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"Can plagiarism-busting website TurnItIn.com archive complete student papers for use in its detection database? Four high school students claimed copyright infringement, but a federal appeals court says it's just fair use."
Personal aside: My brother is a professor at a local college in the area. He finds this sort of funny business in student's papers at least once every school year. While some of it is easy to find (font, font size, and spacing change throughout the paper), he relies on search engines to check out phrases that seem out of place based on the student's writing. Services like TurnItIn are a valuable resource for educators.
Here is the.effing.librarian's opinion of the broader issue:
For years, librarians have been looking at books and telling people what the book is about: Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863 -- Fiction.
And for years, people, including competing authors, have been able to riffle through these collections of book records, or "card catalogs," to see what other authors are publishing. Visiting the stacks to examine these texts is time-consuming, but librarians have been bypassing the originals materials to make this very valuable and useful information freely available to competitors for years.
You can argue that the nature of cataloging is necessary to libraries; but is it, really?
Do libraries really need to decide in which subject category to classify a book for someone to find it? Can't people just browse through all the books to find what they want?
And worse yet, libraries have been uploading these catalogs onto the Internet, thus making all of this copyrighted material available to anyone with Internet access. Shouldn't authors and publishers be protected from this blatant disregard for their intellectual property rights?
Is this legal?
Sure, you can argue fair use, but really, what is fair? -- Read More