Plagiarism (lat. plagium 'kidnapping’') is the illicit appropriation of another person’s intellectual property.1
In academic and educational contexts, we use the word plagiarism to describe the borrowing of individual words, passages of text or structures without citing the original source and author.
There is a very thin line separating academic misconduct from plagiarism. It is often not possible to distinguish clearly between the two.
In practice, most cases of academic misconduct result from negligence, such as the insufficient verification of sources, or an incorrect method of source citation. However, certain intentional actions can also be reprimanded as academic misconduct.
"Academic misconduct is present whenever false information of a materially significant nature is given, knowingly or not, in a scholastic context or in an academic paper, or when the intellectual property rights of another party are violated, or their research activities are deliberately impaired in some other way."2
When do we Speak of Plagiarism?
"By plagiarism we mean the appropriation, in whole or in part, of somebody else’s work without citing the original source and author. Plagiarism is essentially a violation of copyright. Brief passages of somebody else’s work may be cited, so long as the citation is properly labeled and the source is indicated."3
In suspicious or borderline cases, a thorough examination of the work suspected of plagiarism is essential. You can obtain more information on what to do in such cases and on how plagiarism within a text can be proven under Suspecting or Finding Plagiarism.