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Addala Sitamahalakshmi vs State Of Andhra Pradesh

Updated: Apr 29

The Hon’ble Andhra Pradesh High Court has ruled that mathematical equations and science subjects, being matter of fact and laws of nature are not protectable subject matters under the Copyright Act, 1957 (“Act”).


The decision came in response to two (2) petitions filed by Addala Sitamahalakshmi of Deepthi Publications (“Petitioner”) who challenged a 2010 government order, i.e., G.O. Rt. No. 858 of 09/11/2010  (“Order”) that restrained private colleges from publishing textbooks of Telugu Akademi, and further sought for quashing of a criminal case registered against it alleging piracy.


The respondents that include The Board of Intermediate Education, C.B.S.E, and I.C.S.E, The Director, Telugu Academy, The Commissioner and Director of School Education, and individuals (“Respondents”), inspected the premises of Petitioner and seized the printed books, materials and sealed the Petitioner’s factory. As per the Respondents, the Petitioner’s books were pirated copies of books published by Respondents, and further contended that the books printed and distributed by Petitioner is causing loss to the Telugu Akademi which has exclusive rights to publish such textbooks, and thus, the Plaintiff’s acts in violation of the Order.


The Court, while quashing criminal proceedings filed against the Petitioner, concluded that academic or non-literary books even if pirated by a publisher, would be protected under exception of “fair use” under Section 52 of the Act. The Court also observed that, since the Order restrains private junior colleges, it does not affect the Petitioner, which is merely a publication house.

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