Well I would like to start off by simply defining what the word plagiarism means and its origins. According to Merriam-Webster the word plagiarism means to plagiarize. Now going to the word plagiarize, Webster states 1. To steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one's own. 2. To use another's production without crediting the source 3.To commit literary theft. 4. To present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.
Now as far as the origins of the word, there are several examples that I was able to locate, the best one was the one located on WikiPedia.com, and I quote “The Latin root, plagiarius, means kidnapper, seducer or plunderer, Plagium meant kidnapping, in turn derived from plaga, to capture or trap.”
The single most common use of plagiarism is in the education system and it has been a problem for as long as schools have been around. In fact a recent study shows that nearly 90% of all students have plagiarized something at least once and most have done it multiple times. Now for the average student in a high school or a middle school about all that would happen to them if caught plagiarizing an essay is that they would more than likely receive detention or maybe another assignment however in the upper education system, college that is, a student could face very serious penalties, for example discharge from that class for a semester or fines or even expulsion from the school. But it all depends on the situation and severity.
Now for the legal side of things, is plagiarism a crime? Why yes it is in some situations how ever there is not much that can be done about it. As far as any criminal consequences in the civilian side of the law there are none unless the plagiarized work is used to make a profit otherwise the only thing that can be done about it is that it be taken to a civil court and at worst sue for damages or copyright infringement. Now after a full day of searching the web for a good source of the...