Software sniffs out cheats on the Web

Crib copy at your peril, warns Vocalyser developer

Time could be running out for people who like to copy others' work by downloading it from the Internet and claiming it as their own. A team at Birmingham University has developed a program, called Vocalyser, which is being put to good use in the English department, spotting students that have plagiarised work. Apparently, some students have started buying essays from the US over Internet. Vocalyser will check submitted essays for key words, and great slabs of text, that appear elsewhere. The Register is surprised to hear that such a hardworking body of people as students would sink so low as to steal other people’s work just to avoid a spot of honest hard work. Maybe the powers-that-be at Birmingham University are just over reacting, though. Imitation is, after all, said to be the sincerest form of flattery. And to illustrate this point, The Register would like to thank NewsNow and the Press Association, among others, for all the sincere and flattering manner in which our stories keep appearing on their Web sites. ®

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