Three international publishers – Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis – have decided to withdraw a case against a photocopy shop on the Delhi University campus. “We have taken a considered decision not to pursue the Delhi University photocopy shop case further in the courts and will today [Thursday] be filing an application with the Delhi High Court to withdraw as plaintiffs,” the three publishers said in a statement.
They have also decided not to move the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court’s December verdict in the photocopying case. On December 9 last year, the Delhi High Court had restored the suit filed against the sale of photocopies of textbooks. The bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Yogesh Khanna had asked the shop, Rameshwari Photocopy Services, to maintain a record of course packs photocopied by it and supplied to students. They also said the owner must submit their records every six months.
This came almost three months after the high court had dismissed the plea filed by the publishers, saying that “copyright is not a divine right”. On September 16, the court had also lifted a ban imposed on a bookseller from selling the material.
The publishers had moved the court against the sale of certain textbooks by the shop in 2012. The defendant had argued that if students are free to make photocopies of textbooks at libraries, why can they not have access to books reproduced entirely. However, the court had then ruled in favour of the petitioners and directed a stay on the sale of such books at the shop.
Apoorva Gautam, who had formed the Association of Students’ for Equitable Access to Knowledge after the lawsuit was filed, told Scroll.in that the publishers’ move took them by surprise. “We were not expecting this at all. In fact, we were preparing ourselves for a prolonged court battle...It affirms our stand that we have done nothing wrong by using photocopied material... this is a definitive victory,” he added.