the problem of pirated software usage will be empirically analyzed from the users' perspective by applying Routine Activity Theory. According to RAT, three major factors that affect criminal activities include access to suitable targets, motivated offenders and the absence of capable guardians. According to the routine activity approach, crime or the risk of crime increases when a motivated offender identifies or encounters a suitable target in the absence of a capable guardian. The concurrent triangulation structure, a mixed method approach, was used in this study. The data collection methods included an online survey questionnaire and online interview forms. The survey questionnaires aimed to measure the targeted Turkish Internet users' attitudes toward pirated software usage as a dependent variable and perceptions about the availability and accessibility of pirated software, motivations behind the usage of pirated software, perceptions about social-legal guardians against pirated software usage as independent variables. Results indicated that motivation, accessibility of pirated software, and perception of social guardians have an impact on Turkish Internet users pirated software usage. The perception of legal guardian had a weak relationship with software piracy attitude.