Amartya Sen has added his name to the list of academics protesting against the actions of Cambridge University PressForum PA

On 1st October the Dehli High Court heard a case brought by Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press claiming copyright infringement against Delhi University.

Jgatkaa.org, a recently formed campaigning group, has created a campaign, the goal of which is to force the universities to drop their lawsuit. Delhi University and Rameshwari Photocopy service, the other named party in the lawsuit, photocopy CUP and OUP textbooks in order to create affordable course packs for students. Many students cannot afford original textbooks and so are reliant on the course packs to continue their studies.

The court case is unprecedented; if the University loses it will have far reaching effects on many students in India as it will create a legal precedent for schools and universities to face copyright challenges for all illegal reproduction of materials.

Leki Thungon, student representative of Association of Students for Equitable Access for Knowledge, has said: “India is a country that has vast economic disparities. Saying students can afford to buy these books is absolutely unjust and ridiculous.”

Jhatkaa.org has created a petition to encourage the University to halt the lawsuit. When the case was first filed more than 300 academics, including Nobel Laureate and former Master of Trinity College, Amartya Sen, spoke out on the issue, saying in a collective statement: “As authors and educators we would like to place on record our distress at this act of the publishers, as we recognise the fact that in a country like India marked by sharp economic inequalities, it is often not possible for every student to obtain a personal copy of a book.” 33 of the letter’s signatories were authors who the University Press states that it is representing. 

However Cambridge University Press have defended their actions. A spokesperson from the company said to Varsity: "As publishers we strive to disseminate our materials as widely as possible; ensuring our titles are accessible to the audiences they serve whilst compensating fairly those that develop and produce high quality content. 

"We are in full support of the creation of coursepacks, which can provide relevant segments of copyrighted works for students at affordable prices. Nor have we ever disputed the relevance or application of a fair dealing exception to copyright laws in certain circumstances. Publishers cannot, however, support the unlawful copying of work for wide dissemination and without remuneration, in breach of mandatory licensing schemes."

The case is yet to reach a conclusion.