PLAGIARISM: Wow . What a big word, like "marmalade". Hope I spelt it correctly!
PLAGIARISM is deliberately copying someone else's work and putting your name to it. A couple of years ago, there was a celebrated case in my former homeland, South Africa. A university lecturer had copied extracts from American author, Joseph Leyleveld's excellent book, MOVE YOUR SHADOW. ( An excellent book, by way!). A big extract was taken word for word and he was discovered (and was forced to resign his prestigious position). Naughty naughty!
Plagiariasm seems to be quite prevalent amongst songwriters, like George Michael, but bet there are many writers too. "Prima donnas"!
A final few words in summary on subject of plagiarism... When deciding whether you are perhaps infringing copyright and/or plagiarism, ask yourself this question:
1. "If I was author, how would I feel about someone 'copying my hard-worked for writing' "? Sometimes "word-for-word".
2. "Has writer made a genuine effort to put material into his/her own words?" and
3. "Has he/she just copied or borrowed my ideas and other points from my writing?"
I think "imitation is sincerest form of flattery"! Still don't plagiarise my work, please!
DEFAMATION (not a bodily function - OOPS, ER ! ).. but if you do, you will soon be really deep in "rich brown stuff". Always keep a good name. Avoid libel suits (must replace mine someday lot/financial fortunes of writer!). Never defame anyone in your writing, especially after they've "fallen off their perch" (ie. after they are deceased - thanks Monty Python). As writers we are very privileged people, who can directly influence public opinion. Most other people don't have opportunity to defend themselves through avenue of publicly written words. So it's a heavy responsibility we writers have to convey truth (is that subjective or absolute? - that's an entire essay in itself). Well our opinion of it, anyway .