My post on the Dan Brown case the other date sparked plenty of discussion about what constitutes plagiarism and your comments raised some very important questions.
I've since found an excellent website about plagiarism of all kinds. John Lesko's Famous Plagiarists blends careful academic argument with humour. It's a topic he clearly feels passionate about:
Plagiarism is an offense against authorship and originality, and we are criminal accomplices in such offenses if we attempt to justify a plagiarist or ameliorate the consequences resulting from such odious behavior.
Strong words, and there's plenty more. He lists some of the most famous literary plagiarists and kleptomaniacal popular writers along with their threat rating (as in the picture I plagi- ... er ... borrowed above).
There are writers we might expect to be there like Mr. Navahoax himself - Tim Barrus and Dan Brown. (The former gets a red rating , the latter only blue.)
But there are surprises - TS Eliot (rated yellow), Jack London (yellow), Stephen King (green), J.K. Rowling (blue) ...
... and the grandaddy of English Literature himself (blue -guarded risk). Shame on you, Billy!