Understanding the intentions behind illegal downloading: A comparative study of American and Korean college students

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2015


The purpose of this study is to examine what factors predict college students’ intentions to download digital content through unauthorized peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing sites. This study also attempts to explore how cultural contexts are related to those intentions among college students in the US and Korea. Consistent with previous studies using the theory of planned behavior (TPB), the current study using survey data shows that the theory can predict people’s behavioral intentions in the context of illegal downloading. However, across three different types of variables for predicting intention to download digital content through unauthorized P2P sites (i.e. social psychological variables, TPB variables, and expanded TPB variables), several significant differences were revealed between American and Korean students. The findings show that cultural differences may play an important role with regard to people’s intentions to engage in illegal downloading.