This refers to “Copyright, copywrong” (June1). What the column says is indeed worrisome for publishers. It would only be fair to have this kind of a copyright Act if foreign countries gave Indian publishers similar freedom. But, as the article says, that’s not going to happen. The primary benefactors of such a modification to the Indian Copyright Act are the retailers (both, digital and brick-and-mortar) and the readers. But these two, put together, do not form the influential group for whom the government will modify the Copyright Act. Therefore, it is safe to assume (until we get proof) that the government is (again) being influenced by the US. Since print publishers have been in existence forever, and we haven’t modified the Act before, it naturally points to the digital delivery systems (online bookstores) as the culprit. The two major digital delivery systems are of the US origin, and Google is about to enter this field. The Obama administration gets substantial cooperation from Google, and it will not be difficult for Google to ask for such a favour.
There is just one minor error in the article. Even if you buy an e-reader, the territory issue still remains for a majority of the publications. There are many new releases that will not be available to an Indian reader. By making this change to the Copyright Act, the government is clearing up the air so that digital versions of books and magazines can fly freely. Print publishers are just the casualty of war.
Readers should write to:
The Editor, Business Standard,
New Delhi 110 002,
Fax: (011) 23720201;