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Literature Search: Copyright Abuse

Plagiarism has been around for a long time, and has been a dominant problem in academia. The invention and rise to popularity of the internet has only helped to make things worse. With such a wide availability of written content online, it only takes a few clicks to copy someone else's work into your own. In addition to this there are many sites that offer to do the work for you at a price.

Plagiarism is still growing, but there a number of websites and organizations who dedicate their time to exploring the problem, so that solutions can be found. The site developed a number of highly successful anti-plagiarism pieces of software, such as iThenticate and Turnitin. This website also gives a thorough explanation of the problem, its causes and effects, and how people exploit the internet to their advantage. Reports by government agencies and independent agencies alike are also given on the website. Some reports reveal the public and student attitude towards the issue, while also revealing the prevalence of plagiarism in schools and colleges, and the perception of whether people think the problem is being adequately addressed by academic institutions. Authoritative statements are also given from educators and academics, and most reports state how powerless teachers can feel over the issue. This website is surely a force for good, with extensive information on the issue, alongside information and advice on how to make citations properly, develop independent and high quality research, writing skills, and ways to avoid falling into the plagiarism trap.

A website from the Library of Gallaudet University is exemplarily of most universities, and contains policies on the universities guidelines and conduct regarding plagiarism and copyright. Penalties for abuse are outlined, and it also provides rules for reproduction of other peoples' work, and other practical things like how to photocopy. The issue of long distance education is an emerging one, and the TEACH Act sets out the guidelines for distance education with regard to plagiarism. The end of the article provides formal definitions for the terms like "fair use", and also goes over US Copyright Law.

Sources like these help to raise awareness and solve the problem. Further ways to solve the problem mean explicit guidance, and from the work of Harris, specific rules and guidelines can be made (Harris, 2004).

  1. Make sure that you set realistic and achievable deadlines. By allowing plenty of time for the students to research and write, you will naturally reduce the eventuality of them resorting to plagiarism.
  2. Structure the students work. If you don't provide them with regular deadlines, then you will have no bearing on their progression and they will be more likely to procrastinate.
  3. Make sure you clearly state the consequences for plagiarism. Most universities will punish heavily for plagiarism, and can even expel students.
  4. An oral report as part of your requirement is a good thing to do. This will reveal the student's methodologies of writing and research. Questions about citations are important, such as reasons for why they used it, and where they found it. Asking to clarify points in the paper ensures that they wrote it themselves.

Once work has been handed, further advice can be used from Harris to help detect cases of plagiarism (Harris ,2004).

  1. There are many pointers for plagiarism, so look out for inconsistent citations and formatting, paragraphs that do not match the style of others, points of material that suddenly go way beyond the scope of the rest of the paper, and other such discrepancies and irregularities in research, style, and language.
  2. Use major search engines to search for copies of exact phrases, of roughly four to six words.
  3. Utilize online plagiarism databases, which can be used to check in the relevant field of study.
  4. Always use up to date, professional detection software.


Harris, R. (2004, November 17). Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers. Retrieved on September 15, 2006, from