I think it's just the ease of doing it and not thinking about the consequences of getting caught. The hardest part (as I'm sure many of us know) about developing and maintaining a well trafficked blog/website is creating content so I guess many people think they can just take a shortcut. It is a dumb idea though.
I just had a look at the Copyscape site, it looks good. I didn't know about it until I read this thread, it seems like a very useful resource.

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