In an epic battle between three international book publishers and the Delhi University (DU) photocopy shops, the latter was declared the winner by the Delhi High Court today. “The plea is dismissed,” said justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, as he delivered the verdict following which students will be able to buy photocopies of text books and course material.
Copyright laws are meant to balance public and private interests but in recent years, the public interest has been eroded due to lobbying. The HC has restored that balance. – Shamnad Basheer, intellectual property law expert
This verdict comes as a relief to thousands of students who rely on these xeroxed books, which are relatively cheaper than the high-priced books. All of this started in November 2012, when the court had banned the iconic Rameshwari Photocopy Service located near the Delhi School for Economics in north campus on a petition moved by publishers including University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis, who found that the kiosk was violating their copyright and “at the instance of Delhi University” was causing huge financial losses as students stopped buying their text books. The University in turn had put forth the argument that this was done only for educational purposes owing to students not being able to afford these expensive titles, and had in no way exploited the contents of the book for any commercial purposes.
The verdict has held that copyright is not a ‘divine right’, saying photocopying and creation of course packs by educational institutions is covered under provisions of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957.
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