A, B, C are three good textbooks from the market. An author/professor translates them, taking chapter 1 from A, 2 from B, 3 from C and combining them into another textbook. The content of the new textbook is literally taken from other sources, with simple editing (cut irrelevant part that they don't teach in their class even it's in the taken chapter).

My questions are:

  1. What is the name of this kind of textbook?

  2. If the author of the new book is the one who makes translation and edition, then is it ethical/legal? What is the name of this action?

  3. If the reason given is "lacking of good resources" in the country, and A, B, C are cited as references, then is this action really bad? Is there any alternative way to do?

  • 1. Copyright violation. 2. No. As an alternative, consider open-source books such as at openstaxcollege.org/books . – Daniel R. Collins Dec 13 '15 at 17:19
  • err, I have slightly edited the question, and I think your answer to 1 may be obsolete (depends on which question it answers to) – Ooker Dec 13 '15 at 17:34
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    There are too many different questions here. I would suggest that you 1) ask Questions 1 and 2b (“What is the name of this action?”) as one question. I would not consider them off-topic here, but I’d consider them better suited for English Language & Usage. 2) Ask question 2a separately here or on Law. However, there isn’t really much too answer in my opinion as this is a clear copyright infringement (without the original author’s consent of course) and violation of intellectual property. 3) Ask question 3b (Is there any alternative way) separately here. – Wrzlprmft Dec 13 '15 at 18:38
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is broad a composite of several disjoint questions about the English language and copyright law in one or more unstated jurisdictions. – David Richerby Dec 13 '15 at 21:18
  1. A publication that compiles parts of several other publications is sometimes called an anthology, at least when it is approved by the copyright holders of the publications that were used. If this is done without the copyright holders' approval, it could be called an illegal (or unsanctioned, or pirated) anthology.

  2. No, it is not legal or ethical unless the "compiler" has obtained the permission of the copyright holders for the works that he/she has translated and compiled.

  3. I can't evaluate how bad it is exactly from your description, but it is illegal, and as such, at least somewhat bad. Some alternatives are to use open-access teaching materials (as Daniel Collins suggested), to use a local library, to purchase cheap used editions of textbooks A, B, and C, and to contact the copyright holders and ask for their approval for this project on a charitable basis and for limited distribution to the professor's students.

    Perhaps the first step I would suggest to this professor is to stop making rationalizations for why it is okay to violate copyright law. After this step, I suspect that several perfectly reasonable alternatives will naturally suggest themselves.

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