The Delhi High Court in its recent ruling has ordered that photocopying of sections of various prescribed reference books for the use of students, does not violate the copyright of the publishers.
The ruling comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed by Oxford University Press; Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom (UK); Cambridge University Press India Pvt Ltd; Taylor & Francis Group, UK; and Taylor & Francis Books India Pvt Ltd in 2012. The lawsuit was filed against Delhi University and Rameshwari photocopy services. The trio asserted that bounded sets of photocopied material sold by the shop are in direct contravention with the 1957 Indian Copyright Act and said that the rights of reproduction rested only with the publisher.
The bench of Justice R S Endlaw, in a 94-page judgment released Friday, dismissed and held that since the Copyright Act allowed for reproduction of the books “for purpose of education” the photocopying of books by Rameshwari Photocopiers, located on Delhi School of Economics premises, would not constitute infringement of copyright.
The court declined to accept the arguments and held that “the words — in the course of instruction within the meaning of Section 52(1) (i) supra would include reproduction of any work while the process of imparting instruction by the teacher and receiving instruction by the pupil continues… Resultantly, reproduction of any copyrighted work by the teacher for the purpose of imparting instruction to the pupil as prescribed in the syllabus during the academic year would be within the meaning of Section 52 (1)(i) of the Act.”
According to the bench, the “University” was the same as “teacher” defined under the Act and the grant of permission by the university to a particular photocopier to create “course packets” from the “master copy” of the relevant extracts of various books made Rameshwari photocopier “a contractor to whom the defendant no.2, University, has outsourced its work of providing photocopying service for its students”.
The bench also said that students “can never be expected to buy all books.”
Prior to the judgement, the publishers said, “We will be considering the full judgment when it is made available, and shall decide the next course of action after consultation with our legal teams.”
Section 52 (1) of the Indian Copyrights Act of 1957, enlists certain provisions where the consequences of infringement does not apply in certain cases. (1) The following acts shall not constitute an infringement of copyright, namely :
(a) a fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purposes of —
( i ) research or private study ;
( ii ) criticism or review, whether of that work or of any other work;
(b) a fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purpose of reporting current events —
( i ) in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, or
( ii ) by radio-diffusion or in a cinematograph film or by means of photographs;