Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but plagiarism is unbecoming and becoming worse. A company called iParadigms decided to offer plagiarism protection services to high schools and colleges. The way it works is that participating schools submit student papers through the website TurnItIn.com. The work is then compared with other works on the internet, commercial databases, and TurnItIn’s own ever expanding archive of submitted papers. Several students copyrighted their papers before turning them in and then objected to them becoming part of the archives. After their papers were archived anyway, the students sued. The Court held that even though iParadigms makes a profit, it provides a substantial public benefit and, because of the fair use exception, does not violate the copyright law. So TurnItIn has survived and if you plan to plagiarize, it may be time to take a u-turn. Since if you turn it in, TurnItIn will turn you in return.
THIS IS NEIL CHAYET LOOKING AT THE LAW™
A.V. v. iParadigms LLC, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 08-1424, April 16, 2009, Traxler, J., U.S. Law Week, Vol. 77, No. 42, Pg. 1664, 5-5-09