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Threatening messages aimed at deterring digital piracy have the opposite effect if you’re male, a new study from the University of Portsmouth has found. According to research, women respond positively to these types of messages, but men typically increase their piracy behavior by 18 percent.

There is study published I Journal of Business Ethics.

Digital piracy occurs when copyrighted material is accessed without a license, such as BitTorrent, stream-rippers or cyberlockers. This is a major challenge for creative economies around the world, costing industries billions annually.

This paper examines the extent to which anti-piracy messages are effective, examining changes in TV and movie piracy intentions among 962 adults compared to their past behavior.

Lead author Kate Whitman, from the University of Portsmouth’s Center for Cybercrime and Economic Crime, said, “We already know that there are significant gender differences in piracy because men tend to piracy more than women – they understand are that it is more acceptable and less risky. But what we wanted to see in this study is whether anti-piracy messages had a different effect on men and women.

“We studied the interaction between gender, attitudes towards piracy and reactions to anti-piracy messages. And what we found is that when it comes to fighting piracy, one size definitely fits. Not suitable for.”

The three messages examined in the study were verbatim copies of three real-world anti-piracy campaigns. Two of the campaigns used threatening messages to combat piracy and the third had an educational tone.

Whiteman added, “A threatening message might emphasize legal ramifications, the risk of prosecution or the threat of a computer virus, while educational messages try to educate the consumer about the moral and economic harms of piracy. “

One of the threatening messages was from crime reduction charity Crimestoppers, which focused on the individual risk of computer viruses, identity fraud, money and data theft and hacking.

The second message was based on a campaign by the French government, which used a “three strikes” process, whereby violators were given two written warnings before they did so. was terminated.

The educational message was taken from the “Get It Right from a Genuine Site” campaign, which focuses on the economy and the cost to individual creatives, and steers consumers away from piracy sites and towards legitimate platforms like Spotify or Netflix. Indicates.

The study found that a threatening message influenced women to reduce piracy intentions by more than 50 percent, but men increased piracy behavior. Educational messages had no effect on men or women.

“Research shows that anti-piracy messages can inadvertently increase piracy, a phenomenon known as a psychological reaction,” Whitman explained. “From an evolutionary psychology perspective, men have a strong reaction to having their independence threatened and so they do the opposite.”

Additionally, the study found that participants with the most favorable attitudes toward piracy exhibited the most polarized changes in piracy intentions—threatening messages increased their piracy even more.

The paper argues that the findings have important practical implications for policy makers, content creators, and anti-piracy advocates. By understanding how gender and attitudes influence responses to anti-piracy messages, stakeholders can improve their strategies to effectively counter piracy. While avoiding unintended consequences.

“This study shows that men and women respond differently to threatening messages,” Whiteman concluded. If they cannot be targeted accurately, they are best avoided because they can send piracy.”

More information:
Kate Whitman et al., Psychological Reactions to Anti-Piracy Messages Explained by Gender and Attitudes, Journal of Business Ethics (2024). DOI: 10.1007/s10551-023-05597-5

Reference: Study finds anti-piracy messages backfire, especially for men (2024, February 20) https://phys.org/news/2024-02-anti-piracy-messages-backfire-men February 20, 2024 Retrieved from .html

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