By Akshat Agrawal, Legal Researcher, Delhi High Court
“Knowledge must be allowed to be disseminated” stated the Indian Supreme Court, in Entertainment Network (India) Ltd. and Ors. v. Super Cassettes. Harping upon the idea of Anglo-Saxan Copyright, justified by the tenets of utilitarianism, the SC clearly emphasized upon the need to balance exclusivity-based incentives as against concerns of access, especially when concerned with knowledge resources. This was nothing new. Long back, prior to the partition of India, when the Imperial Copyright Act of 1914 was in force, during and due to the shackles of colonialism, the Lahore High Court (erstwhile India) harped upon the coloniality of the copyright doctrine, realizing the needs of the Indian citizens to be able to develop indigenous knowledge through access, more than anything else. The Lahore High Court, in 1934, in the judgment of Kartar Singh v. Ladha Singh, very convincingly determined the limits of incentives and the utilitarian purposes of the free market statutory intervention that is copyright, by stating that “Under the guise of Copyright, a Plaintiff cannot ask the court to close all the avenues of research and scholarship, and all frontiers of human knowledge.” What a remarkable decision!