oppn parties Supreme Court Judgments: Not Protected by Copyright

News Snippets

  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
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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.