Law

In Surprise Move, Publishers Withdraw Case Against DU Photocopy Shop

After appealing against the Delhi high court’s decision that photocopying did not constitute copyright infringement under Indian law,Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis have withdrawn their case.

Dharam Pal Singh at Rameshwari Photocopy Services. Credit: Radhika Oberoi

Dharam Pal Singh at Rameshwari Photocopy Services. Credit: Radhika Oberoi

New Delhi: Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis have withdrawn their copyright case against Delhi University and the Rameshwari photocopy shop in a surprise move, Spicy IP reported.

The case, which was first filed five years ago, rose to public prominence because of the questions it raised about copyright law and its relationship with educational institutions.

The publishing houses originally filed a complaint in August 2012 stating that that Rameshwari photocopy shop’s practice of selling bundles or compilations of reading material for various courses to DU students violated copyright law since the bundles included material from the textbooks published by these houses. The Delhi high court had imposed an injunction against the licensed vendor, favouring the publishers.

However, in September  2016, the high court ruled in favour of Rameshwari, stating that education is a social need and copyright was not divine. The court had ruled that photocopying educational materials was covered under section 52 (1)(i) of India’s Copyright Act.

The publishers initially appealed against this judgment in October, saying, “equitable access to knowledge is important. But such access would not exist without the efforts of content creators, authors, illustrators, designers, publishers and everyone else involved in the creation and dissemination of original content, and their rights must be respected. Access to knowledge will be reduced if this ceases to happen….”

But today (March 9), they withdrew their case, releasing a joint statement which said, “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.”