Indian high court enforces copyright exemption for education | What's Left

In India, the Delhi high court has ruled that a university providing photocopied textbooks for its students has not violated the copyright act, since the photocopies are being undertaken for educational purposes.

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In many countries, including India, Canada, and the United States, exemptions to copyright laws exist when the use is educational. For instance, students are able to photocopy parts of books in order to further their studies. This exemption exists because there is a common understanding that copyright exists as a means to encourage further creativity and innovation, so while there should be an incentive to create works (the right to earn revenue from copies of those works) there should also be exceptions so that society benefits as well as the individual.

It is often argued that the educational exemption is used too restrictively, and educational institutions actually have much more flexibility in using copyrighted works than they make use of. In India, a judge has held this to be true, stating that the educational exemption also applies to the university photocopying the textbooks itself and making them available to students.

The judge concluded that, “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 not a divine right: Delhi HC