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DU photocopy shop with Swathi Sukumar, Shamnad & IP doyens wins big vs publishing goliaths [READ JUDGMENT]

Advocate Swathi Sukumar acting for Shamnad Basheer and other legal and social academics, won for a Delhi University photocopying shop in the Delhi high court, which dismissed the copyright suit of three international publishers against it, reported various media.

Basheer wrote in emails to Spicy IP: “This decision will prove one of the biggest landmarks in IP jurisprudence the world over. And clearly spells out that private rights will have to yield to larger social goals which have to be interpreted widely.”

“And India once again asserts itself and shows that IP has to be carefully calibrated against other more powerful social goals such as education! Will bring you more soon!”

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw lifted the November 2012 ban on Rameshwari Photocopy Service, disposing of the case moved by publishers including University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis, according to Hindustan Times.

The international publishing giants had alleged that Rameshwari was violating their copyright at the instance of Delhi University, by copying extracts from their books, and causing huge financial losses as students stopped buying their text books to them in the process, reported HT But DU supported the photocopiers under the “Fair Use” exception.

According to Basheer’s email to Spicy IP, Justice Endlaw’s 94 page judgement, a copy of which was not available at the time of going to press, dismissed the publisher’s suit as a whole on account of absent cause of action. In his email he said that the judge ruled that the educational exception under the Copyright Act applied to Rameshwari, and that the exception should be interpreted to have a wide coverage – including all kinds of photocopying such as even copying for preparatory work for class - instead of just being limited to photocopying in the classroom. Also, DU’s rights to photocopy extend to its agents, such as Rameshwari, as well.

“Copyright is not a ‘divine’ right,” the judge remarked according to Basheer.

Read judgment here (PDF) / Indian Kanoon.

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