Copyright and Course Packs: A Collision Course of Competing Value?

Can university departments authorise the creation of course packs consisting of photocopied excerpts from copyright-protected works? This question was recently considered by the Delhi High Court in The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford and Ors v Rameshwari Photocopy Services and Anr (16 Sep 2016). The court held that the creation of such course packs falls within the ambit of a limitation on copyright. This permits the reproduction of protected works in the context of educational use (specifically, ‘by a teacher or pupil in the course of instruction’).

The judgment, which has been appealed, has far-reaching implications for educational institutions, the viability of the publishing industry and access to knowledge. The Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre (OIPRC) and the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development (OICSD) held a panel discussion on 24 November at the MTC Lecture Theatre, Somerville College, which was chaired by Dr Dev S Gangjee (Oxford Law Faculty & OIPRC). The panel consisted of:

  • Professor Lionel Bently, Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property, University of Cambridge
  • William Bowes, Chair of the International Board of the Publishers’ Association
  • Dr Emily Hudson, Senior Lecturer, Dickson Poon School of Law,  King's College London
  • Professor Uma Suthersanen, Chair in International Intellectual Property Law, Queen Mary, University of London

Further update from 9 March 2017:

The publishers have withdrawn their lawsuit against Delhi University and its photocopier (Rameshwari).  

Statement from the publishers

News item from Spicy IP