Piracy and Innovation in the Media Industries: An Institutional Perspective
Digital piracy is a much-discussed subject in both research and society. Industry representatives stress the harm that copyright infringement does, while research shows that piracy has a positive effect on innovation. This thesis examines how different institutions influence the legitimacy of organizations associated with piracy and how this affects those organizations’ ability to inspire innovation. The qualitative approach of this thesis allows for an in-depth exploration of the subject in all its facets, and in particular its cultural dimensions. Through the notion of institutional complexity, two case studies serve to identify, first, the institutional forces involved when it comes to piracy and second, how organizations respond to those forces. This thesis shows that the institutional complexity that characterizes piracy calls attention to taken-for-granted practices and structures in media industries and provides an alternative by responding to consumers’ preferences. In this sense, piracy functions as a force of innovation.
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