Essay on Turnitin: Hypocrisy of Its Own

1277 Words Dec 31st, 2010 6 Pages
Over the centuries, teachers and professors all have had a problem with academic dishonesty. The advancement in technology has made plagiarizing so much easier, and because of this, many professors have resorted to using software programs which detects any sort of plagiarism. One popular program many professors are enforcing their students to use is Turnitin.com. When a paper is submitted into Turnitin, the program compares it to previous submitted essays saved in its database and the content available on the internet. However, in recent years, there has been much controversy between the ethics of Turnitin and student’s rights. According to Merriam-Webster, plagiarizing is defined as, “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of …show more content…
As soon as a student submits an electronic copy of their work, the website compares it with resources found online and files from its extensive database and produces an originality report. Teachers believe that anti-plagiarizing software programs such as Turnitin is a way to deter and, possibly, catch students if they plagiarized
Conversely, Turnitin is a major contradiction itself. In Bill Walsh’s article, “Expect, but Respect, Original Work by Students,” he points out the hypocrisy of Turnitin lies in what it is presumably trying to prevent and teach. He states that Turnitin, “is actually infringing on the students’ intellectual property, making money from it, and violating the very copyright laws Turnitin is supposed to be protecting” (Walsh 568). Every time a paper is submitted into Turnitin, the student unknowingly fuels its database and helps the website run more efficiently. In order to make a database, Turnitin has to save a copy of the student’s intellectual work; if the student has not given authorization, then Turnitin, hypocritically, is potentially violating copyright infringement laws. Without the extensive database of submitted papers, Turnitin will be merely just a simple search engine such as Google. Every single paper that is submitted to the site gets added to the database increases the value of their product and what they have to offer. The website asserts complete ownership and access to
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