Monday, December 20, 2004

Copyscape Designed to Track Plagiarism Online, But Opens the Door for More Uses

A very handy new tool called Copyscape has been announced is making its debut, an online site that allows you to plug in a given URL and follow who's been pinching your prose in the online world. This bone-simple lookup service is bait for a questionnaire that probes what people would be willing to pay for an alerts service based on this technology. Notably also, though, the service comes with a small banner that can be embedded in a page indicating that a given page of content is monitored by the service. This is copyright enforcement with teeth, if you will: the copyright notifications found on most Web pages are about as effective as "Beware of the Dog" signs in yards without a pooch. While this tool may not prevent content from escaping behind firewalls or onto personal devices for illicit reuse, it's a step in the right direction towards awareness of rights monitoring as the best way to protect a publisher's intellectual property in the realm of text content. It's a crude tool for now, but expect services such as this to evolve into a standard part of the online publishing infrastructure. It's a concept that may also evolve from mere rights awareness to content use awareness, enabling sites to collect link references on a proactive basis without having to resort to trackback mechanisms. Content awareness can create and enforce content value on many levels.
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