Decoding Copyright Law for Educational Textbooks in India: Case of Addala Sitamahalakshmi

Decoding Copyright Law for Educational Textbooks in India: Case of Addala Sitamahalakshmi 1

In a landmark decision, the Andhra Pradesh High Court recently addressed copyright issues surrounding educational textbooks, shedding light on the intricate balance between intellectual property rights and educational accessibility.


The case revolves around Deepthi Publications’ textbooks for intermediate classes in subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, and Zoology.

Court’s Observations and Reasoning:

– The Copyright Act encompasses original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works.
– Mathematical equations, being representations of natural laws, are not monopolizable under copyright.
– While stories and art are safeguarded by copyright, scientific facts, and mathematical equations are considered factual and thus not protected.
– Fair use exceptions, as outlined in Section 52 of the Copyright Act, apply for educational purposes.
– Section 13 of the Copyright Act protects original literary works, but since the textbooks in question are classified as “non-literary,” they fall outside copyright protection.

Court Decision:

The ruling favored Addala Sitamahalakshmi, quashing criminal proceedings and instructing authorities to refrain from impeding the petitioner’s business operations.


This significant verdict provides invaluable insights into the application of copyright law within the realm of educational textbooks. It underscores the importance of striking a balance between creators’ rights and the imperative of facilitating widespread access to knowledge.

Reference: [A Landmark Decision in Copyright Law: Addala Sitamahalakshmi vs. State of Andhra Pradesh](–addala-sitamahalakshmi-vs-state-of-andhra-pradesh)

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