Piracy on the High Speeds: A Test of Social Learning Theory on Digital Piracy among College Students

Whitney D. Gunter, Western Michigan University


This study assesses factors that affect Internet piracy among college students. Specifically, the study asks the question: Are social learning theories predictive of piracy behaviors? Data used in this study were collected from 587 undergraduate college students enrolled in two higher education institutions. Path analysis as part of structural equation modeling (SEM) is used to test several models for different types of Internet piracy. The results show that variables from social learning theories, such as peer involvement and parental support, are strongly related to Internet piracy. Using three differing types of Internet-based digital piracy, the differences and similarities in findings will be compared. Implications for future research and potentially more effective prevention strategies are also discussed.