Plagiarism (from Wikipedia): defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work.
I've been running into an astonishing amount of plagiarism on Pagan sites and pages online lately. It's hard to find an original thought. Instead, you get a picture of an athame with text that comes from Wikipedia. You look, and the person posted it after taking it (with permission) from another site which may or may not be the one that original plagiarized the text. Okay, in this case, the text was originally plagiarized by Ravensgrove Coven on Facebook.
But that one group isn't the only one doing it. Lots of groups on Facebook, lots of blogs, lots of websites, have scraped all their content from others, usually without attribution. And in the cases where the stuff is copyrighted, without getting permission from the writer/artist.
Honor? The 3-fold law? The Wiccan Rede? Karma? Common
decency? "The Christians stole all our stuff"? Some Pagans have no
ethics, no morals, no honor, and lie about their belief in the Gods, the
Rede, the 3-fold law, etc.
Like what someone else has written, and want to share it? Great! Write a summary mentioning who wrote it and provide a link to the original source. That way you share it AND the creator gets the traffic/attention. I've done that with many folks blogs posts that I like. You will NOT read their entire blog post on MY blog. I will link you to THEIR blogs.
Want to incorporate someone else's words that inspired your work, and don't have their permission? Look at what I posted on Thursday, Sept 6, 2012 (with luck, I'll remember to put the link in!). Instead of quoting the words, which I didn't have permission for and ... uh ... was pretty sure that the writer wouldn't want to give me permission for, I did a bullet point summary. The source being from a closed group I could not link back to it in general, and since I also wanted to protect the privacy of the 'bad example', I also did not want to post her name/identifying into, like an avatar.
Today was one of those days when I called out plagiarism when I saw it. And I discovered that some of the people ... well, I'll leave out what the Lala called them ... before she was bounced from one group ... don't seem to understand the difference between plagiarism and copyright violations.
Let me explain the difference between plagiarism and copyright violations: plagiarism, as noted above, is ANYTIME you pass off the words of another as your own (not giving credit) even if the words are public domain (that is, wikipedia); copyright violations muck up an author's 'exclusive right' to their words.
Honestly, plagiarism is explained to US kids thoroughly in high school, when they are taught to do research papers. It's not rocket science, it's not a PhD level concept, it's not a 3rd degree mystery.