Plagiarism: Taking and using as one’s own, the thoughts, writings and ideas of another; or the material thus purloined. From the Latin for literary theft, and the Greek for kidnapping. [Summarised from The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1978). Clarendon Press, Oxford.]
Usually plagiarism consists of repeating another person's text verbatim, without acknowledgement.
In education circles, plagiarism is a serious form of academic misconduct that is subject to policies and disciplinary procedures. Link
Plagiarism is such a serious offence that it cost a former Monash University Vice-Chancellor his job. Link
In business and in everyday life, plagiarism can be regarded as the theft of intellectual property, most usually by breaching copyright.
Copyright and intellectual property may reside in more than the actual words. It may reside in the concepts behind the words, and in trademarks and designs. The Whiskas colour purple is an intangible that cannot be legally used elsewhere. Link
Authors and others may have the following rights to the material they create
Copyright protects an expression of creative content and the way it is expressed. Anyone can claim copyright, but it is best to label your creation with your name and the copyright date. Copyright usually lasts for the term of the author/creator's life plus 70 years.
Intellectual property rights protect the commercial value of designs and inventions. IP must be registered with IP Australia.
Moral rights protect the right to be acknowledged as the creator of a conceptual work, regardless of who subsequently owns copyright or the intellectual property. It is best to assert moral rights when publishing and distributing material.
Can you give me further information on what copyright is, and relevant links, from the Federal Government department responsible for this area?
All of this doesn’t really matter, does it? I mean, what’s the economic value of copyright in Australia?