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Copy row: Authors back DU students

delhi Updated: Mar 13, 2013 23:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The battle between publishers and the Rameshwari Photocopy Services in Delhi University over copyright just got more interesting.

A number of authors that Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis consortium claim to be fighting for have written a letter in support of the photocopy shop and the students’ right to photocopy material.

The authors include political scientist Partha Chatterjee, French political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot, Paul Brass, specialist in International Relations at the University of Washington, and historian Ayesha Jalal.

Nobel Prize winner, Amartya Sen, too had written to the Oxford University Press in September last year, asking it to reconsider its decision to pursue a case against photocopiers on the issue of course packs.

The consortium had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court claiming copyright infringement by Rameshwari Photocopy Services along with Delhi University as a co-defendant. The consortium had specifically raised objection against the course packs, which combine reading from various sources into one spiral-bound pack.

“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 letter says.

The letter has been signed by 309 authors in all, 33 out of whom have their books published by either the Oxford University Press, the Cambridge University Press or Taylor and Francis publishers and are specifically mentioned in the suit as authors suffering because of course packs.