E-textbook piracy behavior: An integration of ethics theory, deterrence theory, and theory of planned behavior

Sri Rahayu Hijrah Hati, Rahma Fitriasih, Anya Safira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors that influence the intention of students to pirate academic e-books by integrating three main theories: ethics theory, deterrence theory, and the theory of planned behavior. The study also examines the moderating role of past piracy behavior on the relationship between the factors in the previously mentioned theories and students’ piracy intention. Design/methodology/approach: The data were collected using a convenience sample of 662 university students. Based on their past behaviors, the students were grouped into “no piracy” and “piracy” groups. Findings: The result shows that the piracy intention of both the no-piracy and piracy groups has a similar influence based on the moral obligation in ethics theory. The factors in the deterrence theory, which includes fear of legal consequences and perceived likelihood of punishment, have no significant impact on the attitudes of the two groups toward piracy. While the intention of the no-piracy group is not influenced by other internal factors, such as self-efficacy, or by external factors, such as subjective norms and facilitating conditions, the behavioral intention of the piracy group is significantly influenced by these three factors. Research limitations/implications: This study only focuses on piracy attitude and behavior in the context of e-books. Practical implications: In Indonesia, the insignificant impact of factors from deterrence theory (the fear of legal consequences and perceived punishment) indicates weak law enforcement to combat digital piracy. Thus, it is imperative that law enforcement, especially regarding piracy, should be enhanced. Social implications: The significant role of ethics in the attitudes toward piracy indicates that morality serves as a moral compass to fight piracy behavior. The strong impact of subjective norms, especially in the piracy group, suggests that families should raise children and educate youth with beliefs that align with the concepts of morality. Originality/value: The study integrates three theories that are most often used in piracy behavior studies: ethics theory, deterrence theory, and theory of planned behavior. In addition, the study provides empirical evidence on the moderating role of past experience in piracy behavior.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Deterrence theory
  • E-textbook piracy
  • Ethics theory
  • Past behaviour
  • Theory of planned behaviour


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