Democracy and intellectual property: Examining trajectories of software piracy

Nicole Leeper Piquero, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Social scientists interested in criminal activity have generally neglected the topic of democracy, while researchers interested in the topic of democracy have virtually ignored criminal activity. This confluence of neglect has been especially obvious in research on intellectual property (IP) theft. In this study, the authors examine the interrelationship between democracy and IP theft - specifically software piracy. Piracy data from eighty-two countries between the years 1995 and 2000 are used to examine how democratization relates to rates of software piracy. The authors use trajectory methodology to identify distinct offender groups, which vary in their rates of software piracy. The current research has two specific goals: (1) to identify distinct trajectories of software piracy offenders at the international level and (2) to examine how these groups vary according to several measures of democratic strength. The authors hypothesize that more democratic countries (including those that have strong political and civil liberties) will have lower software piracy rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-127
Number of pages24
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Democracy
  • Intellectual property
  • Piracy
  • Trajectory analysis

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