As 2008 gives way to the New Year, it will take away an era with it. Copyright on all works of Mahatma Gandhi will end on January 1, 200
According to Section 22 of the Copyright Act, 1957, a person’s work goes into the public domain 60 years after his death.
It means anybody can publish the Mahatma’s works — running into over two lakh pages — without seeking permission of or paying royalty to the Navajivan Trust, the custodian of Gandhiji’s writings.
But the Gandhian community is not perturbed over the possibility.
“Bapu never wanted copyright law, but later accepted it following some misrepresentations of his writings,” said Amrut Modi, managing trustee of the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust.
Unfazed by the likelihood of publishers picking up Gandhiji’s works for a profit, Managing Trustee Jitendra Desai reasons: “Even in profiteering, they would propagate Gandhian thought.”
Desai said the Trust would “place before readers Bapu’s views on various issues as and when it arises”. For example, he said, when deliberations on global warming hot up, the trust would dig out the Mahatma’s writings on human settlement and its linkages with environment to publish an anthology on the subject. So, the Mahatma would remain relevant, even if the copyright has gone.