oppn parties Supreme Court Judgments: Not Protected by Copyright

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
  • Small saving rates slashed by the government by 140 basis points
  • The Centre says that the exodus of the migrants was stopped to save villages and prevent community transmission
  • The Centre says March 31 will remain the closing date for FY 2019-2020 and no change will be made for Covid-19 disruption
  • Tablighi Jamaat fiasco puts several states on high alert, attendees and their contacts being traced
  • Stock markets recover on the last day of the financial year, but the sentiment remains weak
  • The government says Covid-19 is still in local transmission stage in India
  • Government scotches rumours of extending the lockdown beyond April14. Says no such plan
  • Centre asks states to give shelter and food to migrant workers to stop them from taking to the streets
  • RBI cuts repo rate by 75 bps, the steepest in 10 years
  • Centre writes to states regarding laxity in monitoring people who had arrived from abroad between January and March
  • Kerala reports a spurt in new cases
  • With 124 fresh cases on Friday, the number of reported cases in India stand at 854
  • Five of a family, including a 9-month-old-baby test positive for Covid-19 in Nadia district in West Bengal on Friday
  • The Pakistani army is reportedly forcibly moving all Covid-19 patients to PoK and Gilgit
Total count crosses 1600 in India with 52 deaths and 146 recoveries on Tuesday, spurt in cases in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu
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Supreme Court Judgments: Not Protected by Copyright

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2016-12-07 12:29:46

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.