A 1991 survey found that a large proportion of accounting students pirate software. Since 1991, however, the rate of software piracy within the United States has decreased. Using the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), this paper analyzes whether the frequency and the underlying antecedents of software piracy also have changed among accounting students. The results indicate that students' understanding and knowledge of copyright laws have increased, but this knowledge has not influenced software piracy rates.
This paper also investigates respondents' willingness to answer honestly questions dealing with software piracy. The randomized response technique allows for an evaluation of the honesty of responses to a sensitive question (i.e., software theft). In contrast to other ethics issues about which individuals have been found to be dishonest, the results indicate that participants honestly answered most questions about their piracy behavior.