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Quiring, Oliver; Walter, Benedikt von; Atterer, Richard (2008): Can filesharers be triggered by economic incentives? Results of an experiment. In: New Media & Society, Vol. 10, No. 3: pp. 433-453


Illegal filesharing on the internet leads to considerable financial losses for artists and copyright owners as well as producers and sellers of music. Thus far, measures to contain this phenomenon have been rather restrictive. However, there are still a considerable number of illegal systems, and users are able to decide quite freely between legal and illegal downloads because the latter are still difficult to sanction. Recent economic approaches account for the improved bargaining position of users. They are based on the idea of revenue-splitting between professional sellers and peers. In order to test such an innovative business model, the study reported in this article carried out an experiment with 100 undergraduate students, forming five small peer-to-peer networks.The networks were confronted with different economic conditions.The results indicate that even experienced filesharers hold favourable attitudes towards revenue-splitting.They seem to be willing to adjust their behaviour to different economic conditions.