“Copyright, specially in literary works, is thus not an inevitable, divine, or natural right that confers on authors the absolute ownership of their creations”, said the Court
The High Court of Delhi on Friday dismissed suits by a group of international publishers against sale of photocopies of text books and course material by a shop in Delhi University.
The 94-page landmark IP ruling banked on the observation that section 52(1) (i) of the Copyright Act is broad enough to cover the acts of photocopying and the creation of course packs by University for its students.
“If Delhi University can photocopy, so can its agents (Rameshwari photocopy shop) or any other photocopier, whether inside or outside the University,”
“Copyright, specially in literary works, is thus not an inevitable, divine, or natural right that confers on authors the absolute ownership of their creations. It is designed rather to stimulate activity and progress in the arts for the intellectual enrichment of the public. Copyright is intended to increase and not to impede the harvest of knowledge. It is intended to motivate the creative activity of authors and inventors in order to benefit the public”, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw observed
The legal battle had begun in August 2012, with publishers such as Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis Group petitioning the Court with a suit for copyright infringement by Rameshwari photocopy shop, a licensed vendor in the north campus of Delhi University.
The publishers had alleged that the kiosk was violating their copyrights by sale of compilations of parts of books in the form of course packs. The Court had then issued an interim stay against the kiosk in October 2012.
Defending their stand, DU had contended that the use of reproduced copyrighted books by student was a“reasonable educational need” and should not be treated as an infringement. Agreeing with the University, the High Court observed that copyright is not a “divine” right and refused to accept the contentions put forth by the publishers.
Rejoicing at the verdict, Prof. Shamnad Basheer was quoted as saying, “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… We are not going to blindly adhere to western norms. We will look at our laws and requirements. This judgment cements that stand.”
Read the Judgment here.