Plagiarism wrong, piracy okay believe many university studentsBy: Rosie Lombardi
IT World Canada (31 Aug 2005)
Many Canadian university students, who would be indignant if someone plagiarized their own work, apparently have no qualms about acquiring and using pirated software, a recent survey reveals.
The Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) that conducted the survey calls this a double standard. But others beg to differ.
Among other things CAAST measured behaviours and attitudes towards software piracy of 3,000 college and university students across Canada. This sample group included 500 students identified as computer science majors. Half the students surveyed admitted to acquiring software without paying for it.
When asked how they would feel if someone plagiarized their work, 87 per cent said it would be a serious issue. Only 40 per cent feel the same about using pirated software.
This apparent disconnect is stronger among computer science students. Eighty-three per cent feel very strongly about someone stealing their own intellectual property, yet nearly two-thirds admit to downloading commercial software from the Internet without paying for it – compared with 46 per cent of students in other fields.
Such views and actions, says a piracy prevention expert, are both skewed and shortsighted.
These students aren’t considering the implications to their own future livelihood, according to Debbi Mayster, communications manager at the Business Software Alliance (BSA), CAAST’s American affiliate. “It means fewer dollars are available to the software industry to put into research and development, and hence [fewer] jobs for software developers, engineers and programmers.”
The survey’s findings are alarming, says Mayster, and indicate a need to change unethical attitudes and behaviours in university students. “These are our future business leaders. We need to raise awareness now, before they enter the business world.”
...NO JOB FOR YOU!