While copyright is concerned with the legal and economic rights of authors, there are also ethical and moral issues concerning the use of information which must be considered.
Plagiarism refers to academic and scholarly dishonesty. When someone plagiarizes, he or she is copying someone else's work and passing it off as his or her own. This may be intential or unintentional deceit. Plagiarism is intentional when a person knowingly copies and claims another person's work as his or her own. Plagiarism is unintentional when a person quotes or paraphrases someone else without giving proper credit (but does not intend to deceive).
Andrews University treats plagiarism as a serious offense. "Academic dishonesty includes (but is not limited to) the following acts: . . . Plagiarizing, which includes copying others' published work, and/or failing to give credit properly to other authors and creators." (Andrews University Bulletin 2006-2007, Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University, pg. 28).
Research is about scholarly conversation. It is expected that one will quote and paraphrase other people as part of the dialogue. But those quotes and paraphrases must be properly documented or cited. The next page discusses how to properly cite another person's work.