Within the majority of organisational business operations, consumers play an integral part in the exchange process (Muncy and Vitell, 1992). However, there has arisen the phenomenon whereby consumers purposely disrupt the exchange process; labels such as ‘jaycustomers’ and ‘dysfunctional consumer’ have been asserted on these particular cases (Lovelock, 1994; Harris & Reynolds, 2003). Lovelock (1994) defined such misbehaviour of consumers as the ‘acts which disrupt the firm’s service in a fashion that has negative ramifications for the organisation or other customers.’
In the past the introduction and development of revolutionary new technologies into commercial markets, and subsequently into the use of end users, has had unanticipated psychological and sociological impacts which have caused a changed in the way analysts and legislators act (Bijker et al 1987). The introduction of the internet is one of the best examples in recent time that has had an impact in upsetting the existing social state (Van Dijk, 1999). Winer (2001) has noted that the information technology revolution and the World Wide Web has presented an opportunity for business’ and consumers alike to share information on a mass scale in ways which weren’t previously conceivable offline. The early stages of the internet was still rather limited, with users only having the capacity to share small pieces of information (Hilbert & Lopez, 2011), consequently the development and innovation of the World Wide Web has eventually created an environment of which users are able to share information on a mass scale with relative ease (William et al, 2010). This development has led to the propagation of online piracy, resulting in the illegal downloading of entertainment content, software and e-books (Robertson et al, 2011).
One of the most infamous examples of digital privacy transpired in 1999, the release of Star Wars: Episode 1 resulted in thousands of illegally recorded copies from America being distributed across the Atlantic into Asia; this had a dramatic effect on the film’s opening attendance numbers (Lieberman & Esgate, 2002). Al Rafee (2008) defines this nature of behaviour as Digital Piracy and states it encompasses the ‘the illegal copying or downloading of copyrighted software and media files’, furthermore Robertson et al (2011) note that this casual act of distributing pirated content severely effects society especially with regards to the normalising of illegal activities.
Fishbein & Ajzen, (1995) conducted research of social psychology identifying the relationship between a person’s behavioural intention towards certain conduct and the likelihood of the individual acting in alignment with that conduct. A person’s behavioural intention can be used to predict an individual’s attitude towards the specified behaviour and environmental perceptions (Peace et al, 2003); this is known as the theory of reasoned action (TRA). Consequently, many studies involving digital piracy have been conducted on the basis of social psychological theories, people such as Eining & Christensen (1991) were one of the first authors to attempt to understand the behavioural nature behind those who participated in digital piracy; in their study they developed a model (Figure 1) that aimed to test the behavioural factors that impact software piracy. The model consisted of five factors; attitude towards computers, material consequences, norms, socio-legal attitudes and effective factors. Their research model found within the regression of the normative component, individuals who participate in unauthorised reproduction of unsanctioned material do not believe there is anything wrong with their actions. This also showed that they believe their friends view this behaviour as acceptable (submitting to norms), although every component of the model had an influence; socio-legal had the least