Definition - What does Plagiarism mean?
Plagiarism occurs when one writer appropriates the written, original ideas of another writer by publishing, selling or otherwise passing the appropriated ideas off as if they were the product of the plagiarizing writer's thoughts.
Legally speaking, plagiarism is prohibited by copyright and intellectual property law. Beyond writing, plagiarized materials can include music, photography and forms of visual media.
Justipedia explains Plagiarism
Copyright and intellectual property law protect a person's or organization's original ideas. In simple terms, plagiarism is the theft of these original ideas.
While there is no actual crime of plagiarism, which subjects someone who attempts to portray another's ideas as their own to criminal penalties, common law allows for plagiarism as a civil cause of action.
Someone who is found to have profited from appropriating the ideas, art or music created by another may be ordered to pay the rightful owner a portion of the proceeds that they acquired from plagiarized materials.