From The Guardian:
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery … but plagiarism isn’t!
Plagiarism is a very ancient art.
Shakespeare stole most of his historical plots directly from Holinshed.
Laurence Sterne and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were both accused of plagiarism.
Oscar Wilde was repeatedly accused of plagiarism: hence the celebrated exchange with Whistler: “I wish I’d said that, James.” [To which, James said], “Don’t worry, Oscar, you will.”
Martin Luther King plagiarised part of a chapter of his doctoral thesis.
George Harrison was successfully sued for plagiarising the Chiffons’ He’s So Fine for My Sweet Lord.
Alex Haley copied large passages of his novel Roots from The African by Harold Courlander.
Jayson Blair, then a reporter for the New York Times, plagiarised many articles and faked quotes.
Read the rest @ A history of plagiarism (not my own work) | Books | The Guardian
Sidenote: As an author, I hereby wholly admit that I borrow style from many of my favorite authors … though never substance. An explanation is in order. I keep a daily diary called Master Class. In it, I copy out the most skillful paragraphs penned by these masters. The exercise flexes the writing muscles of my brain before beginning the day’s work. It’s like practicing the piano scales of Carl Czerny in preparation for playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. No pianist can actually play Moonlight Sonata like Beethoven … even if by some magical intervention, recordings existed … but they can certainly try!