Appeal to Publishers to withdraw suit filed against Delhi University
  • Petitioned Academics

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Academics

Appeal to Publishers to withdraw suit filed against Delhi University

    1. Danish  Sheikh
    2. Petition by

      Danish Sheikh

      Bangalore, India

It has come to our attention that Oxford University Press along with Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis have filed a petition in the Delhi High Court claiming copyright infringement by Rameshwari Photocopy Services along with Delhi University as a co-defendant. We are given to believe that the infringement that has been claimed is with respect to course packs that are used as a part of various social science subjects including history, politics, economics, sociology etc. As authors and educators, we would like to place on record our distress at this act of the publishers, as we recognize the fact that in a country like India marked by sharp economic inequalities, it is often not possible for every student to obtain a personal copy of a book. In that situation the next best thing would have been for multiple copies of the book to be available in the library so that students are able to access these books without any difficulty. But given the constraints that libraries in India work with, they may only have a single copy of a book and in many instances, none at all. The reason we make course packs is to ensure that students have access to the most relevant portions of the book without which we would be seriously compromising their education.

The argument made by publishers for strong copyright enforcement is based on presumed losses caused to them. Given the pricing strategy followed by publishers, we do not believe that students are the primary market for these books and hence it would be disingenuous to presume that every photocopied article or book would be a lost sale. We would also like to refute the claim that academic publishing is sustained by the investments made by publishers. This claim hides the fact that most academics are able to write books because they are supported by public infrastructure and money by virtue of being employed by universities or research centers. Academic writers are paid salaries and make their living from the university system, which in India is still largely government subsidized. Academic authors could not possibly make anything close to a living from the royalties that publishing houses offer them. This means in effect that the profits of academic publishing houses are under-written by tax-payers’ money, and there is a huge public contribution to the profits made by academic publishing houses.

That apart, we believe that these course packs fall very much within the ambit of statutory limitations to copyright and in particular are covered under Sec. 52 of the Copyright Act.

Sec. 52(1)(i) allows for ‘the reproduction of any work by a teacher or a pupil in the course of instruction’ or as a part of questions or answers to questions.

Sec. 52(1)(a) allows for a fair dealing with any work (except computer programs) for the purposes of private or personal use, including research.

In most countries in the world there are copyright exceptions made for educational uses and this provision is most critical in developing countries in which the cost of books, in proportion to incomes, is exorbitant.

We would finally like to place on record that the petitions filed by the publishers claim that they are acting on behalf of authors and representing the interest of authors. As academics and authors we believe that the wider circulation of our work will only result in a richer academic community and it is unfortunate that you would choose to alienate teachers and students who are indeed your main readers and we urge you to consider withdrawing this petition.

Please find an updated list of signatories at: http://publishersversusstudentsofindia.blogspot.in/2012/10/list-of-signatories-on-academics-appeal.html

Recent signatures

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    1. Reached 1,000 signatures

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    Reasons for signing

    • Samraat Basu INDIA
      • 10 months ago

      This is important to me because it is vital for the development of our country that students from all backgrounds have access to books which are otherwise out of their budget.

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    • jamie perera LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 10 months ago

      There is always a middle way.

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    • tiziana callari LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 11 months ago

      Please note! many of my friends have signed but their name doesn't appear in the recent signatures list. why?

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    • tiziana callari LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 11 months ago

      I think that what they are doing is disgraceful, they act like greedy corporations with nothing to do with education, I am experiencing a dispute with Cambridge publisher myself, for not recognising my right on one image published in one of their book, without my consent, they are ignoring my rights this makes me feeling for this cause even more! I hope these companies will gets exposed for what they are doing. Wish you all the best luck.

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    • tiziana callari LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 11 months ago

      BECAUSE I BELIEVE you are fighting a right cause also I am in despute with Cambridge pubblisher who has pubblished my photograph on one of his book and they are denying me the rights to get compensation or even have my name on the picture, I am also setting up a petition to travel around the world to all university to boycott the pubblisher as their conduct is disgraceful. please get in touch if we can help each other with these issues I will make sure your petition appears on my fb and wish people will sign it . good luck with all your work . best Tiziana

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