Two McLean High School students have launched a court challenge against a California company [Turnitin.com] hired by their school to catch cheaters, claiming the anti-plagiarism service violates copyright laws.
Well, duh. If a company earns a tidy profit largely off the uncompensated labor of students, some of those students are bound to object. I’ll make three brief observations:
- Writing assignments that are easily fulfilled through plagiarism are not good assignments.
- The software that runs the for-profit Turnitin.com site can’t be that complicated. Surely a university (or a consortium of universities) could create a free, open-source program that does the same thing.
- Creators do not need to give up copyright in order to allow others to make use of their material. There are ways around our increasingly illogical copyright laws.