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Merry Copyright to you – A jingle for the Oxford v. Rameshwari Case

December 27, 2012

A group of publishers (Oxford and Cambridge University Press and Francis & Taylor) have sued Delhi University & its agent, Rameshwari Photocopy Service for compiling short extracts from different textbooks into a digest for students to use as part of their study (commonly referred to as “course packs”).

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 (http://spicyipindia.blogspot.in/search/label/D.U.%20Photocopy%20Case) which has been tracking these legal proceedings.

CREDITS:

Video by Sudarshan Suresh

Music and Sound Effects by John Daniel

Lyrics: A friendly Santa, well versed in law!

Final Mastering done in Reub-Arc Studio, Bangalore.

LYRICS:

Dashing to the court
In a mighty fancy sleigh
O’er the case we gloat
Laughing all the way

A bunch of copyright crooks
Been rippin’ off our books
What fun it is to sue this chain
In a copyright case again

Copyright… copyright….. copyright all the way..
Oh what fun it is to make these needy students pay..
Copyright… copyright… copyright all the way..
Oh what fun it is to make these needy students pay..

Books are not so cheap
And course packs are for keeps
Why then do we sue?
When our authors don’t want to..

Why must we be right?
It’s all about the fright
These students should just pay…
And throw their case away..

Copyright… copyright….. copyright all the way..
Oh what fun it is to make these needy students pay..
Copyright…. copyright…. copyright all the way..
Oh what fun it is to make these needy students pay..

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Badari Narayanan permalink
    December 27, 2012 2:00 PM

    If textbooks should be given away free, why not train tickets? I fail to understand why we should protest against paying for books. If books are too costly, let the colleges provide at the least a limited number of library books. Everything cannot be open-source since the efforts of the author has to be compensated somehow

    • December 28, 2012 4:52 PM

      Authors and publishers should be grateful that their books are read.
      Now they want money on top of readership! People are poor for a reason, and the reason is some people are rich. Being poor comes with an entitlement to getting things free from anyone who is rich, be it publisher, authorities or Govt. Why such entitlements should be limited to books and train tickets only?
      By the way by ‘poor’ students I mean only those who are not from higher caste.

      • December 29, 2012 3:03 AM

        @Dev

        You must be one of those low life free loaders, who are wedded to the doctrine of permanent victimhood.

    • Rajashree permalink
      December 29, 2012 12:06 AM

      “The efforts of the author has to be compensated somehow”. If that is the case then the author shouldn’t give any of their works to be published to the publishers as they themselves are not fair enough when it comes to royalties.

  2. 9990 permalink
    December 27, 2012 5:56 PM

    it happens even in University of Hyderabad as well people, if you don’t know, Photo copy shops take print of the entire book with binding.

  3. Ramesh Narendrarai Desai permalink
    December 27, 2012 7:49 PM

    Both sides are right. a way must be found to ensure a win-win situation.

  4. Vandana permalink
    December 27, 2012 9:41 PM

    Education is big business in the West. A racket to change books/editions/workbooks to make sure resale etc isnt possible too often. The big companies now want to impose that culture-vulture East. If it is stopped now, it is best. The purpose of education must be kept in sight.
    Thank you for the great video:)

  5. bigboss permalink
    December 28, 2012 8:10 PM

    “…nor is anyone selling these ‘course packs’ for profit”

    How intriguing! Is Rameshwari organized as a non-profit? Or do you just mean that the course-packs are not sold for profit in that there is strict sale price maintenance by the creators of the course pack and that this sale price does not factor in a profit?

  6. December 31, 2012 3:46 AM

    And the other side (IP law firm Anand and Anand) has used a tool of popular culture, comic strips, titled “The Adventures of Mr. IP” to teach Indians the virtues of IPR laws-and the pains and penalties which one will face for not following their sacrosanct regime. —-http://www.financialexpress.com/news/comic-intervention-adventures-of-mr-i-p/1051094#

  7. Lawrence Liang permalink
    January 3, 2013 1:18 AM

    A & A are the Johhny come latelys on this one, been there done that. ten years ago we remixed WIPO’s pedagogic comics on IP and made them comcis about copyleft and the politics of IP

    http://www.altlawforum.org/node/201

    • January 3, 2013 2:07 PM

      Loved the comics! Have shared them all around :) I hope someone (maybe ALF) would come up with a great response to A & A’s comics as well. And doing this is especially important in today’s India where we are approaching the world Naomi Klein had warned us about in “No Logo”.

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