Though the pilot study used in this thesis was small and not representative of any large group of individuals, the results from this pilot study should be taken seriously. The results show while there are some individuals who refuse to engage in online music piracy, there are individuals who are educated, know the laws, and yet still choose to engage in online music piracy. This study was strengthened by the use of the DIT as a proven tool, which allowed for the measuring of degrees of each participant’s beliefs and perceptions, rather than simple yes or no answers. The use of focus groups also allowed the pilot study used in this research to collect personal statements and answers from its participants, which can further assist readers in gathering a better perspective on exactly why some individuals choose to engage in online music piracy, while others do not.
At the time this thesis was completed, the RIAA was continuing its battle against online music piracy by filing hundreds of John Doe subpoenas, requesting the personal information of individuals suspected of engaging in online music piracy. While a news report touting the filing of four hundred or more subpoenas sounds substantial, there are at least one hundred times as many people engaging in online music piracy who are not sued. And what is to say individuals who are sued and eventually settle those lawsuits with the recording industry will never again engage in online music piracy? As stated by a few of the student participants in this pilot study, it appears the RIAA is fighting a losing battle by attempting to use lawsuits to combat piracy.
The RIAA has every right to attempt to protect its interest and the interests of its members, but its approach might not be the best way to go about doing this. While the author of this thesis certainly understands sales and profits drive the industry, the author also understands it is difficult to achieve either of these without customers who are willing to purchase goods. But, although customers may have a legitimate complaint against the costs of merchandise, the author of this thesis believes these complaints in no way justify engaging in illegal activities, such as file sharing of copyrighted music online.
The recording industry might be better served looking at the software industry and the way it has combated piracy. Although piracy certainly remains a problem in the software industry, companies have found ways to combat piracy and still return a profit. Software companies report loses due to piracy, yet they also take many preventative methods to make it more difficult for users to pirate software. The recording industry should look at some of the preventative tactics being used by software companies, while attempting to continue their battle against online music piracy.