In a significant development, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Taylor and Francis have withdrawn their copyright suit against Delhi University and Rameshwari Photocopy Centre. The withdrawal was made through a filing before the Delhi High Court this morning, as reported by SpicyIP.
“We have taken a considered decision not to pursue the Delhi University Photocopy shop case further in the courts and will today be filing an application with the Delhi High Court to withdraw as plaintiffs,” a joint statement from the publishers reportedly said.
You may read: A Critique of Delhi High Court Judgment in DU Photocopy Case by Mathews P. George & Chithra P. George
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 students was a “reasonable educational need”, and should not be treated as an infringement. Agreeing with the University, the High Court had then observed that copyright is not a “divine” right, and refused to accept the contentions put forth by the publishers.
The suit was dismissed by the High Court in September last year, banking 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. A fresh appeal was then filed in October, challenging this decision.
Following this, in December, a Division Bench of the Court had set aside the order passed by the Single Judge, and restored the trial on 2 key factual aspects. Soon after, a group of Oxford University academics, students and alumni had urged OUP to desist from filing an appeal in the Supreme Court against the ‘progressive’ decision. They had contended that considering the rising cost of education, the judgment was a ‘much welcomed move’, especially in a resource-constrained developing nation like India.
You may read: Delhi University Photocopy Shop Judgement: A Landmark In The Access To Knowledge Movement In India by Dr Arul George Scaria
You may also read: Education v. Publishing Rights —Needless Confrontation? by Abha Thapalyal Gandhi