ERIC Number: EJ763157
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May-9
Reference Count: N/A
Online Anti-Plagiarism Service Sets off Court Fight
Robelen, Erik W.
Education Week, v26 n36 p1, 16-17 May 2007
As educators grapple with how best to combat plagiarism in the Internet age, several high school students are suing a company that many districts and schools have hired to help them reduce such cheating. The lawsuit alleges that the company is violating the high school students' rights under U.S. copyright law. The lawsuit was filed by four unnamed students, two from McLean High School in Virginia and two from a high school in Arizona. It was originally filed March 27, and was amended April 9. The starting point for the Turnitin "plagiarism prevention" program is an assignment's submission to the Web site by a student or teacher. Within 24 hours, the company sends the teacher an "originality report," based on what the company says is a search of billions of pages from current and archived items on the Internet, millions of student papers submitted to Turnitin, and commercial databases of journal articles and periodicals. The students are required by their schools to submit some essays to Turnitin.com, a Web-based service that compares the documents against a massive internal database and other sources to look for signs of plagiarism. It then places the student works in an electronic archive. In this article, the author presents some of the legal arguments presented by legal experts and educators about whether a service that screens student papers for plagiarism and stores them in a computerized database is academically advisable and legally acceptable. The legal action comes amid widespread concern among educators on how to address plagiarism as students can, with minimal effort, access a wealth of information and writing on the Internet and present it as their own work or without proper citation of sources. A study released last fall by the Josephson Institute of Ethics found that among more than 36,000 high school students surveyed, 60 percent said they had cheated on a test in the past year. One in three said they had used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; Virginia