Delhi University (DU) students Friday hailed the Delhi High Court judgment which dismissed a case of copyright infringement against a photocopy shop in the North Campus by publishers. The Association of Students’ for Equitable Access to Knowledge (ASEAK) termed it a “rare and incredible order”.
Formed in 2012 as a response to the legal order by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis Group, ASEAK was made a defendant in the case to represent the students’ voice.
“This moment is one where the struggle and conviction of students has asserted itself in a powerful way. We want to remind the publishers that their market ends at the gates of the university. The knowledge produced in public universities belongs to the public. When the world is moving towards open access to knowledge, trying to control it is simply redundant,” ASEAK said in a statement.
It added, “Students pursuing higher education in India come from starkly different socio-economic backgrounds. Further, most public universities work with a severe resource crunch. This is worsened by the high costs and limited reach of academic books. Photocopying, then, is just a quick fix in a system which is unable to meet simple demands of students studying in universities.”
Abir Misra, an MPhil student of Sociology at the Delhi University, said the judgment was important since photocopy shops were the “life and blood” of students.
“Even in the age of PDFs, we are dependent on hard copies, especially for some classics which are carefully preserved in the library. The judgment restores what we see as a mechanism for providing us the basic minimum — texts to read,” he said.
Burhan Qureshi, another MPhil Sociology student, said the judgment was “democratic”. “The judgment ensures that knowledge production and consumption do not remain an elite upper class, upper caste concern,” he said.
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