Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies

First Advisor

Kevin I. Minor

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies


In the year 1999 Napster, a provider of music downloading software, broke news headlines around the world when copyright infringement lawsuits were filed against the company. Ever since then internet music piracy has been a very controversial topic and a target for criminalization efforts. In the field of criminology there have been few attempts to apply theory to the topic of internet music piracy. Theorization of internet music piracy has mainly focused on the illegal behavior of music piracy, explaining the motivations and knowledge behind it. Something that has been neglected in theoretical work of online music piracy is its criminalization. This thesis topic is significant in that it is a theoretical application test of Donald Black's newest theory, Moral Time. Black, a sociologist from the University of Virginia, who is well known for his works The Behavior of Law and Sociological Justice introduced this new theory in 2011. The Moral Time theory is a theory of why conflicts occur and why some conflicts are worse than others. Using this theory, four key stages of criminalization efforts taken by the music industry are examined and elaborated upon as a means to identify why the music industry chose to take the actions it did against online music piracy.