Rip, mix, burn … sue … ad infinitum: The effects of deterrence vs voluntary cooperation on non-commercial online copyright infringing behaviour

Peter James Allen


In recent years, the opportunities for content creation and distribution afforded by Web 2.0 have been widely embraced by an increasingly online, computer-literate population. They have also resulted in widespread copyright infringement, which corporate and government regulatory bodies have sought to constrain with legislative changes, court actions, public education campaigns, and technological protection measures. These approaches are informed by theories of perceptual deterrence, and are not working.

This paper offers evidence supporting an alternative, process-based approach to understanding online copyright infringement; an approach focussed on factors that encourage voluntary deference, cooperation and compliance, rather than attempting to induce it with threats of punishment.


Web 2.0; Copyright; Deterrence; Certainty; Severity; Punishment; Procedural Justice; Fairness; Trust; Legitimacy; Voluntary Compliance

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