The Rules of Attribution

Why do smart students commit plagiarism? Why would a top high-school writer — so accomplished that she would eventually attend Harvard — commit professional suicide by publishing text copied from another author's popular novel? In reading the gotcha press coverage on Kaavya Viswanathan's novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, I can't help wondering how much Ms. Viswanathan knew about copyright infringement and plagiarism while she was writing. We