The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to interfere with a Delhi High Court order declining the plea of foreign publishers to stop a Delhi University-based photocopy shop from circulating photocopied books.
The apex court did not find merit in the petition moved by Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation (IRRO), a society formed under the 1957 Copyright Act for issue or grant of licences in respect of any literary work in which copyright subsists for reproduction on behalf of rights holders.
A Bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha said that since the main lawsuit, which was pending before a division Bench of the High Court, was withdrawn, it would not interfere with the order.
Senior advocate Aman Sinha, who appeared for the Delhi University in the matter, welcomed the apex court’s order saying the object of Copyright Act was to increase knowledge and not to impede it.
‘A developing country’
“We are a developing country with limited resources and a huge population. Students, teachers and education has to be given priority over private interests of a handful of copyright owners for financial gains,” Mr. Sinha said.
He also referred to a provision of the Act and said it has been specifically incorporated for benefit of students.
The division Bench of the High Court, in its order, had not stopped the shop from selling photocopies of textbooks published by leading foreign publishers: Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press (UK), Taylor and Francis Group (UK) and Taylor and Francis Books India Pvt Ltd’s.
The publishers had told the division Bench that they had decided to withdraw the suit against Rameshwari Photocopy shop as they did not want to engage in a legal battle with their stakeholders — the educational institutions.
The publishers had approached the division Bench against the HC’s single judge order, which had allowed the shop to sell photocopies of their textbooks saying copyright in literary works does not confer “absolute ownership” to the authors.