The Delhi high court has reportedly dismissed suits filed by three reputed international publishers against the sale of photocopied books in Delhi University. According to Hindustan Times, the landmark verdict, which is likely to have a wide-reaching impact on the country’s copyright laws, was pronounced by Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw on Friday.
The report said that in November 2012, the court had banned the Rameshwari Photocopy Service located in north campus on a petition moved by publishers, including University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis.
The publishers had alleged 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 had said the use of reproduced copyrighted books by students was a “reasonable educational needs” and should not be treated as infringement. The students had also reportedly rallied behind the kiosk, saying most of the books were too expensive.
It argued that calling reproduction of copyrighted books for educational purpose as infringement was “wrong.” Under the copyright Act, 1957, there are exemptions on “fair use” of work including educational propose from the purview of infringement, the university had said.
“The court has actually said that copyright is not divine and that education is an important social need. This is a huge moment.” “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,” the HT report quoted Shamnad Basheer, an intellectual property law expert, as saying.
The HC decision also sent out a signal that the country wouldn’t follow global trends that have tended to side with private copyright demands, they added. “We are not going to blindly adhere to western norms. We will look at our laws and requirements. This judgment cements that stand,” Basheer said.