[A2k] Nirmita Narasimhan: Govt for Legalising Parallel Import of Copyright Works; Publishers Oppose
manon.ress at keionline.org
Tue Aug 30 10:52:07 PDT 2011
Govt for Legalising Parallel Import of Copyright Works; Publishers Oppose
by Nirmita Narasimhan
Posted by Shamnad Basheer at Aug 30, 2011 10:25 AM | Permalink
Section 2(m) legalises the parallel imports of books and other
copyrighted material into India and was part of the initial Copyright
Amendment Bill introduced in the Parliament of India in 2010.
Section 2(m) reads as below:
"[P]rovided 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."
Unfortunately, the government did a sudden volte face owing to
pressure from publisher lobbies and deleted it from the latest version
of the Bill. The provision would have helped students gain access to
the latest affordable versions of text books from around the world.
When the Bill was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee for
review, the said Committee strongly supported the introduction of
section 2(m) and stated as below:
"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 protected if they have access to
latest editions of the books."
"Nobody can deny the fact that the interests of students will be
best protected if they have access to latest editions of the books.
Thus, apprehensions about the flooding of the primary market with low
priced editions, may be mis-founded as such a situation would be
tackled by that country's law. The Committee would, however, like to
put a note of caution to the government to ensure that the purpose for
which the amendment is proposed i.e., to protect the interest of the
students is not lost sight of."
Despite the Standing Committees support, it is curious as to why the
government dropped this provision, particularly when it would have
tremendously helped a number of students gain access to latest low
priced editions of text books from around the world. It ought not to
have succumbed to the pressures of the publishing lobby.
Empirical studies done on this count clearly demonstrate that
publishers only introduce old versions of books in India. The latest
versions have to be imported, and they are very expensive, often times
costing more than what they cost in the US and EU. See the Economic
Times article documenting this empirical study here.
Further, an easy right of import enables any third party to import
books which could also then be made available in accessible formats to
the visually impaired.
Download the Economic Times article by Shamnad Basheer here. [PDF, 470 Kb]
Manon Anne Ress
Knowledge Ecology International
1621 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20009 USA
manon.ress at keionline.org
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