Indian university struggles with copyright lawsuit

Featured - September 27th, 2012
thumb

Three major academic publishers have filed a lawsuit against Delhi University and Rameshwari Photocopy Services, sparking debate on copyright and affordable source materials, Wall Street Journal reports.

Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis sued the Delhi University and the photocopy service within the campus for “large-scale reproduction of copyrighted material without any authorization”. The publishers, through their lawyer, said that the university itself marked sections of books for photocopying, infringing the rights of authors and publishers.

Photocopying is considered a common practice for students who are often assigned with ‘readings’ from a variety of books or other source materials. Rather than purchasing each one, which would be quite expensive, students resort to photocopying – a much cheaper alternative. However, there are repercussions to the publishing industry.

Aside from copyright infringement, large-scale reproduction off-balances the publishing industry mostly driven by revenues from purchases of printed materials. According to the Wall Street Journal, the root of the problem lies on affordability of source materials as much as availability in university libraries.

“Destroying the incentive to publish by bringing in wide exceptions to copyright law is only going to ensure few incentives for the publishing industry to invest resources in the India market,” Prashant Reddy of the Business Standard said. Students said they would boycott books from the three publishers and “would work on other options of open sources and free dissemination of knowledge and urge other faculty and students to do the same”, The Hindu reports.