Intellectual Property Law Compliance in Europe: Illegal File Sharing and the Role of Social Norms

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The current study empirically demonstrates the widely discussed gap between copyright law and social norms. Theoretically founded in the sociology of law, the study uses a well-defined concept of norms to quantitatively measure changes in the strength of social norms before and after the implementation of legislation. The ‘IPRED law’ was implemented in Sweden on 1 April 2009, as a result of the EU IPR Enforcement Directive 2004/48/EC. It aims at enforcing copyright, as well as other IP rights, when they are violated, especially online. A survey was conducted three months before the IPRED law came into force, and it was repeated six months later. The approximately one thousand respondents between fifteen and twenty-five years-of-age showed, among other things, that although actual file-sharing behaviour had to some extent decreased in frequency, social norms remained unaffected by the law.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society


  • law and society, law, IPR enforcement directive, internet, intellectual property, file sharing, copyright, Enforcement, social norms, sociology of law
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1147-1163
JournalNew Media & Society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch

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