Student work

I try to avoid posting about work and work related matters but the following has come to my attention (weeks late but never mind).  SOme students are suing an anti-plagiarism website.  These sitesare quite commonly used to identify instances of plagiarism by students in the ever-increasing volume of assessed coursework. An essay is submitted to the site checked against its database of retained essays and given a plagiarism rating (from green to red (ie this person is a shyster).  The sites are dependent on chronology meaning that one colleague who submitted an article for a staff seminar to illustrate how it operated discovered that his article was code red because a student in another University had submitted virtually all of the article in an assessed essay previously submitted to the site.   A key element in the efficacy of the site is the retention of submitted essays, which are then used as plagiarism checks for future work.  This has been done without permission in the case referred to above and the students are suing for 900,000 dollars.  As we say in exam questions: Critically discuss.

About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
This entry was posted in copyright, plagiarism, students, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Student work

  1. thunderbox says:

    The students are the authors of the work, have not assigned rights elsewhere were not ‘work for hire’ (the students pay the university to be educated for heaven’s sake) and therefore own the copyright.
    The teachers who uploaded the works weren’t authorised by the copyright holders to do so, turnitin isn’t authorised by the copyright holders to make use of their work in this way.
    I appreciate that as a mere ‘recovering journalist’ I’m in the presence of much greater expertise here, but is there even anything to discuss?

    • I don’t disagree – although the damages seem a little out of kilter. You wouldn’t get that sort of money in Scotland even if they’d alleged you were into attending swinging parties, drank champagne, and were a serial adulterer πŸ˜‰
      In my own institution the students who submit essays for this software sign (on submission) a licence allowing the work to be uploaded to, and retained by, the website. As all students have to formally submit their work the incorporation of this in the submission documentation – flagged up from the start of the course – deals with the problem. How an institution can get caught up in the mess referred to in the article is beyond me.

      • nmg says:

        I believe that we here in Southampton require our students to sign something similar (probably the same document that requires them to assert that the work is all their own).
        I note that the JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service issues the following FAQ, which slightly misses the point:

        Turnitin: Who owns the copyright to the work I have submitted?
        The copyright for such content will continue to reside with either yourself or your institution; whichever is currently the case. The service will help to protect your work from future plagiarism and thereby help maintain the integrity of any qualification you receive.

      • shaz_rte says:

        That’s the arrangement where I work — students have to sign a declaration to say it’s all their own work and that the work can be uploaded to Turnitin. I’d assumed that was the arrangement elsewhere as well.

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