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Working Papers


Right to Research and Copyright Law: From Photocopying to Shadow Libraries


Ram Mohan, M.P.; Gupta, Aditya

 Publication Date




  Publication Code

WP 2021-09-03


Academic research and publishing are facing a crisis. The importance of access to academic literature in an interconnected world, the ever-growing cost of subscriptions to this literature, different revenue models of journals, and reducing or stagnant library budgets are pushing research and the academic community to find alternatives for academic research and publications. In its 25 years of existence, the open access movement and models which sought to contain the crisis have become the subject of considerable criticism. At the same time, a significant portion of academic literature remains locked behind steep paywalls. This has led to the growth of pirate websites and shadow libraries which have been met with forceful legal retribution by the publishers using Copyright laws. Using the Sci-Hub case, which is currently facing copyright infringement by a group of publishers before the Delhi High Court, the article evaluates the Open Access Movement, fair dealing in copyright law, academic piracy, and courts cases in the United States, India, and other countries, within the broad meaning of the right to research. The paper concludes that the purposive interpretation of the Copyright Law may have an answer enabling a just outcome.


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