Most of these texts were out of print, or had never been translated. Now a publisher is bringing a few of these books into Argentina, and they're trying to get this prof imprisoned for supporting Derrida while he was unavailable.(via bOING bOING, which links to Spanish-language story.)
American law probably isn't so strict, but the ethical issues are similar. What should be the penalty for translating out-of-print technical books?
R. Goldsborough recently posted on this subject to the e-Sylum. He queried five lawyers, 40% of whom said Tsvi Rogin's proposed translation of Problemeder frühen Elektronprägung could be illegal. Reid concluded that the legality of unauthorized uncommercial translations haven't been tested by the courts and violate no laws until the courts decide the matter.
I would be unwilling to be the test case! I figure if 40% of lawyers think something is illegal I'm likely to get a judge who agrees. I'm certain Goldsborough is wrong but it's similar to the old saw about foul balls and umpires. Does the umpire call the ball because it's foul, or does the umpire calling the ball make it foul? If calling a ball makes it foul then Reid is right and I am wrong.