Too Much Free Time

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
plagiarism, universities

University Report On Dealing With Plagiarism... Plagiarized!

from the how-about-that... dept

Been meaning to write this one up for a bit, and finally got to it. Michael Scott points us to an amusing story about how Southern Illinois University was dealing with some plagiarism problems and decided to put out a report on how to deal with plagiarism. That report included a nice description of plagiarism that turned out to be (you guessed it) plagiarized. Hopefully that makes Southern Illinois University rethink its position on plagiarism... but that seems unlikely.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    bob, Feb 16th, 2009 @ 10:31pm

    Sung by Tom

    Plagiarize, let no ones work evade your eyes, Plagiarize, Plagiarize, Plagiarize.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Jasen (profile), Feb 16th, 2009 @ 10:40pm


    Do as I say and not as I do. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Nathan, Feb 16th, 2009 @ 10:58pm

    Re: Sung by Tom

    Wonderful Tom Lehrer reference. Now lets go poison some pigeons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Charlie Potatoes, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 12:38am


    I write essays, theses, and dissertations for the well-heeled under-achievers on our university campuses. The paper I write is licensed to my customers with me retaining copyright. When their reader or professor runs that paper through a program such as turnitin, the website keeps a copy of my work in their database, to compare other papers against. They profit from my work, and refuse to compensate me. The professors are a party to this action. I think the professors and university readers should sweep around their own back door and check up on what constitutes fair use of a student's paper.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Tony Law, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 2:21am

    When is plagiarism not plagiarism? When it's referenced.

    We use other people's sources all the time. I tell my own university students that when it's acknowledged, especially in the academic world, it's citation. When it isn't acknowledged, it's plagiarism.

    When it's quoted in a public document without permission, there may be a copyright issue: but that's a quite separate argument!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 6:47am

    Charles, it is hard for you to take the high road when your business helps people cheat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Phillip, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re: Sung by Tom

    I would, but not on National Brotherhood Week

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Your Gawd and Master, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 7:19am

    Re: Turnitin

    Sorry're wrong. Storing a copy in their database is not "them profiting from your work". I know you probably have some convoluted method of explaining that it is but the simple fact of the matter is that they aren't selling your work, they're not distributing your work and they're not claiming copyright on your work. Instead they're analyzing your work to see how the sentence and paragraph structures flow and then comparing that to other papers.

    If you were to try to test your theory you're going to find that their programs are essentially making a commentary or report about your papers, putting it under fair use. That will contain the word count, sentence count, an analysis of your paper using synonyms, etc. and you'll find you wasted a lot of time and energy on nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    nasch, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Re: Turnitin

    You're complaining about how you're getting cheated by a for-profit company as you help others cheat for profit? Wow. You don't have the moral high ground on this one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Paul Brinker, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 9:21am

    Thay are profiting from student work

    you realise there keeping a perfect copy of the paper, not some reworking, that way if you submit the same paper agin it comes up with a 100% this paper is in our database.

    There entire bussiness model is based on schools giving them papers, making a perfect copy and then checking there mass database of papers for copys both small phrases to entire papers.

    The worst part is that in some schools, students are REQUIRED to have there work put into this database as part of an english class. This is because the company has lobyed schools to use there service, expanding the database, and making the cycle continue.

    Just because there not selling the papers does not mean there not making a profit from your work. Because thay are selling access to there database of papers which now includes your paper.

    Really we (students) just want to be able to remove out papers from the database. Right now the only way to do that is a lawsuit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Sean, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Turnitin

    Well, they are making money off of his work and he sees none of the money, so I'm sure you can understand his position.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Patrick, Feb 17th, 2009 @ 4:09pm

    Between this, the University's president get caught failing to cite work used in his dissertation and various other scandals, I am sad to say Southern Illinois University is my alma mater.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2009 @ 12:32am

    Re: hmmm

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Michael Talpas (profile), Mar 12th, 2009 @ 11:33am

    Report on plagiarism...plagiarized!

    I laughed for a solid ten minutes after reading this headline! It reminds me of past headlines that newspapers have used, and it just seemed like such a hilarious statement.

    Though, upon reading what the article actually said, it wasn't as funny. Still funny, but not as funny as I thought. What I thought, was that the report had been plagiarized, which as you can see, is hilarious. But, the fact that the report on plagiarism committed plagiarism is also funny.

    Good headline choice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.