In recent years the issue of music piracy has evolved from a minor concern discussed in technology magazines to a major issue discussed almost daily in Australia's mass media. At the same time serious academic research into music piracy has gained importance with the issue being discussed in top journals. The music industry claims that there are potentially billions of dollars at stake, however their extensive anti piracy strategies do not appear to be successful. Why?
Understanding the reasons behind the considerable success of Peer to Peer music file sharing systems will do more than simply help the music industry deal with the threat of music piracy that such systems represent. If the research model proposed in this research can be further developed to foster understanding of the factors that contribute to the success of innovative, disruptive technologies such as Peer to Peer music file sharing, then this knowledge might be successfully applied to other situations and disciplines.
This research proposes a Unified Model of Music Piracy, then tests and validates a section of that model. It finds that contrary to expectations, the age of a user is not significant in relation to Music Piracy. In general users are well aware of the law, of prominent cases of music piracy, and the penalties incurred by convicted copyright infringers. This, however, does not change their music piracy behaviour, as they feel that their online anonymity affords them some protection, but also that the music companies cannot catch everyone.
This research suggests that music piracy will continue to feature in the music industry model. The arguments and results of this research suggest that a certain level of music piracy is efficacious to the industry. However, further research is needed to confirm this notion and to determine whether there is an optimum level of music piracy.