Centre for Internet & Society

This week, the Indian government’s Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Parliament) will debate the Copyright Amendments Act.

The Centre for Internet and Society has raised a number of concerns – including the removal of parallel import provisions that would allowed universities and libraries to access foreign works more cheaply, the extension of copyright terms beyond those required by the TRIPS Agreement, and the introduction of technological protection measures (with stiff penalties for circumventing them).

CIS describes other provisions in the bill: Fair dealing exceptions have been extended “to all works except computer programs;” the “scope of compulsory licensing under sec 31 has been expanded from ‘any Indian work’ to ‘any work’;” and two provisions have been introduced to allow for the conversion, reproduction, and distribution of works for people with disabilities.

According to Prashant Reddy from the National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on that reviewed the original legislation had strongly supported parallel imports of books.  In a blog post on Spicy IP, he noted that “publishers routinely introduce old versions of books in India,” and that parallel imports would allow students to obtain newer copies at reasonable prices.

However, a news story in Live Mint reports that the publishing industry “had strongly opposed the amendments.”

This article by Mike Palmedo was published in infojustice.org on September 5, 2011. Read the original story here