by Jeff Pietsch

In April 2009, the Fourth Circuit upheld a summary judgment granted in favor of an online technology system designed to prevent plagiarism in a copyright infringement action. (A.V. v. iParadigms, L.L.C., (4th Cir. Apr. 16, 2009)). The plaintiffs, four high school students who were required to use the system by their schools, sued iParadigms’ for using their written works through the company’s “Turnitin Plagiarism Detection Service.” The plaintiffs argued that Turnitin’s archiving of the students’ works in its system constituted a violation of their copyrights under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §101 et seq. The court, however, disagreed with this assessment and ruled that the archiving of students’ works falls under the fair use doctrine, which allows the use of copyrighted works for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

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