Plagiarism is a serious topic, but it is also one that sparks a great deal of controversy. The consequences for this violation can be dire, because it is just like stealing, only with words instead of material things.
So here is the question: Do all plagiarists know what they are doing? Is unintentional plagiarism a rare case, as the committee agreed? We all know plagiarism is a serious offense, so why would someone take that risk?
The Ledger’s Report said it perfectly when they said there is no “hard-and-fast rule” to distinguish the line between using information as background, and plagiarizing. Their report went into detail about the various cases where plagiarism was in question.
There are a few instances where plagiarism is not an issue, such as alluding to a literary phrase or commonly available facts, but since the rules are sometimes unclear, it is best to remember the phrase, “better safe than sorry”. To avoid the chance of plagiarism, the Ledger’s Report recommends to keep clear notes, use direct sources, and ATTRIBUTE.
The Ledger’s report addressed the Internet and its integral role in the cause of plagiarism multiple times. I can attest to the statement that a great deal of Americans today rely on the Internet for information, because I know I take full advantage of having Internet connection available in my pocket 24/7. With such easy access to a Google search, the lines are often blurred between what information is shared and what is original.
Bottom line: Play it safe, double check your wording, and cite your sources!