Students, and Intellectual Property Rights

I have to admit that I found this Washington Post story intriguing.

I’ve long known about Turnitin.com, a site where some schools make it mandatory for student papers to be processed through for plagiarism. They have a database of something like 22 million papers they can check student work against for plagiarism.

What I didn’t know is that the student papers processed through the system also get copied into the system, and part of the detection database. Hmmm. Did anyone ask the students, the authors, if their papers could be used in this way?

I need to learn more about this– the lawyers appear to believe that the system doesn’t violate student rights, but it’s not made clear in the article how that was determined. I feel that plagiarism is a problem we’ll always need to deal with, but I’m impressed that the students in a “mandatory review” program are asking about their rights.

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