While the true facts of how copied website material effects a website are unknown, it is generally thought that search engines like Google, will grade duplicate content negatively to some extent.
The law does not view plagiarism as anything currently being associated with any current law or statute.
The work at home movement has seen an unprecedented amount of growth in recent years. It is obvious that the internet and technology have opened up doors that in the past were unheard of.
You can bet that the Google farmer update is all about improving search quality and if you are an ethical writer, you should have no worries about being affected by it.