The San Jose Mercury News is not a world-class paper. The article has been around for at least four days and maybe more.
May Wong wrote it, and the first line is "White-collar copycats may be less inclined to pilfer"...slap that into your favorite search engine and you will come up with about 416.
The story covers the expansion of plagairism detection technology from high schools and colleges to businesses such as newspapers, magazines, law firms and other writing-heavy fields.
The Washington Post had an excellent article on turnitin.com and plagiarism issues in November 2003:
"If a student is caught cheating, there is this unambiguous evidence," said John Barrie, the founder of Oakland, Calif.-based Turnitin.com. "Instead of asking a student how they came to write a paper so patently beyond their intellectual ability, I could ask, 'Can you explain why 87 percent of this paper is underlined by this program?' "
iParadigms is the parent company of Turnitin.com. The product for businesses is called iThenticate
Turnitin has a lot of interlinked features for catching plagiarism and grading papers, but there is another interesting feature over at CFL software development (at least in respect to young writers' work).
CFL Software Developmentt, has the conventional plagiarism detection services, but seems to have thought about the problem a little bit more--or perhaps they are serving a younger (high-school aged) audience. At any rate, CFL has developed tools to help young writers to learn how work closely with a given text, but not to plagiarize. This is based on a model of the writing process where in "close copying" is a phase writers go though, and need to learn how to develop beyond it:
A more powerful explanation has been offered by Rebecca Howard (1995;1999), who has theorized that source-dependent writing may be an inevitable phase in a writer's development. Much as an inexperienced ice skater clings to the wall of the rink, a novice writer tends closely to follow the language of sources before learning to compose autonomously. Howard has coined the term patchwriting to describe this pre-autonomous writing strategy, to distinguish it from (intentionally deceptive) plagiarism. Patchwriting and plagiarism produce similar texts in different ways; however, universities formally recognize only the latter, and address it punitively, not pedagogically.
MyDropBox doesn't seem to have any services that help younger students--highschool and middle school--learn how to use texts and ideas without plagiarism.
There's an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education from 1999 reviewing the field. Currently, there are:
Here's what I've written previously on plagiarism and cheating in schools:
(there's another post that is lost in the ether)