JNU lifts photocopy restriction

JNU lifts photocopy restriction

After several days of protests by concerned students and Left leaning students’ unions of Jawaharlal Nehru University against recent restriction on photocopying books citing copyright infringement, the varsity has revoked the decision.

“Recently the librarian called an informal meeting in which the photocopy shop owners and publishers participated. A new slab of 1/3rd portion of book to be copied was introduced. It was communicated to the photocopy shop owners that they cannot photocopy the whole book. If any copyright infringement legal case is slapped against them, the varsity will not be responsible for it,” said Abhay Kumar, a student involved in the protests against the decision.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) also took up the matter. “There are several reasons against the restriction. Firstly, libraries do not have sufficient number of books. If a teacher asks the entire class to read a book, one book cannot be catered to all students. Secondly, the books are costly and thirdly, we are not photocopying the books for commercial purposes,” said a JNUSU member.

The students said that restricting photocopying will be a blow to the majority of the students who come from the underprivileged background in the varsity. “We are photocopying for dissemination of knowledge. Such a step is corporate control of education,” added Kumar. According to JNUSU members, in a recent academic council (AC) meeting, the vice chancellor (VC) assured to revoke the decision. “We raised this issue in the meeting and were told by the VC that the earlier status quo will be maintained and the restriction will be revoked. A large number of teachers in the meeting supported students’ position,” added the member.

A senior official said that legal alternatives are also being looked into. “Talks are on regarding legal opinion to avoid copyright infringement cases. We don’t want students to suffer,” he said.

A photocopy shop owner near the main library confirmed that the restriction has been revoked.

“I got the whole book photocopied recently. Now they don’t photocopy the first page which mentions the name of the author and book,” said a research scholar.

DU case so far

Publishing houses Cambridge, Oxford University Press and Taylor and Francis had slapped a case of copyright infringement against the photocopy shop owner on the premises of the Delhi School of Economics.

A section of students and teachers are protesting against this. Even some authors recently showed their solidarity against the move by the international publishing houses to slap a case of copyright infringement against the shop owner. The publishing houses have claimed Rs 60 lakh as damages.

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