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Copyright is automatic upon publication; no notice is required. This has been true in the U.S. since it joined the Bern Convention in 1988.
Plagiarism is a general term for any attempt to pass off another person's work as one's own, and Comfort did not credit Guffey. Copyright is a legal term more sharply defined, and whether this constitutes copyright infringement is for a court to decide. Copyright also involves publication of another's work, whereas plagiarism can apply to any use. If a student had done this as part of a term paper, it would be plagiarism and cause for disciplinary action, but Guffey would have no grounds to sue because term papers are not published.
Comfort did not use "short excerpts." He used nearly all of Guffey's biography, with one paragraph mostly rewritten and another shortened.
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