This will be my first time out in college. I have everything ranging from supplies to a laptop for the labs I am supposed to be doing. I'm going to be paying the semester fee in a few weeks, but during the past few days I was wondering about a few things. I've battled myself for answers and have come up with 2 final questions that I can't answer for myself. The 2 questions are mainly for people already in post secondary.

1) Could I get kicked out of my college if I pirate basically the entire Microsoft Office suite? I've essentially imagined this like a student plagiarizing another guy's work and then getting kicked out. Can this happen to me as a pirate? I did in fact have the original suite on several discs, but due to the way my new laptop was built, it can't read DVDs. Even if it could, the disks I'm looking for no longer have their serial keys attached to it, and since they don't have the keys attached to it, they're basically going to seem like burnt discs with great artwork on them (of course I'm excluding the software paid for via tuition).

2) Has anybody been accused of copying somebody else's work in essays? I'm really scared of being falsely accused of plagiarizing somebody else's work. Aren't the chances of similar work being produced really high as a prof works in later years?

Thanks in advance for anybody to give me any answers. I've just been really worried. I'm basically one of the first people in my family to have an education over here in Canada, and since education in the Philippines is a bit different than what we have here, I can't ask anybody else questions. Most of my friends are going into their first years too!
1) Not sure. I'm doing it, and there's no way the instructors would know unless I told them so I don't see how I could get kicked out.

2) Again, I'm not sure how it can happen. When I write essays, I just write essays - I don't look at someone else's paper and copy theirs so I don't see how I would ever be able to be accused of plagiarism.
1) No, your college doesn't own the copyrights to the Microsoft software so they have no legal standing to do anything about it.

2) don't do it and you've got nothing to worry about.
I can only say what happens in my university.

1) Professors and don't care and some admit they pirate themselves (English prof. got surprised when we told Office costs money). However if you use university's connection to download they just block your account (apparently they don't want any troubles)

2) Some students tried to account for homework using downloaded answers. I guess that wasn't first time professor seen those papers, he started asking questions and obviously students failed to answer, they got bad mark and that's it.
1) During my stay in the dorms, the university provided the internet service and required us to agree to their terms and services. Among the many conditions was that we agreed not to pirate any software/program or music/videos. I am sure if you broke the ToS that there would be a severe punishment and a possible expulsion from the university.

2) I have not. But to my understanding, the university I attended would do a thorough investigation to ensure those accused of plagiarism actually did it. You would also have to stand in front of the board and plead your case. If found guilty, you would be expelled from the university.

If you are writing an essay and you feel that your work resembles a source you're viewing, simply provide a reference and cite the source.
1) Yes you can receive a punishment for academic misconduct if you use the university's connection to illegally download something. Check this site and see if your program has a partnership with Microsoft that includes the dreamspark service. Otherwise you should be able to get a discounted student copy for pretty cheap from the university bookstore or something.

2) I've never been accused of plagiarism.
I come from the UK, so the premise is perhaps a little different to the US scenario others have described.

1. I'm not aware of any major repercussion for piracy in UK universities. Typically with the setup Halls of Residence in the UK has (and the JANET network they are all connected to), things like torrenting just don't tend to work, and should their port scanner pick up something they don't like, you'll receive a letter informing you of this. I'd assume persistent offenders have access revoked or something, but you'd have to be somewhat strange to carry on after receiving written notification that they believe you are using their connection for such things.

Once acquired, however, I dare-say there would be little interest in what you have on your PC or laptop, aside from security concerns (are you running anti-virus, do you have a personal firewall etc). Some smaller universities in the UK do seem to go for a policy of laptop checks for security purposes, but students are students and ultimately I think, the focus is on your personal security, not what piracy/buying habits entail.

For the University of Southampton, they just plain weren't interested in this, and tended to dislike "external influences" like copyright holders on the management of their network policy. So I never heard of any procedure for checking, or any consequence of piracy during my 4 years there, even in the Computer Science department I was in, where it was perhaps most prevalent.

As said by others though, your university may well be part of the Microsoft Academic Alliance, Dreamspark, or whatever the heck else Microsoft have decided to call their academic licensing arrangements this year. How much stuff you'll get on license from there depends on the university, but the Office suite seems like a pretty sure-fire option, and is probably free from there (and internally hosted within the university, so super-fast downloads).

2. I recall of one guy that had a problem with the automated plagiarism software in his 3rd year thesis. The problem basically boiled down to poor referencing of a research paper he'd written that was under peer review (go figure), and they just kind of ignored the system as he didn't really have a good means to reference the paper in a way the system liked.

Otherwise speaking though, again, I know of no such issue arising among my course-friends or myself, in my 4 years there.
1. As long as you don't pirate it over their network, there isn't anything they really could do. You may want to consider buying the student version though, it is pretty cheap. Some schools even have an agreement with Microsoft for better deals than the commercial Student edition. (My uni sold the pro version for the price of the student version). Worth checking out if you get some extra cash.

2. Plagiarism happens quite a bit. However, from what I have seen false positives are rare. They tend to run everything through software and it will give it a score. The higher the score, the more likely it isn't original work. Basically it checks it against a huge database of previous papers as well as internet articles and books.

The key is the cite everything. Both direct quotes and paraphrasing. As long as you don't claim it as your own they can't accuse you of plagiarism . (you can even cite other students work, or your own work, but there better be a really good reason to) They can still fail you because your paper isn't good, but at least they can't throw you out.

I wouldn't stress out to much about it. If you are really concerned, find out about the schools writing center. They can help you with all the citations etc to make sure your papers are clean.