Piracy as an ethical decision

We consider a monopolist producer of information goods that may be subject to unauthorized copying. The key feature of our model is that we allow consumers to have ethical concerns based on equity theory that may reduce their utility of such a copy. We derive the formulas describing demand for the product. We find that piracy reduces prices and producers’ profit, an effect that can be limited by such measures as copyright enforcement (proxied by expected value of punishment for piracy) and anti-piracy campaigns. Welfare effects are also analyzed and generally turn out to be ambiguous.

Unpublished version

Martyna Kobus
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