I know there are many honest people in the country of my birth - India. However, there are some people (i.e. politicians, bureaucrats, auto rickshaw drivers in Chennai, or a porter at a railway station) who want to cheat you and get your money. They only want money and they’ll do whatever it takes to get your hard earned cash.
I recently read an interesting article about a small shop at the Delhi University campus that is photocopying text books from the Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press. After photocopying the entire book, they are selling it to students for a huge profit. These academic presses have found about this and have filed a lawsuit in an Indian court stating there are serious copyright violations at work here.
Photocopying from text books is called “Course Pack”. This is usually allowed for students who can’t afford to buy the book. This practice is followed in many countries.
Many famous Indian academic scholars (including Amartya Sen) have lined up against these presses expressing outrage at their lawsuit. One professor even said these publishers are bullying the universities and the students.
On the other side, it is stated that “Course Pack” is allowed for individual students and professors to copy a small number of pages for academic use. However, it is clearly not intended for being photocopied in its entirety and then sold to students to make a nice profit.
According to the President of Indian Publishers, he states that “this is not fair use; this is commercial exploitation of private property".
Ok now - here is my view on this topic. You can probably guess that I’m against “Course Pack” en masse for a huge profit. If the university itself is photocopying these textbooks and then distributing them to the students for free, then I fully support that. However, a shop in Delhi with a few photocopying machines making huge profits? I think that is a BIG FAT NO NO.
I’m not a lawyer. Don’t know the law. Don’t want to know the law. Don’t watch Law & Order on TV. However, there are a few lawyers who read my posts and they can express their legal views on this. I’m just saying that I’m siding with the publishers on this topic.
As for Amartya Sen, I wonder if he would feel the same way if the University of California at Berkeley were to “Course Pack” and sell his book Resources, Values and Development (1984) for a huge profit to all freshman students (first year students at UCB - more than 14,000).