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Analysis of DU Photocopy Case from an International Intellectual Property Law Perspective

Recently, I had the opportunity to present my research in International Intellectual Property (IP) Law at the 4th Asian IP Works-In-Progress Conference organized by Applied Research Centre for Intellectual Assets and the Law in Asia (ARCIALA) at Singapore Management University. I presented on the Delhi University (DU) Photocopy Case and whether the judgment of the Delhi High Court in this case comports with India’s international intellectual property obligations under the Berne Convention and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The case garnered interest internationally for its implication on access to knowledge and open access.

A short introduction and the abstract of my paper are provided below:

Introduction

My research analyses the judgments of the Delhi High Court in The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of University of Oxford & Ors v. Rameshwari Photocopy Services & Ors[1] (popularly known as the Delhi University Photocopy Case in India) from an IP law perspective. The DU Photocopy Case was a landmark case in India which involved mainly the interpretation of section 52(1)(i) of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 (Copyright Act). Section 52(1)(i) is the educational exception in the Copyright Act which permits reproduction of copyrighted works in the course of instruction. The Delhi HC, referring to India’s obligations under the Berne Convention and TRIPS, observed that while national copyright laws must fulfil the three-step test in international copyright law, it is left to the discretion of national legislators to decide whether a particular copyright exception is justified under the three-step test. The Delhi HC in its original judgment and subsequent appellate judgment interpreted section 52(1)(i) in the DU Photocopy Case broadly. I analyse whether a broad interpretation of the educational exception in the DU Photocopy Case is justified under the copyright limitations and exceptions including the three-step test in international copyright law. In my research, I discuss the provisions for copyright exceptions and limitations in international agreements such as Articles 9:2 and 10 of the Berne Convention, Article 13 of TRIPS, Article 10 of the WIPO Copyright Treaty and its Agreed Statement. I also highlight the extent to which public interest provisions in TRIPS would be relevant in a WTO dispute involving the DU Photocopy Case.

Video recordings of my presentation are available: Part I; Part II

[1] CS (OS) 2439/2012 (High Court of Delhi, New Delhi)


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