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College Update – Plagiarism Aplenty, But No eMail or Wristwatches

08.18.10

Plagiarism is alive and well on college campuses however it is no wonder since the Internet and Social Media have changed communications. Without question Wikipedia has become a reliable source for students and at least 16 US intelligence agencies. Many question the authenticity of Wikipedia, but if the US intelligence community can rely on Wikipedia I guess the information’s reliable. But plagiarizing Internet information is part of a larger social issue that college students today believe that any information on the Internet is free game to include in their course assignments. Perhaps this is not a new phenomenon, rather professors can use Internet search tools to determine if students are plagiarizing which was not available when information only available in books when I was a college student.

Who Needs eMail or a Watch?

As Social Media morphs it’s no wonder that college students rely on cell phones for knowing the time and sending text messages in lieu of email. Remember that in 2009 there were 1.5 billion text messages sent, and with Facebook’s estimated 500 million friends the shift of communications probably indicates more postings on Facebook and that eMail will to decline from the estimated 210 billion sent each day....of course 70% are probably SPAM.  Interesting to see how Social Media evolves.

Where’s the Evidence?

Without question courthouses in the US have changed forever as a result of Social Media and the increase in text messages and eMail. However for more than 30 years my clients’ litigation has been limited to disputes about computer technology and Internet services which means that every lawsuit has had eEvidence. Recently I participated in a webcast with US Magistrate Judge Paul Grimm who wrote the well respected opinion in Lorraine v Markel (about the admissibility of eEvidence) and Judge Grimm pointed out how much more education is necessary to raise the water level for Judges and lawyers. Courthouses will never be the same, so Judges and lawyers have to understand more about Social Media communications.

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