Photocopying and the Public Interest

Late last week, The Hindu’s Delhi edition reported about a raid on a photocopying service at Delhi University at the behest of Oxford University Press and others. Lawrence Liang offers a very stinging critique against this ridiculous legal proceeding, which seems most bizarre.

In full disclosure, I am co-editing a book to be published by OUP later this year. At the same time, the whole strategy of suing a university photocopying service seems deeply troubling, not to speak of the case’s shaky legal foundations to which Lawrence points.

I earnestly hope that the Delhi High Court will dismiss the law suit taking into account the larger public interest, which includes lakhs of poor students who cannot afford to buy academic textbooks or even student editions (which hardly exist in many cases).

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1 comment
  • Thanks, Vikram, for raising this issue here. Hopefully, Lawrence's longer analysis is available soon.

    A recent decision of the Canadian Supreme Court, delivered in July 2012, is relevant here, although the context is a bit different. In this case, the Canadian Supreme Court held that it was permissible for teachers to photocopy and distribute extracts from textbooks for use by students. A short summary of the decision, including relevant quotes, is available here.