ERIC Number: EJ792175
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr-4
Reference Count: 0
Judge Rules Plagiarism-Detection Tool Falls under "Fair Use"
Young, Jeffrey R.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n30 pA13 Apr 2008
Judge Claude M. Hilton, of the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, in March found that scanning the student papers for the purpose of detecting plagiarism is a "highly transformative" use that falls under the fair-use provision of copyright law. He ruled that the company "makes no use of any work's particular expressive or creative content beyond the limited use of comparison with other works," and that the new use "provides a substantial public benefit." The case has been closely watched by the thousands of colleges who use the plagiarism-detection tool, called Turnitin, as well as by opponents of the service, who hope to prevent professors from becoming anti-cheating police. In March 2007, four high-school students--two in Virginia and two in Arizona--sued iParadigms, the company that runs Turnitin, arguing that the company took their papers against their will and profited from using them. The students' high schools required papers to be checked for plagiarism using Turnitin, and the service automatically adds scanned papers to its database. The company boasts about the size of its database as a selling point, and colleges pay thousands of dollars a year to use it. The students sought $900,000 as compensation for six papers they had submitted.
Descriptors: Judges, Plagiarism, Copyrights, Laws, Court Litigation, Computer Software, High School Students, Research Papers (Students), Databases, Compensation (Remuneration), Higher Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A