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"When does plagiarism occur? Is there an established percentage, a rule of thumb, a saturation point that we can use to determine when plagiarism has taken place? Or is it simply that "plagiarism is plagiarism"? The answer may lie somewhere between the stark (and perhaps too simple) dictum and the convenience of ready-made measures. In most cases, the dictum can be applied appropriately: plagiarism is plagiarism. However, there are in fact degrees of plagiarism: one can steal an entire paper, or a section of a paper, or a page, a paragraph or a sentence. Even copying phrases without credit and quotation marks can be considered plagiarism. In other words, paraphrasing done improperly can qualify as plagiarism." - quoted from the IEEE Web site.
Read more at IEEE - Identifying plagiarism .