oppn parties Supreme Court Judgments: Not Protected by Copyright

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court warns Rahul Gandhi to be more careful in future but drops contempt proceedings in the "chor" case
  • In a flip-flop, Vodafone CEO says sorry to the government, sys no plan to exit India
  • Sabarimala case referred to a larger bench as the court says several contentious issues need deeper examination
  • 16 killed as the vehicle they were traveling in plunged into a deep gorge near Jammu
  • Vodafone CEO seeks government relief, saying India operations on the verge of collapse
  • Three teenagers killed in a major accident in Kolkata's New Town area when their Honda City rammed into a road divider and a Metro pillar. The car was mangled
  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad not to publicly 'celebrate' Babri Masjid demolition day this year, all events will be closed door
  • JNU students march against the steep hike in fees, keep HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal stuck at the venue of the convocation
  • USFDA says Cytotron, an anti-cancer kit developed by Bengaluru based Rajah Vijay Kumar, is a "breakthrough device" for treating liver, pancreatic and breast cancers
  • Car sales show a minuscule uptrend after declining continuously for 11 months
  • Industrial output contracts by 4.3% in September, the worst decline in 8 years
  • Centre defends abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court, says the power under it was used by the President six times previously
  • Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar admitted to hospital with lung infection, put on ventilator
  • Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant quits as Union Minister
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the leaders of both Hindus and Muslims in Delhi on Sunday to ensure peace and harmony is maintained after the Ayodhya verdict
Supreme Court dismisses plea for review in Rafale case, says no need for roving inquiry, maintains clean chit to government
oppn parties
Supreme Court Judgments: Not Protected by Copyright

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Judgments delivered by the Supreme Court have wide legal ramifications. Hence, they need to be widely circulated among lawyers, academicians, law students and other interested persons. With the advent of the internet and several legal websites, access to these judgments has become easier. The Supreme Court itself has a Judgment Information System (JIS) where each judgment is posted and can be searched though various parameters. But when it comes to hard copy, a few firms have been traditionally taking out publications reporting these judgments as Supreme Court Cases (SCC). These publishing houses employ editors who classify the judgments according to the verdict given by the court. There is other editorial work in the form of references, clarifications and explanations. But can such publishing houses claim copyright over the judgments and the editorial input and prevent others from reproducing the material?

Eastern Book Company has been publishing SCC’s in book form for a long time. They had got a ad interim injunction order from the District Judge, Lucknow to restrain Reed Elsevier India Pvt. Ltd. from reproducing content from their books, which they claimed were literary works and hence protected by copyright. The Allahabad High Court subsequently upheld the same. Aggrieved by this, Reed Elsevier approached the Supreme Court.

A Supreme Court bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana has recently ruled that Supreme Court judgments are not bound by copyright and everyone has the right to reproduce them (if they are put out as reportable by the court) and comment on them.

The court agreed with the counsel of Reed Elsevier that terms like “concurring”, “partly concurring”, “dissenting” etc. are generic terms commonly used in legal parlance and no one claim copyright over such assessment of court judgments. Also, a publishing house using Supreme Court judgments, whether raw or editorially enhanced, cannot claim such work to be literary work protected by copyright. The court allowed Reed Elsevier to reproduce the judgments.