Saturday, September 17, 2016

Delhi HC: Copying books for teaching is not copyright violation

Copying books for teaching is not copyright violation: HC

AKANKSHA JAIN

NEW DELHI, September 17, 2016

The Delhi High Court on Friday held that the photocopying of course packs prepared by Delhi University comprising portions from books published by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis did not amount to infringement of copyright.

The court dismissed the suit initiated by the publishing majors, which had sued Delhi University and Rameshwari Photocopying Services, a kiosk inside Delhi School of Economics, claiming infringement of copyright by engaging in preparing copies of course packs with portions culled out of its books in keeping with the syllabus prescribed by the varsity.

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also lifted the stay on the kiosk from photocopying the course packs. The case had seen protest by students who backed the kiosk.

“Copyright, especially 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,” said Justice Endlaw.

“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,”he added.


Also read FULL Judgment at the following links



Also read the related Editorial 

Copyright and copy-making

September 21, 2016

The Delhi High Court verdict that photocopying portions of academic publications to make course packs for students does not amount to copyright infringement has been interpreted by many as a victory for the wider public interest of ensuring affordable access to quality educational material. The only question of law that arose in the suit filed by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis was whether the making of course packs by the Delhi University by authorising a photocopying store to make numerous copies of course material drawn from different books amounts to copyright infringement. The court says copyright is not a natural or common law right in India, but is subject to statute. It proceeds to hold that photocopying for academic purposes is not an infringement as Section 52(1)(i) of the Copyright Act permits the making of copies of literary works by a teacher or pupil ‘in the course of instruction’, a phrase interpreted to cover whole academic sessions, from the preparation of syllabus onwards.

Given that the law contains provisions barring infringement of copyright and listing acts that do not constitute infringement, there is no doubt that the legislature wanted to balance copyright protection with the public interest in ensuring access. Interestingly, the judge sees the ‘no infringement’ clauses as being consistent with articles in the Berne Convention and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which provide for domestic legislation to permit reproductions for specific purposes, as long as they do not conflict with normal exploitation of the works or unreasonably prejudice the rights-holder. The publishers have argued, in vain, that universities should not allow unrestricted photocopying, but instead apply for licences through the Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation, a registered copyright society. The publishers may pursue this aspect in their appeal, if there is one. The verdict may justly raise the concern whether conferring unrestricted reprographic rights on academic institutions will drive reputed publishers out of the field of education. It is true that academic publications, especially international ones, are expensive, putting them beyond the reach of many students. But the question is whether the balance between the competing interests has been fully preserved in the law. If reputed publishers feel that there is insufficient copyright protection and back out of educational publishing in the country, it will be equally injurious to the public interest.

Sources: http://www.thehindu.com

Also read the related Article

A blow for the right to knowledge

LAWRENCE LIANG

September 19, 2016

The Delhi High Court has restored to copyright jurisprudence a clear mandate for the future — one which recognises that the end goal of technology is the improvement of our lives

In its much awaited judgment in the Delhi University photocopying case (The Chancellor Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford v. Rameshwari Photocopy Services), the Delhi High Court has dismissed the copyright infringement petition initiated in August 2012 by three publishers (Oxford, Cambridge and Taylor & Francis) against a photocopy shop located in the premises of Delhi University. This case, which was being closely tracked by students, teachers and the publishing industry alike, was seen as one with immense significance for questions of access to knowledge. While initially involving only the publishers, the photocopier and the university, the case also saw intervention petitions being filed by a student group (Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge) as well as by teachers and academics (Society for Promoting Educational Access and Knowledge). While the publishers made the argument that the creation of course packs and the photocopying of academic material for the same amounted to an infringement of the exclusive copyright of the authors and publishers, the defendants argued that the reproduction of materials for educational purposes fell within the exceptions to copyright under Section 52(1)(i) of the Copyright Act.

Not a moral right

In his considered and sharply reasoned judgment, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw examines the gamut of arguments made by both sides and arrives at the conclusion that copyright is a statutory right and not a natural right, and hence any right that is granted to owners is also limited by exceptions carved out by law. The nature of Section 52 of the Copyright Act is such that any act falling within its scope will not constitute infringement. Section 52(1)(i) allows for the reproduction of any work i) by a teacher or a pupil in the course of instruction; or ii) as part of the questions to be answered in an examination; or iii) in answers to such questions.

The crux of the dispute was about whether course packs fall within this exception. The petitioners tried to provide a narrow reading of the section, claiming that at best what the section allows for is the provision of materials in the course of a lecture and spatially restricted to a classroom. The court, while rejecting this claim, argues that “instruction” cannot be narrowly understood and, through a historically informed reading of the phrase “in the course of”, concludes that instruction includes the entire ambit of pedagogy from the creation of syllabus to teaching and provision of reading materials.

It then locates the question of education within a changing technological environment, and argues that “when an action, if onerously done, is not an offence, it cannot become an offence when, owing to advancement in technology doing thereof has been simplified” (paragraph 75). To make this point, Justice Endlaw contrasts his own experiences as a law student where photocopying was very limited and studying entailed students copying by hand, scribe like, pages after pages of books. Photocopiers have just made the task simpler and faster, but if the act of copying for a particular purpose is itself not illegal, and “the effect of the action is the same, the difference in the mode of action cannot make a difference so as to make one an offence”.

For progress

In a clear statement of the philosophical basis of copyright law, Justice Endlaw rejects the populist and unidimensional assumption that copyright is about the protection of the property rights of owners. He notes instead: “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.”

If copyright was always about maintaining a balance between competing ideas of private and public interest, the Delhi High Court has restored to copyright jurisprudence a clear mandate for the future, one which is cognisant that the end goal of technology is the improvement of our lives (material and intellectual) and “no law can be interpreted so as to result in any regression of the evolvement of the human being for the better” (paragraph 87).

Global implications

The judgment has immense consequences beyond India and is a bold articulation of the principles of equitable access to knowledge — and one that deserves to be emulated globally. For a while now, the globalisation of copyright norms through international law (Berne Convention, TRIPS Agreement) has been accompanied by the globalisation of copyright standards that have primarily emerged from the global north. Aggressively pushed by the copyright lobby, such as Hollywood, the music industry and the publishing cartels, copyright law had effectively been hijacked by narrow commercial interests (albeit always speaking in the name of authors and creators). Thus even when it came to discussing fair use and exceptions and limitations, countries have found themselves constrained by judicial precedents from the U.S. and elsewhere that have defined quantitative restrictions on photocopying.

In a radical move, the Delhi High Court has concluded that if Indian law makers have allowed through statute for the reproduction of a copyrighted work in the course of instruction, it has done so on the basis of purpose (teaching) and with the conviction that this does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interest of the author. Further, this flexibility is provided to it through international law, and it is not the place of courts to impose artificial restrictions by way of quantitative limits. Justice Endlaw, while arriving at this conclusion, is acutely aware of the specific needs of countries like India where libraries and universities have to cope with the needs of thousands of students simultaneously, and it would be naïve to expect every student to buy copies of every book.

An interesting question to consider is whether the judgment effectively makes a clear distinction between fair dealing on the one hand (which is subject to doctrinal tests such as the Three-Step test), and in the copyright act in India governs personal use including research versus a clear statutory exception for educational use. This aspect of the judgment could almost be read as an instructional manual for countries who find themselves straitjackets under international copyright laws, and yet want to ensure the greatest flexibility in the way that they design a system that addresses their specific needs.

How will publishers respond?

While this judgment delivers a terrible blow to the publishers, the crucial question is, how will they respond? Through the entire case the publishers have alienated the student and academic community, and while it is within their right to appeal the judgment, it may be both politically prudent and ethically right not to do so. Teacher, readers, students and photocopiers are not the enemies of publishers; they are their greatest allies. In a time when books and reading itself are under threat from competing media forms, it may be useful to remember that it is education and greater access that makes readers, not copyright.

Lawrence Liang is a professor of law at Ambedkar University, Delhi, currently teaching at Yale University.

Sources: http://www.thehindu.com


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This Blog Spot is meant for publishing landmark judgments pronounced by the Court of law as we collected from the renowned Dailies, Magazines, etc., so as to create an awareness to the general public and also to keep it as a ready reckoner by them. As such the readers may extend their gratitude towards the Original Author as we quoted at the bottom of each Post under the title "Courtesy/Sources". Furthermore, the Blog Authors are no way responsible for the correctness of the materials published herein and the readers may verify the concerned valuable sources.



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