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I want to copy seforim (for example the Artscroll Shas) and I know people with PDFs of those seforim. Am I allowed to copy them?

Is it genaiva?

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It depends whether or not the sefer is copyrighted and/or if the author prohibits copying. Some seforim writers want maximum publicity and reach for their Torah, and would be happy for others to print them. Typically they don’t sell their works. There are even email lists that will send around new seforim of this type.

Others are works being commercially sold. The copyright notice at the beginning of the book should guide you. For instance the Artscroll Talmud volumes clearly state that they are the result of expensive research and that copying them in any way is strictly forbidden, even for personal use.

There has been much writing on the halachot of copyright. Many poskim strictly forbid the copying of copyrighted works. R Yisroel Belsky, quoting R Moshe Feinstein, was strict on this. See good summaries here from CRC, here from R Chaim Jachter listing at least five reasons why we must abide by copyright laws, and here from Halachipedia with many sources.

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