Students in a hurry to skim through the syllabus ahead of exams can breathe easy. The friendly guides of voluminous textbooks have survived a legal challenge.
The Delhi high court on Wednesday ruled that guidebooks, which help easy study of textbooks and offer solutions to questions in subjects like mathematics, can't be seen to have violated copyright laws.
“It is just a derivative work and is covered under fair use. There is no question of copyright violation,” ruled a two-judge Bench headed by justice AK Sikri. The Chancellor Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford, which publishes academic books, challenged the contents of guidebooks published by Narendra Publishing for Class 12 mathematics.
The court upheld the argument of lawyer Pratibha Singh, who appeared for Narendra Publishing, that the guidebooks catered to a different category of students “who are weak and in a hurry to understand the whole syllabus”.
The court said the guidebooks don't disguise themselves as textbooks and don't contain theoretical or explanatory portions. They just provided step-by-step solutions to questions, which were copied for “fair use”.
The complainant stated that Narendra Publishing copied entire sets of questions from the former's mathematics textbooks for Class 11 and 12 students and solved them.
The court did not find merit in the argument of the textbook publisher that sequencing of chapters and questions were identical in the guidebooks, and authors and publishers of text had a copyright over these queries as well.