School is hard work. Homework and studying for tests and exams is just the beginning. Students of all ages usually have to write essays and term papers, too. That takes research, planning and time. Sometimes, students take the easy way out and cheat - they buy term papers.
It's fast and easy, but it may also be illegal.
Anything Can Be Found
Copying, cheating and plagiarizing have become easier for many students with the availability of internet companies selling term papers. From a report on Shakespeare's Macbeth to a discussion of Einstein's theory of relativity, chances are you can find a term paper on most subjects.
All Sorts of Services are Available
You can use many of these web sites as part of your research or finding a good topic to write about. You can go a few steps further and:
- Copy and paste materials available on the sites
- Pay someone to custom write a paper for you, or
- Buy a complete term paper or essay
Some of the sites require paying by credit card or online check per term paper. Some require you to submit your own term paper in order to get access to the site - you trade yours for access to other papers.
The Legal Consequences
Whether you sell or buy a term paper, or write a term paper for someone else, you may face legal problems.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship. It can be a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work such as a novel, play, song, software or painting. Copyright law gives the author or owner of a work the right to control use of the work.
Copyright protection begins from the moment a work is created. Unlike patents, copyright protection comes as soon as the work has been created. You don't need to apply or register for protection. If you wish, the work can be registered with the US Copyright Office that allows you to enforce your copyright later.
Copyright infringement is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works covered by the law. The unauthorized use must violate one of the copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce the copyrighted work.
Writers Strike Back
Authors of term papers and essays have used the copyright laws to file class action lawsuits and other lawsuits against web sites that sell the authors' works without the authors' permission. In one famous case, several web sites agreed to pay the authors money damages, and eventually shut down the sites.
In similar suits, courts have even ordered web sites to shut down or not to offer services within the state.
Several states, such as Massachusetts, make it illegal for anyone to prepare or sell term papers or other academic papers for someone else. In 2011, a Massachusetts lawyer placed ads online offering to write term papers for law students for a mere $300. He was suspended from practicing law and was fired from his job as a court clerk.
Academic & Ethical Considerations
Students who buy term papers and turn them in as their own work, or buy and resell a paper, are committing copyright infringement, too, if they don't have the author's permission.
Beyond the potential legal problems, students have academic and ethical responsibilities - to themselves, their classmates and their schools. Students who use someone else's term paper may face stiff penalties at school, including expulsion. More and more schools have rules about buying term papers. There are tools and software teachers and professors can use to see if students have plagiarized their work, too.
In the end, both sides need to be careful. It's always best for students to do their own work, and for term-paper mills to make sure they have the authors' permission before selling their term papers.
Questions for Your Attorney
- I think my paper was published without my permission. Can I file a lawsuit?
- Will I get sued for copyright infringement if I use a paper I found on one of these sites if the site didn't have permission to post it?
- Does expulsion from school stay on a student's permanent record?
Copyright is a universal law created to protect authors’ of original creations’.It promotes the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries’.( U.S Constitution, Article 1, Section 8). It grants the authors’ exclusive ownership and legally allows them to deny others the privilege of using their works. Copyright can be placed on anything in tangible medium such as; literary, artistic, dramatic or architectural works, however, it doesn’t cover material in the public domain. It was first introduced in 1790, although most creations before the twentieth century were not copyrighted. The basic length of copyright is determined by adding seventy years onto the lifespan of the author. It cannot be renewed. This essay will focus on three main aspects of Internet Copyright. Firstly, it will discuss existing copyright laws, secondly it will analyse copyright infringements on these laws and finally it will discuss the importance of knowing and understanding copyright.
Copyright laws on the Internet differ in each country but they tend to cover the same principles. The act of Fair Dealing allows people to use a part of an original document without the permission of the author, however, the author of the original work and the source from which it originated must be cited. It must be a reasonable amount used only for research, teaching, criticism or comment with no financial gain. In the case of copying pictures or photographs, permission from the owner must always be sought with the exception of four things; it is owned by the government, was published before 1922 and registered at a Copyright office, advertised as free or in the public domain. The failure to comply by these regulations is known as plagairism. Laws relating to software are very simple. One copy of the program is allowed to be stored on a computer and one back up disc can be made, any more copies made or distributed are illegal and referred to as software piracy. Profit made by registering other peoples’ trademarks as one’s own is called Cyber squatting and although not as easy or as common anymore, it is still illegal. These laws protect original work and present businesses with the opportunity of advancement. They allow the public to use or view works within limits and are a small requirement for the vast amount of information available on the internet.
Infringements on Copyright, although being a federal offence, are common practices on the internet Software piracy is a worldwide problem. “Software companies are launching more and more lawsuits against major infractors”.( Webopedia, 2003, p. 1) Software is easy to duplicate therefore making it vulnerable to infringement. Share ware attempts to lower piracy by encouraging users to supply others’ with copies in the hope that they will enjoy it enough to buy the full version or pay a small monthly fee directly to the author. Illegally copying software doesn’t just affect the company but the user as well as they receive no documentation, customer support or update information on products. Piracy diminishes the worth of a program and proves difficult for small companies to stay in business. Cyber squatting is in illegal practice, common around the time of the birth of the Internet. Businesses were unaware of the Internets’ potential so people thought registering a well known trademark and waiting until the rightful owner realized the internets power would be profitable as they could sell the domain name back to the rightful owner . Panasonic, Avon and Hertz were all victims of cyber squatting. Today, the importance of having a domain name is common knowledge thus diminishing the number of cyber squatters rapidly. Plagairism is the most common illegal practice on the internet. Plagairism is very easy to do but doesn’t come without its’ consequences. Plagairisers are easily found on the internet with search engines, enabling authors to locate improper copies of their work and rightly prosecuting the offender/s. Plagairism also includes forwarding an email in which the intnded use has been altered.Students found to commit any of these face lowered marks, failure and even expulsion from schools. Infringement on Copyright is a violation of the law and property rights of the authors and deprives them of due credit of their hard work and efforts and can evolve into a costly court case.
It is of paramount importance to know and understand the laws of copyright. Abiding by the rules can literally save people millions of dollars. Copyright is a protection act and to defy it is to defy others the right to display their work and to receive credit on their achievements. As mentioned earlier, knowing these laws can be the difference beween passing a course or being diqualified. It is an incentive for students and the general population to create something original and share it with the rest of the world.
Most importantly knowing and understanding these laws enables the system to run smoother and creates space for people to better their work.
Internet Copyright is a valued law which is not taken seriously enough. Infringing Copyright is unfair on everybody. It inhibits innovation, diminishes the value of an artists’work, makes it harder on businesses and dissolves the credit to artists for their hard work, time and effort to produce work which is there for everyone to enjoy. Stronger laws and penalties will have to be introduced if Copyright infringement is going to lower or stop. Cd and DVD burners on the market and in computers contradict the regulations of copyright, almost making it legal to defy it. Why buy a product when it can be produced for a tenth of the cost? Why not copy information from the internet- who is going to find out? The internet is the biggest threat to copyright and with these unresolved issues its’ future appears unsuccessful.
You can also order a unique custom essay, term paper, thesis, dissertation or research paper on copyright from our professional custom paper writing service which provides top-quality custom papers.
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