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This is indeed a limitation of the Ubuntu ppa. See also the similar problem on sage-support.

One way to go is indeed to chage the permissions of /usr/lib/sagemath/

$ sudo chown -R YOUR_NAME:YOUR_NAME /usr/lib/sagemath

and then do the installation with "sage -p THE_PACKAGE" (no sudo). Note that the "-p" (for package) is replacing the "-i" now.