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Intellectual property rights are a bit complicated. Copyright is a legal framework to protect commercially valuable intellectual property. However, "fair use" of copyrighted material is generally taken to permit use of "up to about 300 words" or "less than 10 percent of the original", whichever is less. The term "public domain" refers to material such as items for which the copyright has expired [copyright for material since 1921 no longer expires, thanks to Walt Disney], or material created at government expense for which no restrictions on re-use are claimed. There are variants of public domain, such as Creative Commons license, but that becomes a bit arcane. Too often "public domain" is taken to mean "publicly accessible" - but just because a copyrighted item is publicly accessible online doesn't mean it is in the public domain and may be freely re-used.
Different realms of intellectual activity have different standards and practices on the re-use of intellectual property, and these standards have changed over time. Journalists and academics are concerned about plagiarism. Academics are concerned by plagiarism because teachers wish to fairly grade the work of their students, so on campus plagiarism is to the bookworms as doping is to the jocks. The warrant of journalists is that they are reporting matters that they have personally witnessed, and if their report includes material such as wire copy, this material is explicitly sourced.
But such explicit sourcing is absent from the opinion page of the newspaper, as there are very few entirely original opinions, and well received opinions are often among the least original. Entirely new opinions are most often unintelligible to the common reader. Much of the content produced by the defense and aerospace industry trade press [newsletters, etc] was for many years little more than reprints of corporate news releases. An editor of such an enterprise would use such news releases without fear of some umpire charging plagiarism.
Plagiarism is taking a phrase, a sentence, or a paragraph (or more) from someone else's work and present it as your own. This kind of plagiarism includes taking language from an internet site, or copying phrases from an article. According to one source, to copy exact language from a source (usually more than three words) and fail to use quotation marks, this is plagiarism, even with a citation.
Exact definitions change over time. The status of plagiarism in early modern culture was a bit more complicated. In the 16th Century, boys went to grammar school and were trained, not to write original material, but to imitate other writers, to steal their best lines. Christopher Marlowe made a very weird attempt to put a bit of Virgil’s Aeneid on stage in a play called Dido, Queen of Carthage. Nearly all of Shakespeare's stories were stolen or adapted from other people’s work. He was not an original writer, at least not for plots. Shakespeare wrote Midsummer Night’s Dream, a play built up out of so much borrowed material, borrowed from Chaucer, borrowed from Ovid. It a play basically beautified by other people’s feathers. But he had good taste in the stuff he stole. He doesn’t steal junk. “In Shakespeare’s day,” wrote the critic and philosopher Walter Ong in a 1967 essay, “what today would be considered plagiarism was taken to be only a demonstration of wide reading. ... with the invention of typography, the sense of literary works as property increases slowly”. Joe Loewenstein, professor of English and director of the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities and the Humanities Digital Workshop, noted " ... when Shakespeare writes Hamlet, in this particular moment he says, I am picking up where Marlowe left off, and Marlowe was picking where Virgil left off, and Virgil was picking up where Homer left off. We are imitators. We are in a tradition. We don’t invent things. We continue things."
But plagiarism-detection software has altered standards. Recent scholarship by the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project of the King Institute has revealed that as a student at Crozer and Boston, King frequently appropriated the words of other writers without proper attribution [Carson et al., ‘‘Martin Luther King, Jr., as Scholar: A Reexamination of His Theological Writings,’’ Journal of American History 78 (June 1991): 93–105]. King passed his final doctoral examination in February 1954. While his bibliographies contained the authors and books that he drew on in his own compositions, his papers often lacked the footnotes and quotation marks that identified his use of these sources in his text. His habit of plagiarizing others’ work, intentionally or not, can be found in the various drafts of his dissertation.
Plagiarism would not seem out of place at a British tabloid. British journalists -- far more than American journalists -- bend the truth, plagiarize competitors and break laws to get a story that sells. CNN host and Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria’s borrowings created a controversy in 2015.