That story about Quentin Rowan was very interesting, and bizarre. I feel as though it would lend itself to an off- beat screenplay where Rowan is portrayed as the comically tragic anti-hero(!) But getting back on point, unless, like Rowan, someone has deliberately lifted a sentence or paragraph word for word, it seems from people's responses here that plagiarism is a massive grey area, and it's hard to judge or agree on if someone else's work should or shouldn't be classed as plagiarism. This may sound a little airy fairy, but I think, if you yourself are the writer and would-be 'plagiarist', you would know deep down if what you are doing is copying or not. If it doesn't feel right then it probably isn't. You may even write something that someone else does not think bares anywhere near enough resemblance to another's work to be classed as plagiarism, but you yourself feel like you've been lazy and could have been more original, then that's the important factor. Now I come to think of it, I have been writing a short story recently which is very much centered around folklore, and I have included a character making a talisman out of the twigs from a rowan tree to ward off evil spirits. That's not my idea, that's something I read about and copied, and that's just one example. I may write about a water nymphs or goblins or witches later on... And hopefully by the time I have finished, it will be, on the whole, an original story. But just because I have 'borrowed' ideas from the realms of folklore, how is that really any different from seeing an idea, for example a description of a magical creature, that has been written about by one author in one book, and 'borrowing' that? Taking from folklore isn't really any less lazy or unoriginal, technically, but is not frowned upon as it would be if I took the idea from an individual. This isn't something I've actually ever given much thought to until now, actually. I am always getting inspiration from other people's work, just like all writers, and then write my own work without plagiarizing, but I have never stopped to properly think where the line actually is between the two. And what about accidental plagiarism? You may unconsciously rip off something that you saw or read so long ago, that you had forgotten the idea you have is actually someone else's. It sounds as though this happened to Helen Keller http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Frost_King. Many think it was a deliberate plagiarism, but I can imagine something like this could plausibly happen.