Andrea L. Santiago
Asian Institute of Management

Year: January 2017
Volume: 26 No. 2
Pages: 159–173


Technological improvements made it easier for individuals to download files for personal use. From one end, the clear message is that piracy is wrong and attention should be drawn to crushing piracy with education and disincentives. On the other end of the spectrum is the view that anything that can be accessed online is free. This paper encapsulates the major discussions on digital piracy thus far. It also looks at alternative ways to approach the debate so that more creative solutions can be developed without compromising on the basic principle that the creator of an idea or product deserves to enjoy the fruits of his or her labor.

In its simplest form, digital piracy refers to obtaining without the explicit consent of the intellectual property owner, digital content for sale or personal use (Wagner & Sanders, 2001). There are two sides of digital piracy. Demand-side digital piracy refers to the purchase of illegal copies, or the personal use of unpurchased copies, of digital content. Supply-side digital piracy enters the realm of counterfeiting with actual intent to earn profits while defrauding rightful owners of what is due them. The scope of this paper is limited to demand-side digital piracy due to the overwhelming breadth and complexity of the subject.