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Blue Macellari wrote the term paper back in 1999 while studying abroad, so the Duke University graduate student didn’t understand why it was on the Internet — or why it was for sale. Now, she’s suing the operator of Web sites selling her paper and seeking more than $100,000 for copyright infringement, invasion of privacy and damage to her reputation. “They were pushing it, using it, making copies of it without authorization,” Macellari’s attorney, Evan Andrew Parke, said Thursday. Macellari filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in East St. Louis, Ill., against Rusty Carroll, his Carbondale, Ill.-based company R2C2 Inc. and South Carolina-based Digitalsmiths Corp. No one answered the telephone at a number listed for Carroll and Digitalsmiths did not immediately return a call Thursday from The Associated Press. Macellari alleges in her lawsuit that she wrote a term paper about South Africa as one of her requirements for a class she took at the University of Cape Town, where she studied during her junior year in college. She returned to Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., where she earned her undergraduate degree, and, for another class during her senior year, created a Web site and posted her term paper to highlight her past work. Last January, Macellari learned from a friend that her paper was posted on Web sites registered to Carroll’s company and contained notices that the sites own the copyright to the papers. Furthermore, her name was listed. Macellari never gave the papers to the Web sites or gave them permission to post her papers, Parke said. “They didn’t just post it. They are making an explicit claim that they own this paper,” said Parke, who is representing Macellari free of charge. Among the Web sites cited in the lawsuit is Doing My Homework, which says it provides the public with examples of papers and essays to help people find ideas to complete their homework. “Feel free to cite our Web site if you decide to use any of our text in your papers. We do not support plagiarism, and will work to help fight it,” the Web site reads. Readers can find previews of essays but on a linked site, customers are prompted to sign up for memberships that cost as much as $104.95 for 180 days. Macellari, a graduate student in a joint program through Johns Hopkins University and Duke, declined to comment about the case and referred calls to Parke, who said Macellari’s paper has now been removed from the Web sites. Faculty are already concerned about students who turn in papers downloaded from the Internet but this case raises another issue about protecting your work, said David DeCosse, director of Campus Ethics Programs at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. Students and university professors want to post student work on the Web, he said. “But perhaps we should all be aware of … requiring passwords or things of that nature a little bit more so we don’t contribute to that traffic, sort of illicit student paper traffic,” DeCosse said. Donald McCabe, the founding president of the Duke-based Center for Academic Integrity, said he is not aware of a similar lawsuit and he believes that universities will applaud Macellari. “This has been an issue at a large number of schools,” McCabe said. “I think it’s encouraging to see someone willing to take a stand on it from an integrity point of view.” Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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