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Xerography (GS Paper 3 – Science and Technology)

 v  Context: Xerography revolutionised how we copy, print, and distribute textual material.

 Photocopy and Xerography

·       Photocopying is creating a duplicate of a document or image using light.

·       Xerography is a dry photocopying technique that uses electrostatic charges to create an image.

·       It was developed and commercialised by the Xerox Corporation. 

Xerography and Counterfeiting

·       To prevent xerography-based counterfeiting, countries use anti-counterfeiting measures like watermarks, microprinting, holograms, security strips, and colour-changing ink in their currency.

·       For, e.g., the 2005 series Rs. 50 notes issued by RBI included the Omron anti-photocopying feature, visible as small yellow circles.

·       Some photocopiers have software to prevent copying currency with distinct patterns. 

Xerography and Copyright

·       In 2012, academic publishers, including Oxford University Press, sued a photocopy shop and the University of Delhi for copyright infringement for photocopying portions of reference books.


·       Copyright is a legal concept that protects creators' rights to their literary and artistic works.

·       It covers various works, including books, music, art, films, computer programs, databases, ads, maps, and technical drawings.

·       Copyrights in India are governed by “The Copyright Act, 1957”.


Right to Reproduction

·       The Copyright Act, 1957 grants copyright owners’ exclusive reproduction rights. Therefore, making photocopies amounts to a violation of the right to reproduction.


Exceptions to Right to Reproduction

·       Under the Copyright Act of 1957, fair dealing with a work is not considered copyright infringement if it's done for:

  1. private or personal use (including research)
  2. criticism or review of that work or any other work
  3. reporting current events and affairs (including a lecture delivered in public)

·       Since the term ‘fair dealing’ is not defined in the Act, the judiciary determines its scope on a case-by-case basis.

·       Under the Act, the reproduction of any work is not considered copyright infringement if it is done:

  1. By a teacher or a pupil in the course of instruction
  2. As part of the question in an examination
  3. In answer to examination questions 

Photocopying Reference Books is Not Copyright Infringement

·       The Delhi High Court dismissed the copyright infringement petition against the photocopy shop and the University of Delhi.

·       The court ruled that creating course packs for students by photocopying portions of prescribed reference books is considered 'fair dealing with a work'.

·       The DU photocopy judgment is considered a victory for access to education.

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