I would have to disagree, Grandfather. By definition, plagiarism is stealing. In fact, it comes from the Latin plagiarius (abduct) and plagiare (steal). Another translation could be “kidnap.”
That seems like politician-speak and skirting to me. Using someone’s intellectual property and passing it off as one’s own, or even giving the appearance that it is one’s own, seems like a willful lie, or at best a sin of omission.
In the case of copyright infringement (as the case that has been in question on this forum was), it goes beyond plagiarism; it’s unlawful behavior. Plagiarism is dishonest ethical behavior; copyright infringement is against the law. Plagiarism is enforced by a community standard; copyright infringement is enforced by the courts (see “Plagiarism and Copyright - What Are the Differences?” - The Council Chronicle, Nov. 2005, as cited by Plagiarism Checker.com). In short, if Dave Armstrong wanted to, he could inform the court that OTCA violated copyright infringement by posting his words on the CAF Forum and passing them off as hers (OTCA’s).
The Writing Program Administration Council, which is the gold standard of academia, defines plagiarism this way: plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source. The following has even been suggested in the academic world, and surely we would want to follow it here in a Christian context:
We’re here to better ourselves and to better our communities. You can’t do that by stealing. To avoid plagiarism:
- Do not use someone’s words without referencing the source or including the information in quotation marks or a block quote; and
- Do not use someone’s ideas without referencing the source.
I think those are good guidelines.
I beg to differ; times have changed (especially with the Internet and cut-and-paste), and I think it goes beyond polite. It is an accepted and mandated ethical standard in science and in industry. I agree with you Grandfather; it is all about context: in Christian apologetics, do we really want to practice deception? Surely we want to be at least as ethical in the Christian community as the scientific and industrial communities are, don’t we?