The unauthorized copying of copyrighted material, whether print or computer media, is illegal and is considered an act of academic dishonesty; moreover, such practice makes the violator subject to legal penalty.
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United Stated Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.
Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at no less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504,505.
Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to .$250,000 per offense.