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HC restores publishers’ copyright suit (thehindu)

Allows Delhi University’s photocopying centre to prepare course packs for now

The Delhi High Court on Friday restored for trial the dispute whether photocopying study material was a violation of copyright while allowing Delhi University’s Rameshwari Photocopy Service to continue with preparing course packs for the time being.

A bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Yogesh Khanna, while setting aside a part of the single judge order in September dismissing the petition of publishers that the shop was violating copyright, said the shop must file a record of the course packs every six months.

The bench held that there were “triable issues” in the matter while the single judge had dismissed the petition of the publishers saying there was no copyright violation.

“The suit is restored for trial on the issue of fact and for which parties would be permitted to lead expert witness testimony,” the bench said.

According to the single judge, the issue whether preparation of the course packs by Rameshwari Photocopy Service amounted to infringement of copyright was a question of law not warranting a trial.

But the two-judge bench held that the issue “would require expert evidence.” “This would warrant an analysis of the course pack with reference to the objective of the course, the course content and the list of suggested readings given by the teacher to the students,” the bench said while restoring the issue for trial.

The matter will now be listed before another bench sometime in January next year.

While declining to grant any interim injunction against Rameshwari Photocopy Service from preparing course packs, the bench directed it to “maintain a record of course packs photocopied by it and supplied to the students. Every six months the statement of number of course packs photocopied and supplied shall be filed in the suit.”

“Publication need not be for the benefit of or available to or meant for reading by all the members of the community. A targeted audience would also be a public as rightly urged by learned counsel for the appellants,” the bench said.

The division bench was of the view that “the purpose of use would determine whether it is fair use,” which is one of the exceptions to infringement of copyright.


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