There’s a most interesting item on Slate entitled Dead Plagiarists Society. The subtitle is ‘Will Google Book Search uncover long-buried literary crimes?’ and the author is Paul Collins. I highly recommend it.
Google in its ever-ongoing journey to catalogue all knowledge in the world is well along with the printed word. You can use Google Book Search to find out where in a book you can find a particular quote. If you’re that way inclined, you can also do some detective work on some newly written book to see whether it contains other folks’ work. Of course that’s OK if it’s small sections and the author attributed it to the original author. Otherwise the author may well be liable to be pursued for copyright infringement.
It’s another example of the new transparency that we all must observe in this Internet era. Those spiders are everywhere.