MODERN DAY PINNOCHIO’S: THE INSIDES COOPONINTERNET PLAGIARISM

MODERN DAY PINNOCHIO’S: THE INSIDES COOPONINTERNET PLAGIARISM

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MODERN DAY PINNOCHIO’S: THE INSIDES COOPONINTERNET PLAGIARISM

I am one of those people, you know the ones; they spend five weeks on a term paper writing twenty different introductions (this is number twelve), seven conclusions, and finally after going through fifteen drafts, turns in the final copy. Yup, that is me. Dedicated; That is how I would describe myself. I take pride in my work, and that is why I get so angry about fraud, plagiarism, and general laziness. These things make me irate and it doesn’t seem like it will be getting better any time soon. Unfortunately, we live in a point and click society and plagiarism is becoming easier and easier because of the Internet. Copyright fraud is becoming a very big issue, companies like Napster have been getting much publicity because artists and writers have spent many hours creating their product and they see the injustice in it being stolen. Without a doubt this is becoming an epidemic that it seems we won’t be seeing an end to anytime soon.

So, what began the era of plagiarism? Many people blame the Internet for giving the public free access to that one precious commodity--information. However, it is clear that plagiarism existed long before documents were posted on the World Wide Web. Since the advent of the Internet it has became easier to falsify credit for works, however it has been happening for years. Some people claim that Aesop never really wrote those fables, and others claim that William Shakespeare’s sister, Elizabeth, was the mastermind behind his great dramatic works. From this it becomes clear that fraud is no new issue, however, the increased frequency is something to ponder. It is my belief that the amount of plagiarism has increased due to the Internet and the accessibility of such a vast amount of information. Let me show you just how easy it is to get a complete term paper on any subject off the net.

While looking for information on Google (www.google.com), a popular Internet search engine, I ran across several paper mills. These sights boast of having reputable resources and fantastic papers. One such sight called The Paper Geeks sells term papers for only $9.85 per page. This sight claims to have been in business since 1994 and they also claim to have a paper on every topic imaginable.

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Think about how drastic this is... people writing papers; good papers, and selling them complete with a bibliography. How could any professor recognize that the paper turned in was not the work of the student? These papers are not openly posted on the Internet, so there is no way to know if the research is genuine or borrowed. The theory behind this dishonesty bothers me, and what bothers me even more is the money. At least someone other than the consumer is profiting from this blatant fraud. However, why should someone log onto a paper mill and pay around eighty dollars for a paper that they could copy and paste from any other web site?

As Benson Wong points out in his 1998 Internet article Plagiarism: Greatest Form of Flattery?, web masters toil for long hours to create a web site that is fortified with facts and pumped up with resources. Imagine that you are one of these individuals. You build a web site that boasts some extremely accurate pretty valuable information only to find it on someone else’s web site days later. Or better yet; you are a college professor. You have several web sites set up to help your students or to share your research with the public. After a series of term papers are turned in you are looking them over, diligently noting the mastery of each only to discover that a student has used your own work in his paper and called it his own. While it is obvious that the information and facts on the web are public domain, stealing is still stealing! Clearly, this is not acceptable.

According to a study done by Who’s Who Among American High School Students in reference to cheating and plagiarism eighty percent of American high school students who are college-bound admit to falsifying their schoolwork (Turnitin 1). At the Center for Academic Integrity a survey was taken, the results showed that four out of five college
students have admitted to cheating at a post-secondary level (Turnitin 1). As the information indicates, there is virtually no change between the two age levels. To me, this shows that once a cheater, always a cheater.

Plagiarism has become such a huge deal that it has been called an epidemic by many. According to the Gallup organization its respondents consider an ethical decline and educational crisis to be the top two problems in America today (Turnitin 2). So what can we do to combat this problem? What can we do to fight back when it comes to Internet
crime? The answers to these questions have been eluding people for ages, but thankfully a solution is finally presenting itself. It’s name... Plagiarism.org. Plagiarism.org has been formed as a way to combat plagiarism. It has been made available to assist educators in recognizing plagiarism at all levels. To use it, all you have to do is download the paper onto their site and within twenty-four hours Plagiarism.org will reply and tell you how much, if any parts of the paper were copied direct text (Turnitin 2). Plagiarism.org has been getting all kinds of great reviews. Jon Carroll of the San
Francisco Chronicle was quoted in November calling the site “a godsend” (Turnitin 4). In fact, no one seems disappointed in this new technology. I for one praise the efforts of the sites creators.

I think that it is obvious that Internet fraud is a large problem and one that will not end with out a little support. I, for one, will do anything within my power to shut down sites like Paper Geeks. Yup, I am one of those people who will go to lengths for what is right and who will go to lengths to fight what is wrong. Hands down, without a doubt, no questions asked, plagiarism is exactly that...wrong.

SOURCES
B. Wong, Plagiarism: The Greatest Form of Flattery?Dance Net. (March 10, 1998). Available:<http://www.havetodance.com/articles/news15.html> 3 pages.

What is Plagiarism? Turnitin. (1999). Available:<http://www.plagiarism.org> 15 pages
Paper Geeks (1994).Available:<http://www.papergeeks.com>
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