Aaron Swartz is no longer with us; a towering intellect he was, representing the best of conviction and passion in a world where, as the poet Yeats sadly noted:
Naturally, students, teachers and even authors of these text books have protested this aggressive law suit, particularly since this is perfectly acceptable under the Indian Copyright Act, which allows for “fair use” and permits any reproduction of copyrighted works, so long as it is done in the course of educational instruction.
This is not mala fide use, nor is anyone selling these ‘course packs’ for profit. Publishers going after students, many of them from economically disadvantaged communities, despite the high cost of textbooks, really begs the question – whither our constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right to education?
In this festive Christmas season of giving and sharing, one really wonders what is the point of all this copyright aggression. Do we want these poor students to buy entire textbooks for the sake of a few pages? Or perhaps access to knowledge is not a concern at all, when there is money to be made in the name of copyright.
The publishers have, using their legal might, secured a temporary victory with a recent Delhi High Court order restraining Delhi University and the photocopier from making and distributing ANY course-packs! Meanwhile, students have nowhere to go and are struggling to access very basic material required for exam preparations that are just round the corner.
“Pay up, pay up, pay up” seems to be the publishers’ mantra. But let’s sing along and battle this to the finish in true Christmas spirit. And lets hope that the new year brings in good cheer, as the Delhi High Court reverses the restraining order and rules in favour of students.
Share this with your friends, teachers, colleagues and others so everyone is made aware of this heinous injustice and we can all fight together to right this copy-wrong. For more information on this unfortunate law suit, see the well known Indian IP blog, SpicyIP which has been tracking these legal proceedings.”
The *only* way in which my book has been read has been through photocopying, and I have given copies of my book to individuals in India explicitly requesting that they photocopy and distribute as widely as possible. Without this, my work would only have been read by primarily Euro-American audiences, which would have defeated the very purpose of my being an academic.
ps: image from here.