Campaign to Save DSchool Photocopy Shop
23 August 2012
Dean Students Welfare
University of Delhi
We are astounded that a consortium of publishers namely Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis have initiated a High Court proceeding against the DSE Photocopier (M/S Rameshwari Photocopy Service) and are writing against this criminal move that stifles democratic culture around pedagogy and learning in the University of Delhi. Our reasons include:
1. The photocopied compilation made by photocopier is essential for thousands of students from economically weaker sections who cannot afford to buy the original books. Sometimes a prescribed reading is only a chapter of a book. Does the publisher expect each student to buy the whole book to read that particular chapter? MA and MPhil Courses require a range of readings which is beyond the purchasing power of most students. Most students are on a shoe string budget and photocopying enables them to read and accrue knowledge which would otherwise not be possible.
2. Most of these readings are for private circulation and academic purposes and not mass produced or produced for mass commercial purposes.
3. Since libraries including ones at colleges do not have sufficient copies of the designated readings, photocopying is the only viable option.
4. If the publishers are so bothered about piracy, why don’t they sell low price editions of all the books that are in the reading list?
5. This move on the part of this consortium is another instance of well heeled foreign presses enhancing their commercial interest and being deeply undemocratic and anti-student by using monetary and multinational clout to kill the culture of sharing educational resources.
6. The photocopied readings are authorised and prescribed readings of the University and are not an independent compilation for mass production. Departments and libraries are all an active part of this enterprise and so all of us must be sued for this, not just Rameshwari Photocopy Service.
7. A course pack is not equivalent to compiling a new book or selling a pirated version. Readings are also shared by students, sometimes generations of students, ensuring an ecological culture of printing and paper use.
8. The photocopy shop is a support base for study circles, helps students by keeping tabs on courses and essential readings, offers suggestions and also dole out old readings free of cost.
9. These three international presses have ruined local publishers and small publishing houses. Isn’t this a form of violation that we should take far more serious note of and protest against rather than clamping down on a small, indigenous commercial enterprise that is of immeasurable help to students?
As a reaction, if this case is not revoked immediately, we students and faculty members have decided to boycott these three presses. We will actively ensure that no books of these three presses are used in the campus and will urge all teachers not to recommend any books or readings published by them. Instead we would work on other options of open sources and free dissemination of knowledge and urge other faculty and students to do the same.
Finally, we would like to ask the University whose interests you would like to protect: those of students or revenue loss to international corporate publishers?
a) the University instructs the three publishing houses to withdraw the case immediately
b) resumption of all activities of Rameshwari Photocopy Service
c) resumption of the relationship between Ratan Tata Library with the photocopy shop with which they terminated all relations in an act of cowardice they cannot sustain given that hundreds of photocopies from the Service exist as books within the library and that makes them illegal too.
d) strict warning be given to these criminal presses that they cannot get away with this sort of bullying and stifling of democratic student culture.
Students and Faculty of Delhi University
cc: Dean of Social Sciences
Dean of Arts and Humanities
Director Delhi School of Economics
Head of Departments: Economics
Legal cell Delhi University
Librarian Delhi University Library System
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