Copyright is a Western legal convention that has been adopted by most, if not all, countries by international convention. Copyright exists for the lifetime of the author (such as a translator who has copyright for the translation but not for the original departure language work) as well as 100 years from the creation of the work. After 100 years, any and all previously copy-righten materials enter the public domain, meaning anyone can do anything they want with them. BTW, according to U.S. law, copyright exists automatically as soon as a work is created regardless of whether the author or their agent has formally submitted a copyright form with the Library of Congress copyright division. Such formal submission is merely legal evidence proving one's copyright should breach of copyright become legally actionable.
Sorry, I was copyright editor for the publishing company I worked for for 30-some years.
For me, the issue comes down to whether the author (or translator) personally intends/intended for the free distribution and use of their work or not. In other words, from a Buddhist POV, whether something is "freely given" or not. If not freely given, then, as far as I can see according to the teachings on the 10 demeritorious actions, it is stealing with the karmic repercussions of stealing.
It is good to air the issues.
So if someone borrows a copyrighted book over and over again from a public library, this is not stealing, but if one copies that book for one's own personal use in a personal Dharma practice, then it is stealing, simply because this was the business modal intention of the author, i.e. that the author did not INTEND free permanent distribution, while still allowing free placement in public libraries, for purposes of free loans??????
Also, if a copyright protects against stealing, with the karmic repercussions of stealing, up to 100 years from the creation of a work, why should it not be stealing forever! How can the law arbitrarily (at 100 years plus one day) supersede the original intention of the author? I think I will write my congressman!
Also, if it is accepted that the general copyright law, can totally over-ride the original intention of the author after 100 years (without this being "stealing") why shouldn't the "fair use" provision of the that same copyright law be acceptable as currently interpreted, i.e. allowing for an individual to make a copy of a copyrighted work for their own personal use (without this being stealing)?
Also, the Buddha Seed exists in all sentient beings. The Buddha Seed is beyond time. So perhaps if the "100 years in the future" part of your timeless Buddha Seed nature, copies something today, and reads it as your timeless Buddha Seed being of 100 years in the future, then no law is broken because copy-rite only extends for 100 years? Right!
Of course no one should take what is not freely given, and I would NEVER imply that anyone should. Perhaps once a work is placed in public library, or posted on the web, it has been effectively, "freely given" regardless of a possible original intention of an author not to allow free distribution. Otherwise, before anyone would take out a library book, or Google search on any written work, they would have to write to the author and ask to them if that is ok with their original intention so as to avoid, "taking something which is not freely given?"
I think there is an effective "reasonable expectation" of "freely given" once a work is placed in a public library, or available freely from multiple sources on the web. These are "interesting" legal points.
Then there is the issue of committing a small bad, for a greater good ---
If you are "stealing" what is not freely given, so as to help you free all sentient beings, maybe the greater good is what determines what is stealing and what is not stealing.
Lots of issues to look into - if that is what you would like to do.