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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

COPYRIGHT LAW: Sec. 2(m) dropped from the Copyright Amendment Bill.

The Government has decided to leave out Section 2(m) from the latest version of the Copyright Amendment Bill which legalizes the parallel imports of books and other copyrighted material into India. Sec. 2(m) reads as follows: ‘Provided that a copy of a work published in any country outside India with the permission of the author of the work and imported from that country into India shall not be deemed to be an infringing copy.” It has been speculated that the government gave away to the pressure from the publisher lobbies and deleted it from the newest version of the Bill. The Parliamentary Standing Committee had earlier supported the Bill and had stated as follows: “that availability of low priced books under the present regime is invariably confined to old editions. Nobody can deny the fact that the interests of students will be best produced if they have access to the latest editions of the books.” This deletion is likely to impact the libraries and educational institutions that could import foreign copies of books without seeking permission of the copyright owner. The disabled are also not likely to be spared by the recent development, as many converted copyright material as well as books that require conversion to formats that are accessible to the disabled will not be freely available. Section 51 which allows only one copy of a book for personal use and Section 52(1)(zb) which provides for a number of activities for enabling access to the disabled do not include the right to ‘import’ any copyrighted works. Thus, it will still continue to remain difficult to buy cheapest editions anywhere in the world, without necessarily going through the publisher in India.

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