Using photocopied prints instead of original books - pros and cons

Using photocopied prints instead of original books - pros and cons

Using photocopied prints instead of original books - pros and cons

The photocopier at Delhi University faced lawsuit when three big academic publishers went to appeal in HC against the trend of photocopying books instead of buying them. Delhi High Court dismissed the case in favor of the photocopier. Another group of international publishers have approached the HC to challenge the verdict.

Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press (UK), Cambridge University Press India Pvt Ltd, Taylor and Francis Group (UK) and Taylor and Francis Group India Pvt Ltd are indeed agitated against the verdict and are all set to challenge the decision to give a go to photocopied books.


1. Economical: Education is not free; neither are study materials and books. They are priced quite high. Each year with a new edition increases the price of the book. Students who are up for higher education do not all hail from the families born with silver spoons. Photocopied books serve them the purpose of referring as many books as they want without having to pay the hefty price of each. Any study material that is economical is good for Indian students.

2. Saving paper: Let’s not assume that the students go for photocopying because they are concerned about nature. It is all about getting cheap but when it serves both the purpose, what are we complaining about? The photocopied books are usually smaller. They are printed two pages of the book on each side which saves paper by half.

3. Unnecessary wastage saved: Some books are divided into two with half the book covering the first half of the book in another language, usually Hindi or any other regional language. Students either refer to the English side or the other side. When they photocopy the book, they can easily choose to have only one side rather than wasting half of the book.

4. Out of stock material: The latest edition of most books are not easily available everywhere. It takes time for the books to reach everywhere, especially the small town and remote places. Photocopied materials serve the purpose just right in these times. Students no longer have to wait for the books to become available when they can easily get the “course pack.”

5. Malnourished libraries: Libraries too do not serve the purpose of making available the newest editions that contain the latest of additional information. There is huge shortage of funds that were earlier provided to university libraries to stock necessary books in bulk. The advancement of technology has made administration believe that there is no need to keep spending on stocking books. What are the students supposed to do? Buy them all?


1. Copyright issues: As pointed out by publishers, there is copyright infringement when the books are photocopied in bulk and sold out across campuses. The publisher, authors are left in the dark about the profit earned from their books which is not fair to them. Encouraging students to infringe copyright policies of academic publishers is not a wise thing to do.

2. Ink fades over time: Students need to refer their study materials across the semesters, sometimes even after that. Real books sustain the test of time while the ink used in photocopy materials fades over the years and in two years’ time, some of them are left with blank pages to refer to. There is no feel of referring back to read content in borrowed books that do not have your short notes and reference tags.

3. Academic poverty: More funds are supposed to be allotted to university libraries and colleges to help students get access to required books instead of increasing academic poverty. The cost of the books could have been decreased and the government could allot subsidies to studies for availing these high end books instead of leaving publishers agitated over photocopiers.

4. Losing the feel of learning from books: There is a certain feel of imbibing knowledge from books which cannot be felt from those photocopied course packs. The feel is what makes hardcovers different from e-books.

Copyright infringement is a serious issue that shouldn’t have been ignored and completely dismissed by Delhi High Court. As it is the publishing houses were badly affected by recession and continue to struggle against the fast growing trend of e-books. Making publishers compete with photocopiers is seriously unfair. Let’s hope that the verdict of the fresh appeal solves the agitation of the publishing houses as well as the students running against lack of funds for education.
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