After the Delhi High Court on Friday said photocopying of copyright material for educational purposes was allowed by law, the owner of the Delhi University-based photocopy service — against whom a case of violation of the Copyright Law was filed by international publishers — said he welcomed the decision.
On the court’s assertion that the selling of these packs can be “justified by the purpose of the course pack”, the owner, Dharam Pal Singh, said he had no reason to create course packs beyond the curriculum.
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“We will abide by whatever the court says. As of now, there are no clear guidelines on photocopying for educational purposes, so that can create some confusion. There should be a clear set of norms that everyone can follow. As far as course packs are concerned, they are necessary for students and we only include those reading materials which are listed by professors,” said Singh.
“When we create course packs, we only include the essential and suggested readings given by a professor. Even in that case, only the important parts are photocopied and not the whole book. For example, on the topic of Agrarian Sociology, we have about 10 pages each from about 33 readings. How will it benefit us to add readings that aren’t prescribed to students? They’ll return it and it’ll be a loss for us,” said Singh.
He said course packs were essential for students, keeping in mind the availability, price and circulation of certain books.
“For some subjects, you can have different readings, but sometimes all students need the same book. Do we have enough copies? Some of them cost upwards of Rs 2,000, others have been last published in the 1940s or 50s. In fact, we are preserving data,” he said.
Along with Ramweshwari Photocopy Service at the Delhi School of Economics, the Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge (ASEAK) was also a made a defendant in the case. They too welcomed the order as “fair” and “balanced”.