Students who submit papers to Turnitin retain the copyright to the work they created. A copy of submitted papers is retained in a Turnitin database archive to be compared with future submissions—a practice that helps protect and strengthen copyright ownership.
A U.S. District Court judge ruled that archiving student papers to assess originality of newly-submitted papers constitutes a fair use under the U.S. Copyright Act, provides “a substantial public benefit" and helps protect the papers from being exploited by others. Read the summary judgement.
The summary judgment was unanimously affirmed by a U.S. Court of Appeals. Read the published decision.