The Chancellor, Masters & Scholars of the University of Oxford & Ors. v. Rameshwari Photocopy Services & Ors. [DU Photocopying Case]

In a landmark judgment, the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court on December 9, 2016 ruled that the preparation of ‘course packs’ i.e. compilation of photocopies of the relevant portions of different books prescribed in the syllabus, and their distribution to the students by educational institutions does not constitute infringement of copyright in those books under the Copyright Act, 1957, as long as the inclusion of the works photocopied (irrespective of the quantity) was justified by the purpose of educational instruction. It held that such photocopying qualifies as reproduction of the work by a teacher in the course of instruction and thus does not amount to copyright infringement by virtue of Section 52(1)(i) of the Act. In effect, it held that the educational institutions do not require a license or permission from the publishers for making and distributing course packs to students if the copyrighted materials included in them are necessary for the purpose of instructional use by the teacher to the class.


The suit was instituted before the Delhi High Court in August 2012 by three of the foremost publishers of scholarly, general and reference books in all disciplines of academia, namely, the Oxford University Press, the Cambridge University Press and the Taylor & Francis Group (“Plaintiff-Publishers”) for permanent injunction against infringement of copyright in their publications by the University of Delhi (“Delhi University” or “Defendant No. 2”) and a photocopy shop named Rameshwari Photocopy Service (“Defendant No. 1”) operating in the University under a license from it. The Plaintiff-Publishers alleged that the Defendants had been photocopying substantial excerpts from their publications that were part of the prescribed syllabus and issuing/selling unauthorized compilations of them in the form of course packs or anthologies, thereby infringing their copyright in those publications under Section 51 r/w Section 14 of the Copyright Act. They argued that Delhi University seek a license from the Indian Reprographic Rights Organization (“IRRO”), a copyright society registered under the Act, that permits only up to 15% of a copyrighted work to be reproduced (in a course pack or otherwise).

The suit came up for the first hearing before the court on August 14, 2012. The court appointed a Local Commissioner to visit the premises of Defendant No. 1 without prior notice and seize all allegedly infringing copies of the Plaintiff-Publishers’ works made by it after making an inventory of the same.

Thereafter, the Defendants contested the suit by arguing, inter alia, that their actions constituted fair use of the Plaintiff-Publishers’ works under sections 52(1)(i), 52(1)(a) and 52(1)(h) of the Act and therefore did not amount to copyright infringement.

For copies of the plaint filed by the Plaintiff-Publishers, the order appointing a Local Commissioner, written statements filed by the Defendants and the notes of arguments submitted, please see the Resources section below.

Also, for the text of the relevant provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957 and a copy of the entire Act, please see below.

Interim Injunction

On October 17, 2012, the Plaintiff-Publishers succeeded in obtaining an interim injunction restraining the Defendant No. 1 from making/selling these course packs. In pertinent part, the Single Judge imposed the following strictures:

“Defendant no.1 is the photocopier running its shop under licence from the defendant no. 2. The defendant no.1 has no right to compile such course packs and books/articles published by the plaintiffs and more so, when defendant no.2/University has taken a stand that that they have no intention to breach any law by making such reproductions as complained of by the plaintiff in the present suit.

The defendant no.1 is accordingly restrained from making or selling course packs and also reproducing the plaintiff?s publication or substantial portion thereof by compiling the same either in a book form or in the form of a course pack, till the final disposal of the said application.”

The Delhi University preferred an appeal before the Division Bench of the court against this restraining order which, although not directed at it, recorded it to have made an alleged admission/undertaking that it would not be committing any acts that were claimed to be infringing by the Plaintiff-Publishers. However, the court dismissed the appeal on November 27, 2012, directing the University to file an application before the Single Judge to clarify the scope of the stand taken by it.

For copies of the Single Judge’s order granting interim injunction and Division Bench’s order dismissing the appeal, please see the Resources section below.

Impleadment of ASEAK and SPEAK as Defendants

In 2013, ASEAK (Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge), an association of students of the Delhi University, approached the High Court to be impleaded as a ‘necessary party’ to represent the large numbers of students directly affected by the interim injunction and having a direct interest in the outcome of the suit. It stated that the course packs are the only effective means to ensure access to knowledge and is excepted from copyright infringement under Sections 52(1)(a) and 52(1)(i) of the Copyright Act. ASEAK’s application was allowed and it was impleaded as Defendant No. 3 on March 1, 2013.

Similarly, SPEAK (Society for Promotion of Equitable Access to Knowledge), a society of scholars and academics from amongst varied disciplines in law and social sciences approached the High Court seeking to be made a ‘necessary party’. SPEAK argued that the educational exception contained in Section 52(1)(i) of the Copyright Act ought not to be viewed as a mere exception, but a potent right in favour of students and universities. Pertinently, SPEAK pointed to some of the critical institutional issues and resource constraints around higher education in India. It referred to an empirical study where the authors had demonstrated that a number of legal and social science texts were prohibitively expensive. The latest editions of these texts were not often available in India. Rather the publishers were content with dumping old outdated editions (at lower prices) in India. As for the latest editions, they had to be imported at considerable costs, often exceeding those charged in the western markets, home to many of these profiteering publishers. SPEAK’s application was also allowed and it was impleaded as Defendant No. 4 on April 12, 2013.

For copies of the impleadment applications filed by Defendants No. 3 & 4, the orders allowing their impleadment and the written statements and notes of arguments submitted by them, please see the Resources section below.

The Campaign against the Suit

A number of students, academics and civil society members came out strongly in protest against this suit, expressing their concern regarding the implications on access to knowledge and education in India.  In an online petition started on Change.ORG, over 1,250 academics and authors wrote as below:

“… As authors and educators, we would like to place on record our distress at this act of the publishers, as we recognize the fact that in a country like India marked by sharp economic inequalities, it is often not possible for every student to obtain a personal copy of a book. In that situation the next best thing would have been for multiple copies of the book to be available in the library so that students are able to access these books without any difficulty. But given the constraints that libraries in India work with, they may only have a single copy of a book and in many instances, none at all. The reason we make course packs is to ensure that students have access to the most relevant portions of the book without which we would be seriously compromising their education.”

More than 309 eminent writers and academicians from all over the world, in March 2013, also wrote a letter to the publishers asking them to withdraw the suit. Interestingly, 33 out of these 309 signatories had a direct association with the Plaintiff-Publishers and were authors of works, the copyright in which was allegedly infringed by Delhi University and its photocopier. The signatories included eminent scholars such as Thomas Blom Hansen, Partha Chatterjee, Ayesha Jalal, Christophe Jaffrelot, Veena Das, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Marc Galanter and Professors Richard Falk, Arjun Appadurai, Jonathan Parry, Ramachandra Guha, Farid Esack, TN Madan, Ian Copland, Tanika Sarkar and Uma Chakravarty.

These prominent authors stated that they were more than happy for students to copy their works. And that the publishers by filing the law suit were not speaking in their name. They also noted that academic publishing was heavily subsidized through their salaries (many of them at publicly funded institutions), government funding to libraries to purchase books and the free labour of academics in peer reviews etc.

Single Bench’s Judgment

On September 16, 2016, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw dismissed the entire suit of the plaintiffs. He concluded that the impugned actions of the Defendants do not amount to copyright infringement, relying pertinently upon Section 52(1)(i) of the Act, which provides that any reproduction of a copyrighted work by a teacher or pupil in the course of instruction does not constitute copyright infringement.

Some of the key highlights of the decision are as below:

1. Copyright is not a natural or divine right, but only a statutory right.

Copyright, specially in literary works, is thus not an inevitable, divine, or natural right that confers on authors the absolute ownership of their creations. It is designed rather to stimulate activity and progress in the arts for the intellectual enrichment of the public. Copyright is intended to increase and not to impede the harvest of knowledge.

2. Section 52 is to be interpreted not as a narrow exception but a full-fledged defence in favour of educational institutions and students.

[T]he rights of persons mentioned in Section 52 are to be interpreted following the same rules as the rights of a copyright owner and are not to be read narrowly or strictly or so as not to reduce the ambit of Section 51, as is the rule of interpretation of statutes in relation to provisos or exceptions. Thus, Sections 14 and 51 on the one hand and Section 52 on the other hand are to be read as any two provisions of a statute.

3. The term ‘teacher’ in Section 52(1)(i) is not restricted to an individual teacher but extends to educational institutions as a whole.

There is no reason to interpret Section 52(1)(i) as providing for an individual teacher and an individual pupil and which, neither at the time of inclusion thereof in the statute nor now exists in the society….[M]erely because imparting of education by teachers today is as part of an institution as the defendant no.2 University and it is the defendant no.2 University which on behalf of its teachers is reproducing any copyrighted work by making photocopies thereof, would not mean that Section 52(1)(i) would not be applicable.

4. The word “ instruction” in section 52 (1) (i) is not limited to a lecture in the classroom and thus the scope of this provision is not limited to reproduction of a work by a teacher in the course of a lecture but also includes reproduction for the purpose of making and issuing course packs.

Had the intention of the legislature while incorporating Section 52(1)(i) been to constitute reproduction of any work by a teacher or a pupil in the course of lecture, the legislature would have in Section 52(1)(i) used the word lecture which has been defined in the Act. The word instruction thus has to necessarily mean something other than lecture.….[I]n the context of the teacher, it refers to something which a teacher tells the student to do in the course of teaching or detailed information which a teacher gives to a student or pupil to acquire knowledge of what the students or pupil has approached the teacher to learn.

5. The imparting of instruction does not begin and end in the classroom or tutorials only but extends beyond that and thus Section 52(1)(i) covers reproduction by an educational institution during the entire academic session.

The words in the course of instruction within the meaning of Section 52(1)(i) supra would include reproduction of any work while the process of imparting instruction by the teacher and receiving instruction by the pupil continues i.e. during the entire academic session for which the pupil is under the tutelage of the teacher and that imparting and receiving of instruction is not limited to personal interface between teacher and pupil but is a process of commencing from the teacher readying herself/himself for imparting instruction, setting syllabus, prescribing text books, reading and ensuring, whether by interface in classroom/tutorials or otherwise by holding tests from time to time or clarifying doubts of students, the pupil stands instructed in what he/she has approached the teacher to learn.

6. Since the reproduction of pages from the books by each of the students, whether by way of photocopying, copying by hand or clicking photographs, for his/her private use does not amount to copyright infringement by virtue of Section 52(1)(a), the photocopying of the same by the university for the benefit of the students due to certain resource constraints cannot be said to be infringement when the result/effect of both is the same.

I have wondered that if the action of each of the students of having the book issued from the library of defendant No.2 University and copying pages thereof, whether by hand or by photocopy, is not infringement, whether the action of the defendant no.2 University impugned in this suit, guided by the reason of limited number of each book available in its library, the limited number of days of the academic session, large number of students requiring the said book, the fear of the costly precious books being damaged on being subjected to repeated photocopying, can be said to be infringement; particularly when the result/effect of both actions is the same… The answer, according to me, has to be in the negative.

7. Once it is found that the making of course packs by a university does not constitute infringement, it is of no consequence whether the university is doing so by use of a machine installed inside its library or outside, whether it owns that machine or not, whether it allows photocopies to be made by the students themselves or with the assistance of another person and whether such person is its employee or an independent contractor. Thus, the Delhi University’s engagement of Defendant No. 1 for making of course packs does not convert its action, which is otherwise held to be not infringement, to infringement.

In my view, there is no difference in the two situations i.e. whether the photocopying machine is installed within the library or is installed outside the library. In my view it also does not make any difference whether the respondent no.2 University itself purchases the photocopy machine and / or allows the students to photocopy themselves or employs a person for doing photocopy. Once such a action is held to be not offending any provisions of the Copyright Act, merely because the photocopying is done not by the person desirous thereof himself but with the assistance of another human being, would not make the act offending. It matters not whether such person is an employee of the defendant no.2 University or the defendant no.2 University avails the services of a contractor. The position of the defendant no.1 in the present case is found to be that of a contractor to whom the defendant no.2 University has outsourced its work of providing photocopying service for its students. For this reason, it matters not whether the photocopying machine is allowed by the defendant no.2 University to be kept within the library or at some other place outside the library… I thus conclude that the engagement as aforesaid by the defendant No.2 University of defendant No.1 does not convert the action of defendant No.2 University as held hereinabove to be not amounting to infringement of copyright in books, to infringement.

8. IRRO doesn’t even come into play since the impugned acts of the defendants were covered under Section 52(1)(i) of the Act, and thus there is no need to pay any licensing fees to IRRO.

“[T]he question of issuing any such direction would arise only upon finding that what the defendant No.2 University is doing is not covered by Section 52 of the Act and which would make it an infringement of the copyright and to avoid which it can go before IRRO.

For a copy of the judgment, please see the Resources section below.

Appeal to the Division Bench

On October 5, 2016, the Plaintiff-Publishers filed an appeal against this decision before the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court. The court admitted the appeal on October 6 but refused to grant an interim injunction against Defendant No. 1 that the Plaintiff-Publishers prayed for. However, it directed the Defendants to maintain a record of photocopied course packs sold.

For copies of the appeal and the order admitting the appeal, please see the Resources section below.

Intervention by IRRO and Publishers’ Associations API and FIP

On November 5, 2016, intervention applications were filed by the Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation (IRRO) and two publishers’ associations, namely, the Association of Publishers in India (API) and the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP). The applications were allowed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Yogesh Khanna of the Delhi High Court on November 8, 2016.

For copies of the intervention applications and the order allowing them, please see the Resources section below.

Division Bench’s Judgment

On December 9, 2016, the Division Bench, comprising Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Yogesh Khanna, decided the appeal refusing to grant an interim injunction to the plaintiff-publishers and emphatically ruling that making and distribution of course packs to students does not amount to copyright infringement as long as the inclusion of the works photocopied (irrespective of the quantity) was justified by the purpose of educational instruction. Accordingly, it remanded the suit to the single bench for a fact specific determination on whether the copyrighted materials included in the course packs in this case were necessary for the purpose of instructional use by the teacher to the class. Until then, the course packs could continue to be made and supplied to the students.

The key highlights of the judgment, penned by Justice Nandrajog, are as follows:

A. Section 52(1)(i) and Fairness

The court began by noting that since Section 52(1)(i) does not have an express fair use limitation, only the general principle of fair use can be read into it. It rejected the application of the four factors used for determination of fair use in other jurisdictions, especially the US, to this clause. It laudably noted that fairness of the use under this clause is to be determined only by the purpose of the use i.e. education and not by its quantitative or quantitative extent. It also held that the fair dealing standard has been prescribed only in clause (a) of Section 52(1) and thus cannot be imported into its other clauses including clause (i). The relevant paragraphs of the judgment read as follows:

In the context of teaching and use of copyrighted material, the fairness in the use can be determined on the touchstone of ‘extent justified by the purpose’. In other words, the utilization of the copyrighted work would be a fair use to the extent justified for purpose of education. It would have no concern with the extent of the material used, both qualitative or quantitative. The reason being, ‘to utilize’ means to make or render useful. To put it differently, so much of the copyrighted work can be fairly used which is necessary to effectuate the purpose of the use i.e. make the learner understand what is intended to be understood…Thus, we reject the arguments by learned counsel for the appellants that the four factors on which fair use is determined in jurisdictions abroad RFA(OS) No.81/2016 Page 36 of 58 would guide fair use of copyrighted material during course of instruction. The qualitative and quantitative test which is one of the four tests would not apply to clause (i)… Further, while the Court in B.D. Bhandari’s case (supra) did hold that a fair dealing standard was to be read into all clauses of Section 52 of the Copyright Act, 1957, as held hereinabove, a fair dealing standard has only been provided in clause (a) of sub-Section (1) and not in the other clauses of sub-Section (1) of Section 52, and therefore, cannot be read into the other clauses.” [paragraphs 33, 35 & 72]

Thus, the Division Bench’s judgment clearly held that in order to determine whether the use of a copyrighted work is permitted under Section 52(1)(i), it is only to be seen whether the  work used was necessary for achieving the purpose of educational instruction, irrespective of whether only a certain percentage of the work or the entire work is used.

B. Impact of Course Packs on Market of Publishers’ Works

The court rejected the argument of the publishers that unauthorized making and distribution of course packs has caused or is likely to cause an adverse impact on the market of their books. It observed that a student is not a potential customer of the multiple books used in the course packs and in the absence of course packs he/she would refer to these books in the library. Interestingly, it further noted that instead, the improved education could very well lead to an expansion of the market for these books.

C. Meaning of ‘Reproduction’, ‘Teacher’ and “Pupil’

The court then proceeded to the interpretation of Section 52(1)(i), which formed the core issue in the case. Relying upon Section 13(2) of the General Clauses Act, 1897, it held that the word ‘reproduction’, meaning ‘making a copy of’, includes its plural as well i.e. making more than one copy of the original or photocopying. Similarly, it held that the words ‘teacher’ and ‘student’ also include ‘teachers’ and ‘students’ and thus concluded that making of multiple copies of a work by teachers or students is contemplated under this provision.

D. Meaning of ‘In the Course of Instruction’

Next, the court dealt with the question of interpretation of the phrase ‘in the course of instruction’ that was highly contested between the parties. It accepted the argument of the respondents that irrespective of whether the word ‘course’ is read as a verb or a noun, the phrase ‘in the course of instruction’ would mean the entire process or programme of education in a semester and not the process of teaching in the classroom alone. The court acknowledged that teaching does not involve simple lecturing by the teacher and taking of notes by the students in the classroom but an interactive discussion based on the pre-reads etc. by the students that is regulated by the teacher. It further placed reliance on the judgment of the High Court of New Zealand in Longman Group Ltd. v. Carrington Technical Institute Board of Governors[(1991) 2 NZLR 574], wherein the words ‘in the course of instruction’ in Section 21(4) of the New Zealand Copyright Act, 1962 were interpreted to include “anything in the process of instruction with the process commencing at a time earlier than the time of instruction, at least for a teacher, and ending at a time later, at least for a student. So long as the copying forms part of and arises out of the course of instruction it would normally be in the course of instruction”. The court found this to be the only logical interpretation of this phrase and termed the judgment as an authority on this point due to the similarity in the language of Section 52(1)(i) of the Indian Copyright Act and Section 21(4) of the New Zealand Copyright Act. It thus concluded that the phrase ‘in the course of instruction’ included within its ambit preparation and distribution of course packs to students.

E. Distribution of Course Packs: Publication?

The Division Bench disagreed with the view taken by the Single Bench that distribution of course packs to ‘students’ does not amount to publication by opining that “[p]ublication need not be for the benefit of or available to or meant for reading by all the members of the community” and that “[atargeted audience would also be a public”. However, it rejected the argument that the issue of course packs in this case amounted to publication on the basis that publication requires an element of profit which was absent in this case.

F. Use of an Intermediary/Agency for Making of Course Packs

The court further dealt with the argument of the publishers that reproduction of works under Section 52(1)(i) can be made only by a teacher or a pupil and not by an intermediary i.e. the photocopier. It rejected this argument by rightly observing that “common sense tells us that neither the teacher nor the pupils are expected to purchase photocopiers and photocopy the literary work to be used during course of instruction in the class room”. It further noted that the photocopier in this case was not making any profit apart from the usual profit it would be making by simply photocopying material. Accordingly, it found the argument against use of an agency to be irrelevant.

G. Making of Course Packs by Educational Institutions

The court also rejected the argument of the publishers that Section 52(1)(i) was not applicable to educational institutions but only to an individual teacher. Unlike the Single Judge who clearly held that the benefit of this provision was also available to educational institutions as well and thus to DU, the Division Bench did not even deal with this interpretive question. It simply refused to find any institutional sanction for photocopying in this case for DU’s role is limited to laying down the course curriculum and it is the individual teacher/teachers only who select the copyrighted works to be included as reading materials in the course packs. In short, it found that the course packs in this case were made and distributed by the teachers and not DU and thus clearly fell within the ambit of Section 52(1)(i).

H. Int’l Obligations and Foreign Decisions

The argument of the publishers based upon Article 13 of the TRIPS Agreement and Article 9 of the Berne Convention was dismissed by the court noting that “the contents thereof are merely directory and have enough leeway for the signatory countries to enact the copyright law in their municipal jurisdiction concerning use of copyrighted works for purposes of dissemination of knowledge”. The court also found the decisions of the US, Canada and UK courts, relied upon by the parties, to be of no relevance in the Indian context because the concept of fair use and fair dealing is different in those countries.

I. IRRO Licensing

The court did not even deal with the fallacious argument made by the publishers that the only way to balance the interests of the students and academic publishers is to direct the universities to obtain licenses from IRRO for reproducing the relevant extracts from their books.

J. Directions

The Division Bench therefore dismissed the appeal concluding that Section 52(1)(i) permits unauthorised preparation and distribution of course packs to students, if the works included therein are necessary for effectuating the purpose of the course packs i.e. educational instruction. It thus remanded the suit to the trial court for factual determination of whether the works included in the course packs in this case were necessary for achieving the purpose of education instruction or not. It also allowed the publishers to amend their plaint and plead the fact of cover to cover photocopying of eight books that found mention in the Local Commissioner’s report and directed the trial court to make a factual determination on permissibility of these copies as well. The court refused to grant an interim injunction in favour of the publishers and only directed the photocopier to maintain a record of the course packs photocopied and supplied to students and file the same in the suit every six months.

For a copy of the judgment, please see the Resources section below.

Open Letter by Oxford University Students and Others Urging OUP to not Appeal to the Supreme Court

On January 23, 2017, a group of 122 students, alumni and academics from Oxford University (OU) sent an open letter to the Delegates of the Oxford University Press (OUP), urging them to refrain from filing an appeal to the Supreme Court against the Division Bench’s judgment.

Refusal of Impleadment/Intervention of IRRO & Publishers’ Associations API & FIP in Remanded Proceedings

In January 2017, IRRO and publishers’ associations, FIP and API, who had intervened in the appeal before the Division Bench, filed applications for intervention and impleadment (respectively) in the remanded proceedings before the Single Bench as well. However, Justice Endlaw (Single Judge), in an order dated January 20, 2017, refused to grant these applications. He noted that the Division Bench had remanded the suit only for a factual determination as to the purpose of inclusion of the copyrighted works in the course packs and no party except the Plaintiff-publishers had a say in it. The applicants stated that they will seek clarification from the Division Bench on the remanded issues within a period of four weeks and requested the Bench to hold over the applications till then. Justice Endlaw accordingly listed the matter on February 28, 2017 and also granted a last opportunity to the Plaintiff-publishers to amend their plaint (as allowed by the Division Bench) within four weeks, so as to the plead the fact of full text copying of books.

Withdrawal of the Suit by Plaintiff-Publishers

On March 9, 2017, the plaintiff-publishers surprisingly withdrew the suit. The public statement released by them on withdrawal read as follows:

We have taken a considered decision not to pursue the Delhi University Photocopy shop case further in the courts and will today be filing an application with the Delhi High Court to withdraw as plaintiffs.   In addition, we will not be submitting an appeal to the Supreme Court of India, following the Delhi High Court Division Bench appeal decision of 09 December, 2016.  

We continue to stand by our principles stated throughout this case. We support and seek to enable equitable access to knowledge for students and we understand and endorse the important role that course packs play in the education of students. We support our authors in helping them produce materials of the highest standard and we maintain that copyright law plays an important part in balancing the interests of those creating, curating, and disseminating learning materials with those requiring access to them.  

We look forward to working even more closely with academic institutions, teachers and students to understand and address their needs, while also ensuring that all those who contribute to and improve India’s education system—including authors and publishers—continue to do so for the long term.

Appeal to the Supreme Court

In April 2017, IRRO filed a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court challenging the judgment passed by the Division Bench on December 9, 2016. However, the bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha refused to admit the appeal, noting that the special leave petition (SLP) to appeal by IRRO was not even maintainable as the original suit filed before the Delhi High Court had been withdrawn by the plaintiff-publishers and the IRRO was merely an intervenor in the proceedings before the High Court. 


Relevant Provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957

Section 52 – Certain acts not to be infringement of copyright

(1) The following acts shall not constitute an infringement of copyright, namely:

(a) a fair dealing with any work, not being a computer programme, for the purposes of-—

(i) private or personal use, including research;

(ii) criticism or review, whether of that work or of any other work;

(iii) the reporting of current events and current affairs, including the reporting of a lecture

delivered in public.

Explanation.—The storing of any work in any electronic medium for the purposes mentioned in this clause, including the incidental storage of any computer programme which is not itself an infringing copy for the said purposes, shall not constitute infringement of copyright.


(h) the publication in a collection, mainly composed of non-copyright matter, bona fide intended for instructional use, and so described in the title and in any advertisement issued by or on behalf of the publisher, of short passages from published literary or dramatic works, not themselves published for such use in which copyright subsists:

Provided that not more than two such passages from works by the same author are published by the same publisher during any period of five years.

Explanation.—In the case of a work of joint authorship, references in this clause to passages from works shall include references to passages from works by any one or more of the authors of those passages or by any one or more of those authors in collaboration with any other person.

(i) the reproduction of any work—

(i) by a teacher or a pupil in the course of instruction; or

(ii) as part of the questions to be answered in an examination; or

(iii) in answers to such questions.




A. CS (OS) 2439 of 2012


  1. Plaint filed on behalf of the Plaintiff-Publishers
  2. Written Statement filed on behalf of Rameshwari Photocopy Service (Defendant No 1)
  3. Written Statement filed on behalf of Delhi University (Defendant No. 2)
  4. Written Statement filed on behalf of ASEAK (Defendant No. 3)
  5. Written Statement filed on behalf of SPEAK (Defendant No. 4)

Impleadment Applications

  1. Application on behalf of ASEAK seeking impleadment as Defendant No. 3
  2. Application on behalf of SPEAK seeking impleadment as Defendant No. 4

Note on Arguments

  1. Submissions on behalf of the Plaintiff-Publishers
  2. Submissions on behalf of ASEAK (Defendant No. 3)
  3. Submissions on behalf of SPEAK (Defendant No. 4)

Judgments and Orders

  1. Order dated August 14, 2012 appointing a Local Commissioner
  2. Order dated October 17, 2012 granting interim injunction
  3. Order dated November 27, 2012 dismissing the appeal filed by Delhi University (Defendant No. 2)
  4. Order dated March 1, 2013 allowing impleadment of ASEAK (Defendant No. 3)
  5. Order dated April 12, 2013 allowing impleadment of SPEAK (Defendant No. 4)
  6. Judgment dated September 16, 2016
  7. Order dated January 20, 2017 refusing intervention of IRRO, API and FIP in remanded suit proceedings

B. RFA (OS) 81 of 2016


  1. Appeal filed by the Plaintiff-Publishers
  2. Note on Rejoinder filed by the Plaintiff-Publishers: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV

Intervention Applications

  1. Intervention application by Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation (IRRO)
  2. Intervention application by Association of Publishers in India (API)
  3. Intervention application by Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP)

Judgments and Orders

  1. Order dated October 6, 2016 admitting the appeal
  2. Order dated November 8, 2016 allowing intervention applications of IRRO, API and FIP
  3. Judgment dated December 9, 2016

C. Other Resources

a. Legislations

Copyright Act, 1957

b. Articles/Blog Posts

i. SpicyIP

In favour of DU


ii. Other

  1. DU Photocopy Case: What Happened and Why It’s Important
  2. Simply Put: What a Photocopy Shop’s HC Victory over Publishers Means for Copyright
  3. The Information Revolution Will Be Photocopied
  4. Profit and loss: Is photocopying chapters of educational books legal?

In Favour of DU

  1. Copyright as Exception
  2. Copy-wrongs and the Invisible Subsidy
  3. Copy This
  4. A Blow for the Right to Knowledge
  5. Delhi High Court Strikes a Fine Balance between the Right to Copy and Copyright
  6. The Radical Significance of the DU Photocopy case for Global Copyright
  7. Why Students Need the Right to Copy
  8. Shamnad Basheer Responds
  9. Of Gandhi and a Godfatherly Copyright Offer
  10. Of Gandhi and a Godfatherly Copyright Offer- Part 2
  11. Exceptions and Limitations in the Indian Copyright Law for Education: An Assessment
  12. Exhausting Copyrights and Promoting Access to Education: An Empirical Take
  13. Photocopying Courts India Campus Controversy
  14. Publishers vs Students


  1. Shortcut to Scholarship
  2. The Right to Copy
  3. Reading it Wrong
  4. Media May Have Misjudged Copyright Verdict

c. Foreign Judgments

  1. Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright), [2012] 2 SCR 345
  2. CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, [2004] 1 SCR 339
  3. Longman Group Ltd. v. Carrington Technical Institute Board of Governors, (1991) 2 NZLR 574
  4. Princeton University Press v. Michigan Document Services Inc., 99 F.3d 1381 (6th Cir. 1996)
  5. Cambridge University Press et al. v. Carl V. Patton et al. (Becker), 769 F.3d 1232 (11th Cir. Ga. 2014)
  6. Cambridge University Press et al. v. Mark P.  Becker et al., 863 F. Supp. 2d 1190 (N.D. Ga. 2012)
  7. The Williams & Wilkins Company v. The United States, 487 F.2d 1345 (Ct. Cl. 1973)

D. Fun Stuff

Copyright jingle – Pay Up!

Scroll to Top