Explain plagiarism

WILL somebody please write a backgrounder on plagiarism?

The issue regarding the absolution of Supreme Court Justice Mariano del Castillo from charges of plagiarism has been burning for days now, but it seems that newspapers are still yet to make a special feature on the crime. It would be good to have a simple way in which ordinary people learn the philosophy and history of laws against plagiarism and the nature of plagiarism itself.

Besides, this issue is now beyond the realms of academe. This isn’t just an issue on intellectual property rights violation, but about personal and institutional integrity. If in universities “unintended plagiarism” is plagiarism nonetheless and results in the expulsion of the plagiarist, how much more vigilance and sense of justice should we expect from the highest court in the land? Everyone who depends on a state institution that supposedly dispenses justice has a stake in this issue.