Photocopying in Delhi University might soon become a thing of the past. Prominent publishers like, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis have filed a suit against Rameshwari Photocopy Service, a photocopy shop located in the Delhi School of Economics for copyright infringement and creating 'illegal, pirated' versions of books, reports, the Indian Express.
According to this report in the Hindu, the Delhi High Court had issued an order on August 14 appointing a local commissioner to visit, without any prior notice, the premises of Rameshwari Photocopying Service. An inventory of all the infringing or pirated copies was to be made and to be seized and handed over to the defendants only on the basis of a surety. The raid took place on Saturday.
The Indian Express report also states that raid has caused much consternation in the University with other photocopy shops in the area exercising caution and not photocopying books either. For students, no photocopying means no access to reading material that is crucial to the syllabus.
Delhi University typically prescribes a couple of articles or essential readings for each section of a paper. Very often students may want to get an entire book photocopied, even if their course may not require them to read the entire book. This is of course a violation of copyrights but academic books are sharply priced. Nor do libraries have more than 4 or 5 copies of some rare books. Thus, some students find it cheaper to photocopy.
On the publishers side, academic books involve a high-cost of production, both on part of the publisher and the author who often spend years of research before a book is published. It can't be denied that mass photocopies would certainly impact their revenues in a negative way and they would want to protect that.
This will likely be one, where Universities might have to step in to talk to publishers to stock versions or greater portions of books for student use. Or perhaps, for the first time in India the library might get pride of place with larger budgets?