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TurnItIn.com


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This is old news but still deserves a mention. In case you haven’t been a student in awhile TurnItIn is a service for educational institutions. They make it compulsive for students to allow their paper to be submitted to Turnitin or receive a failing grade of 0.

The service, a profit entity, operates by archiving student papers to detect plagiarism and since students aren’t compensated, some feel it’s a copyright/privacy violation.

This is a classic case of undue influence to coerce students into involuntarily ceding their intellectual property rights–under duress–to a profiteering, corporate giant. The corporate giant (Turnitin) prosper to the tune of $20,000,000-$160,000,000 in revenue per year off the backs of MINORS, while the students do not get a PENNY in compensation for their time, resources, or documents that Turnitin monetizes without students’ willing permission. What Turnitin and the school are doing to the kids is nothing short of indentured servitude!

Turnitin had revenue of $10,000,000 in 2003. The owner of Turnitin, John Barrie, recently admitted (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2007/tc20070313_733103.htm) that Turnitin’s membership has DOUBLED every 12 months since 2003.

2003 = $10,000,000
2004 = $20,000,000
2005 = $40,000,000
2006 = $80,000,000
2007 = $160,000,000
2008 = $320,000,000?

Student compensation since 2003 = $0

Turnitin also commits copyright infringement by emailing students’ intellectual property to third parties. Proof, you ask? Go to the following URL to read about a professor’s first-hand experiment with the Turnitin system. The results of the experiment provide undeniable proof that Turnitin emails complete, word-for-word copies of students’ papers to third parties around the world (without students’ permission):

http://www.mikesmit.com/page.php?id=23

Yes, the McLean students properly registered their copyrights with the Copyright Office long before filing the lawsuit. Their papers also included clear disclaimers warning Turnitin not to index the papers. Turnitin blatantly ignored the disclaimers, and now Turnitin will pay, both literally and figuratively.

For the record, the DMCA set the penalty at $150,000 per violation (paper), not the attorneys..

Hmm, let me see, students can either agree to be violated, or they can CHOOSE to get an “F” on every paper or “find another school.” Great options, eh! Lets hope the pending lawsuit against TurnItIn goes well for the plaintiff.

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