Anything related to copyright that I've known, as someone who is not a lawyer, goes like this:
"As long as you cite properly, there is no need to worry about plagiarism"
Today I learned that there are copyright laws that apply beyond literary works and creative work like music and movies, to all content relating to academia.
Funnily enough, it distinguishes between facts "known by five or more credible sources" (quoting Boston University) and opinions, the former having almost no copyright, while the latter being subject to more stringent laws.
Here my question is, if there is a thin line between fact and fiction, how do you determine whether a work is plagiarized or not? Also, there is a problem within the realm of fact itself; another source from MIT states that facts widely known like "the Big Bang created the universe" is not subject to copyright or plagiarism, then is that not excluding people who have such poor education that they may not know that the Big Bang created the universe, or literalist Christians who may believe that the Big Bang theory is simply opinion and not in the realm of fact -- do the latter have to always resort to some kind of citation? What about Encyclopedias, which list generally mundane information or outlines of topics -- if I'm an expert in a certain topic, and mistakenly think that one piece of specialized information is part of general knowledge, then am I exempt, due to an internally innocent state of mind, from citing the source of that information? When does expert knowledge become fact, and where do you draw the line between fact and opinion (or even fiction)?
To me the endeavor of applying copyright law or plagiarism rules (which I think are, in general terms, part of the copyright problem) is futile, or will end up being futile for some reason, apart from blatant copy-pasting (which you can always argue around and say "it's an homage"). In other words, all plagiarism rules (and copyright laws in general) should be significantly relaxed as to make this a matter of taste. The US courts don't seem to have an agreement on the strict rules, anyway, so who can say for sure what is plagiarism and what is not?