For years, educators at colleges and universities have marshaled software tools to ensure that their students' work is original. Now, tainted by scandals or leery of the internet's copy-enabling power, a growing number of newspapers, law firms, and other businesses are also using data-sifting tools that can cross-check billions of digital documents and swiftly recognize pilfered passages in just seconds.

The expansion of plagiarism-detection software from academia into the business world underscores the need for educators to impress upon their students and staff members that plagiarism is wrong--whether it occurs in school or in...

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