The law has had to be changed to make way for the grand introduction of IT into the common public, naturally.
The basic legislative principles that apply in IT however, were already established.
Plagiarism is when you duplicate an existing piece of work (it could be art, music, even text) – anything that is tangible and is protected by copyright, and claim it as your own in hopes to receive credit for it. This “credit” could be grades, money, or any other undeserved benefit of copying the work in question.
Copyright protects authors from having their work or idea copied and stolen – somewhat ties into the above “Plagiarism”. Copyright is automatically applied to any idea, invention or work that is laid into a tangible, physical form.