12:36, June 11 101 0 abajournal.com

2019-06-11 12:36:04
Pirating files not so bad, with one exception, according to survey of Harvard LLM students

Researchers who surveyed students in Harvard Law School’s LLM program on the ethics of file sharing have concluded that lawyers generally perceive the practice as ethically acceptable.

The only exception is copyright infringement for a commercial purpose, according to the study published by the Information Society journal, summarized by TorrentFreak in this article.

Researchers collected 109 surveys from the LLM students that asked them to rate the ethics of file sharing in five categories on a scale of one to five, with five being most acceptable. Students in the LLM program have JDs.

Across the five scenarios, the study participants on average rated file sharing a 3.23. “We get a clear-cut picture: File sharing ranks relatively high in terms of ethical acceptability,” the researchers wrote.

Here are the results broken down by category:

• Infringing copyright for a commercial purpose, rated 1.76

• Infringing copyright to avoid payment, rated 2.73

• Infringing copyright for educational purposes, rated 3.28

• Infringing copyright because legal access wasn’t affordable, rated 3.32

• Infringing copyright because legal access can’t be obtained, rated 3.36

Students who worked or intended to work in the public sector on the whole considered file sharing to be more acceptable than JDs who worked or expected to work for law firms or corporations. (They both agreed piracy for a commercial purpose is bad, and file sharing for a commercial purpose isn’t as bad, however.)

Also, students who self-identified as “leftists” in social matters were more accepting of infringement.

The geographic region from which the students came did not affect the evaluations, though students from developed countries considered file sharing more acceptable than students from developing countries.

The study was conducted by Jerome Hergueux of the French National Center for Scientific Research at the University of Strasbourg and by Dariusz Jemielniak of the Department of Management in Networked and Digital Societies at Kozminski University in Warsaw.

They noted that most of the lawyers surveyed came from privileged socioeconomic environments and their views may not reflect the populations of their home countries.

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