This site was set up in order to collect information about the topic of plagiarism, primarily in German for a German-speaking audience. We will translate as much as possible – volunteers are welcome!
What is plagiarism? It is very difficult to define it exactly. Is it just a one-to-one copy of sentences? How much has to be copied in order to be considered a plagiarism? Is it still plagiarism if you edit the text? If you only use the order of arguments and do not copy the words?
The following joke definition attributed to Wilson Mizner circulates around the Internet:
Copy from one book = plagiarism;
Copy from two books = an essay;
Copy from three books = a compilation;
Copy from four books = a dissertation.
Today some might add: Copy from the Wikipedia = term paper.
Gerhard Fröhlich, University of Linz, Austria: “Plagiarism is the unauthorized use of the intellectual property of other persons, also known as ‘theft’.” [from echt_falsch]
Paul Englisch, German author: “Plagiarism is the free decision of an author or an artist to take a not unsubstantial portion of the intellectual content of another person and us this in his own work with the intention of blurring this enforced loan to through appropriate means so that the pretense of it being one’s own work is encouraged in the reader or viewer. “[from Meister des Plagiats, oder Die Kunst der Abschriftstellerei]
A current note: Richard Moody, Jr. writes in an article in Nexus Magazine:
“Einstein plagiarised the work of several notable scientists in his 1905 papers on special relativity and E = mc2, yet the physics community has never bothered to set the record straight in the past century.”