Private publishers seek CM’s help to address Balbharati copyright fee

Updated on Jun 07, 2018 03:05 PM IST
As per a policy announced on May 25, any textbook published with excerpts from Balbharati textbooks, without necessary permission, will face legal action. The move restricted private publishers from releasing supplementary books for the academic year 2018-2019.
Balbharati, the Maharashtra state bureau of textbook production and curriculum research, has planned to copyright its books in order to prevent commercialisation.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)
Balbharati, the Maharashtra state bureau of textbook production and curriculum research, has planned to copyright its books in order to prevent commercialisation.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, Pune | ByAnanya Barua, Pune

Balbharati, the Maharashtra state bureau of textbook production and curriculum research, has planned to copyright its books in order to prevent commercialisation.

Hence, private publishers will now require licence from the bureau, which is to be renewed every year. Irked by the development, the publishers’ body has decided to reach out to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for redressal. According to the publishers, the policy will cause them to incur substantial losses, as the books sold on market prices will not be enough to cover the licence fee.

The bureau had recently released a policy to copyright their textbooks for Classes 1 to 10. As per the policy, announced on May 25, any textbook published with excerpts from the Balbharati textbooks, without necessary permission, will face legal action. The move restricted private publishers from releasing supplementary books for the academic year 2018-2019.

“First of all, the publishers believe that they do not violate copyright infringement as they do not replicate the textbooks. The questions are taken from the textbooks and answers given are the respective authors’ own representation of the topic. Moreover, additional question-answers, grammar activities, practice problems and solutions etc. matter is created to give a complete coverage of the topic,” said Deepak Sheth, secretary, association of publishers and distributers.

As per the policy, a licence fee of 63,000 is to be paid for print, 31,000 for digital and 35,000 for tutorials, per medium, grade and subject. Only those publishers that make a turnover of less than 10 lakh are to be exempted from the fee.

“More than 85-90 per cent of publishers’ print run is between 3,000-5,000 copies per annum. The (licence fee) means that the cost of such supplementary books will increase by 15- 25, making it unaffordable for parents and students,” Sheth said.

The association has requested the CM to address the situation by implementing the licence policy from the next academic year after considering trade practices, automating licence process to avoid unhealthy practices and to charge reasonable licence fee depending on the medium and standard.

The Balbharati officials however, despite attempts were unavailable for a comment.

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