– In consumer marketing literature, the ethical/moral components of consumer behavior have been recognized as important factors in individuals’ involvement in software piracy. However, there remains unanswered the question of which specific components are being referred to and how they explain consumer software piracy in the virtual knowledge-sharing community. This question is particularly unaddressed for those consumers who take the risks associated with piracy believing their acts to be taking from the haves (software producers) and giving to the have-nots. The paper aims to discuss this issue.
– In this research, the authors propose a synergistic model that adopts the perspective of heroism and social exchange, and test it with the data collected from a virtual community. To test the proposed research model, the authors investigated 489 subjects and examined the hypotheses by applying the partial least squares method.
– The findings show that the heroism construct has significant influence on sharing behavior in relation to cost factors, but not to benefit factors. Heroism stands out as the major construct in explaining sharing behavior. Thus, the research shows that the consumer software piracy present in the virtual knowledge-sharing community is a social behavior of exchange.
– Methodologically, the study proposes a new model for researchers and practitioners to understand consumer software piracy in the virtual community. Managerially, software producers should take it into consideration when formulating their product-pricing strategy, to ensure that software producers and the young can both win in the “buy or steal” war.