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Students rejoice as Delhi High Court rejects publishers' plea against photocopying
Abhey Narula 23 Sep 2016

Students rejoice as Delhi High Court rejects publishers' plea against photocopying

For almost four years, students studying at the north campus of Delhi University were struggling with copying notes and making compilations of study material as most of the photocopy shops around campus refused to offer photocopy services to them.

This was because of an interim order by the Delhi high court in 2012 restricting photocopying of textbooks and course materials by a shop in the campus premises named Rajeshwari photocopy.

The order was passed on a plea brought by a group of international publishers namely-

  • Oxford University Press
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Taylor and Francis Group

Alleging copyright infringement through photocopies of course material and text books which were used by students for university examinations.

In a unique and landmark ruling, the Delhi High Court dismissed the publisher’s plea and while protecting students’ interest held such practice did not amount to copyright infringement. As a result, students can now freely obtained photocopied compilations of notes and course material from Rajeshwari photocopy shop and other shops in  the campus.

The students’ interest as a whole was given importance as it was held that photocopying of textbooks, notes etc for educational purposes was covered under the exception of “fair use” under the Copyright Act, 1957 due to which infringement could not be made out.

It was noted that with technological advancement students taking pictures of notes and sharing them with each other could not be stopped and the same would apply to photocopying.

Although the case was specifically against Rajeshwari photocopy shop, other photocopy shops in the vicinity also stopped providing photocopy services to students for the fear of a case being filed against them.

This was one such case which attracted attention from academicians, lawyers, activists alike. A student body called Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge (ASEAK) was formed to put forth the concerns of the students and highlight the difficulties that they were facing due to the restrain order.

Time and again they contended that most students could not afford to buy new books considering a large number of books that were used for examinations and it would be unfair to burden them with additional expenses.

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