For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Turnitin sued for copyright infringement; Let's party, says the ORG

"In an ironic twist of fate", reads a note from IPWorld, "anti-plagiarism website Turnitin is being sued by high school students for an alleged violation of copyright laws". The action in question arises from Turnitin’s policy of adding student answer sheets to its database as they are checked for plagiarism.

According to the suit, four students obtained a copyright registration for the papers they submitted to Turnitin and requested that their work was not submitted to the site’s database. They then noticed that this request was ignored and filed suit at a US District Court in Alexandria, seeking $900,000 in damages. Although there are exemptions to copyright law for educational purposes the fact that Turnitin is a for-profit company may be its downfall.

In a jurisdiction in which damages are truly compensatory, says the IPKat, $900,000 looks way too high. Merpel, noting that many academic institutions require students to assign copyright or license it as a condition of registration, wonders whether we'll soon see students being regularly required to license the hand-over of all written assignments for plagiarism-check purposes.


Celebrating World Intellectual Property Day early - or perhaps not actually celebrating it all - is the Open Rights Group, which is preparing to party on Wednesday 11 April at Bar Kick, London. This is a chance for ORG supporters to meet one another: each ORG supporter is requested to bring at least one friend who is perceived as being likely to support ORG if he or she knew more about its work. The event will feature “public domain” music, remixed visuals and free culture goodie bags - truly an evening not to be missed. Details of the event and raffle here. The IPKat doesn't know what to say: although the party is not billed as being Bacchinalian, he wonders if it might just be, well, a little ORG-y ...

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