The BBC reports that the Plagiarism Advisory Service, based at Northumbria University is displaying a new service at a conference in Newcastle. It is promoting software developed in the US that detects whether students’ work is original by comparing it with the contents of four databases, which include the contents of many webpages and previously submitted student essays. The PAS has identified a need for its service, claiming that in a survey of 350 students which it carried out, 25% of those admitted to copying text from other sources.
The IPKat hopes that the PAS has sought permission from the authors of the webpages and previously submitted student essays to include them in its databases, otherwise it too could be guilty of copyright infringement.
UPDATE: The PAS tells us that it has received confirmation from the software developers, iParadigm that
"We adhere to the principles outlined at http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/exclusion.html and more specifically those outlined in the RFC document http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/norobots-rfc.html. This is the defacto standard for all major crawlers, i.e., Google, Alltheweb,Microsoft, etc."The IPKat took a look at these. Basically what it seems to say is that websites can get themselves excluded if they set up a file to that effect.
More copycats here, here and here