Who owns the copyright to homework?

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Who owns the copyright to homework?



[url=http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6432624.html]Virginia Students Sue Turnitin.com for Copyright Violation[/url]


Two high school students in McLean, VA, have filed suit in Alexandria against Turnitin.com, the popular anti-plagiarism software, charging that the service is partly based on a violation of copyright law. They seek as much as $900,000 in damages. The students claim that the software operates by archiving submitted papers, then crosschecking submissions against its archive for similarities that could indicate plagiarism. Without permission, however, that archiving constitutes unauthorized copying, the plaintiffs claim. Some experts think the students have a solid case. "Wholesale copying by Turnitin seems to be pretty egregious infringement," observed New York University cultural historian and copyright expert Siva Vaidhyanathan on his blog Sivacracy. Turnitin is reportedly used by 6000 institutions in 90 countries.

Apparently the program used by a lot of Canadian schools allows students to decide if they’d like their work archived, or not.

Here is a [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=27&t=000253]r... thread.[/url]

[ 16 April 2007: Message edited by: jrose ]

Le T Le T's picture

I agree with the students case but I wonder how they calculated the $900,000. If that is how much the company has made off the papers of only two students how much does this company bring in per year?


While I agree,

The thing is though,

There's rampant plagiarism at the undergraduate level. It really sucks in classes that are graded on a curve. I'm not sure how much turnitin.com helps though to combat that plagiarism.

Here was a newspaper article I recall reading on the subject... three years ago

[url=http://media.www.mcgilltribune.com/media/storage/paper234/news/2004/11/0... Tribune[/url]

[ 16 April 2007: Message edited by: 500_Apples ]

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

There are two kinds of plagiarism. The first is plagiarism from not citing sources. This could be partial, as in forgetting to put a citation where one is needed, or complete, as in a paper with no bbliography, or no cited sources period. Turnitin will most likely catch this kind of plagiarism.

The second type of plagiarism is taking an essay written by someone else and passing it off as ones own work. Turnitin will only catch this kind of plagiarism if said paper is available online. If the paper is not available online, turnitin will not catch this kind of plagiarism.

According to our Records Management instructor, there is rampant plagiarism of the second variety, and much of it goes undetected. There is a thriving business of what are known as paper mills. According to our instructor, there are three of them just in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver. These paper mills act in conjunction with professors, and their actions are not illegal.

Here's an example of what will happen. An English professor at UBC takes an A paper on say, Hamlet, and gives it to a paper mill in Kitsilano. The paper mill agrees to give the professor a 5% cut of all money derived from the sale of said paper. The paper mill then sells this paper to a student in need of a paper on Hamlet. The paper mill is careful not to sell this paper to another UBC student, or to any student in BC for that matter, as they want to ensure that the paper does not wind up in the hands of any professor who has already seen this paper. So the paper mill may sell it to a student in Virginia, and a Student in Texas, making sure to keep track of where they've sold this paper, so they don't sell two copies to the same geographic location.

Once a professor gets away with this once, there is all the more chance they will do it again.

And as I said, there is nothing illegal about this. If a student submitting a paper from a paper mill were caught, they would face whatever disciplinary actions the institution they attend gives out. If the professor who submits gives the paper to the paper mill is caught, they may face disciplinary action, up to and including losing their job. Or the administration of the University may decide to look the other way, as I understand they often do.

Of course, because paper mills are not illegal, no action can be taken against any paper mills that are uncovered. Which leads many colleges and universities to turn a blind eye to professors who submit A level papers to paper mills. For whie a professor caught in the act can be fired, nothing can be done to shut down the paper mill, and thus nothing can be done to prevent other professors from engaging in such behaviour.

The other shocking thing is that if your paper has been submitted to a paper mill by your instructor, you almost certainly don't know about it. Which means that somewhere, a student may be submitting a copy of a paper you wrote, and you will never know.

[ 16 April 2007: Message edited by: Left Turn ]