Plagiarism is a term that most students are familiar with, and one that they try desperately to avoid. Perhaps examining some real life cases of plagiarism will further emphasize the importance of avoiding this problem.
Famous Examples of Plagiarism
A blog post by C.H. Scarlett, a published author of both fantasy novels and those of the paranormal variety, lists many of the most famous examples of plagiarism. They are as follows:
Joseph Biden failed a course when he was in law course because he plagiarized a paper.
Stephen Ambrose, a historical writer, used writings from other peoples' books in some of his own works.
Rene Diekstra, a former psychology professor at Leiden University, was accused of committing plagiarism back in 1997.
Writer Alex Haley wrote a novel, and eventually he admitted that he had plagiarized information from a book entitled The African written by Harold Courlander.
George Harrison used the same melody in his song "My Sweet Lord" as the Chiffons did in "He's So Fine."
When she was young, Helen Keller was accused of plagiarizing a school paper.
Accusations have been made that Martin Luther King Jr. plagiarized some of his doctoral thesis, as well as some selections in his speeches.
Another interesting incident involving George Harrison was when he plagiarized himself (which actually can be considered a serious issue in academia). The beginning of "I'm Looking Through You" has been said to be the same as the end of "End of the Line" from the Traveling Wilburys, a group that he belonged to.
So you don't want to see your name on the aforementioned list? The best way to avoid any sorts of issues is to just make sure that you always cite your sources. It's absolutely better to overcite than to undercite, or worse yet, not cite at all.