12th Aug 2021


The Copyright Guide for Indian Libraries, is a reference document for Librarians, Library and Information Science Professionals of both physical and digital libraries. The Guide was launched by Justice Prathiba M. Singh, Delhi High Court, on 12 th August 2021 (National Librarians’ Day) on the 129 th Birth Anniversary of Padmashree Professor (Dr) S R Ranganathan. The Guide is first of its kind in India. Justice Prathiba Singh also provided an erudite foreword to the Guide.

Shri G R Raghavender, Joint Secretary, Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice; Shri Hoshiar Singh, Registrar of Copyrights; the four authors of the Guide - Prof. Prabuddha Ganguli, CEO of VISION-IPR, Mr. Jagdish Sagar, Copyright and entertainment lawyer, Prof. Vishwas Devaiah and Prof. lndranath Gupta of Jindal Global Law School; Dr. B Sutradhar, Librarian, IIT Kharagpur and Prof. K P Sinhamahapatra, the Chairman, Library, IIT Kharagpur; Prof. Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, Principal Investigator and Prof. Partha Pratim Das, Joint Principal Investigator of National Digital Library of India (NDLI) were the panellists at the launch event.

Speaking on this occasion, Hon’ble Justice Prathiba Singh emphasised on the dual importance of “Respect for Copyrighted Works” and their accessibility with affordability. She suggested that NDLI should initiate the process for the creation of a National Copyright Licensing Policy to provide guidelines for fair and equitable access to copyrighted works for use in various institutions in India such as schools, colleges, universities, non-commercial establishment, etc.

Shri Raghavender was appreciative of the Government’s visionary, progressive and disruptive policy to set up the National Digital Library of India. He said that this Guide is the need of the hour and it will serve as an important reference document for librarians to function more effectively while addressing Copyright issues in their daily operations.

Shri Hoshiar Singh elaborated on the recent developments in the infrastructure and functioning of the Copyright Office. He said that the Guide will certainly help the librarians to enhance compliance to requirements of Copyright while minimising the risk of Copyright infringement. Prof. Prabuddha Ganguli and his team of authors, explained the central role of copyright in the “knowledge life cycle / knowledge value chain”. They traced the genesis of the copyright guide and complimented the librarians across the country for their deep involvement in a series of interactive sessions to help identify the key copyright related issues faced by them in their routine operations. The guide attempts to address these identified functional issues. During the preparation of the Guide, it was realised that the present Indian Copyright Act needs to be amended being mindful of the needs of libraries to function effectively in “Digital India” playing a facilitating role in “Access to Knowledge” while ensuring adequate incentives for the knowledge creators and knowledge providers.

NDLI hopes that this guide will provide a hand-holding role to the Librarians and Information Service Personnel to effectively deal with copyright related issues in their operations.

NDLI is an initiative envisaged to educate, enable and empower young India from the very grassroots with quality knowledge and learning resources across geographies, using the power of the digital medium. However, every new wave possesses in its own set of challenges. Execution of NDLI’s vision of a ubiquitous digital knowledge resource has brought in its own techno-legal quicksand. As gatekeepers of knowledge standing at the door of a digital era, the modern-day librarians are frequently faced with multifarious issues with regards to copyright.

The Guide has been developed by a team of leading IPR experts, under the patronage of NDLI with the objective of providing the librarians and information professionals a comprehensive resource to help them address copyright related matters that impact their operations.



Digitization has opened up a whole new subject in the form of patents, trademarks and copyrights. We are dealing with vast amounts of data daily thanks to the instant access of digital, and particularly on the subject of education and knowledge sharing, India as a country is yet to consolidate its laws and policies.

Speaking from our own learning curve, legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray's 'Kheror Khata' or 'Red Note Books' were available for free access through the NDLI portal and mobile apps. Containing the director's hand-written notes, this priceless piece of document faced infringement when our team received news that the book was being downloaded and sold in 2017. We had to block the print option immediately and watermark every page (ruining the aesthetic of the original document, no doubt).

Over 160+ scanned books in the archive of our partner DLI (Digital Library of India) attracted notices from alleged breaches of copyright leading to the temporary shutdown of the entire website and consequent quarantining of 5Lakh rare books from NDLI.

We even received rights violation alerts from one of our European content providers which made us realize, that to execute our vision for an ubiquitous knowledge resource, we first need to lay a strong legal foundation in terms of copyright to prevent misuse and infringement of such vast reserves of content.

So we started asking -

How do we share content with expression of rights for every stakeholder?

Copyright and Intellectual Property has been a major learning experience throughout our operation.

NDLI conducted the National Workshop on Copyright Issues in 2018, in collaboration with imminent IP lawyers, librarians of premier institutes across the nation as well as government policy makers to come up with a Manual of Copyright Best Practices, the very first of its kind, for India.

While we need to protect the knowledge creators,

How do we provide for the end-user?

We conducted the National Workshop on Copyright Issues from 8-10Feb, 2018.

Two years down the line here are our highlight learning outcomes:

  • The NDLI is now a steering committee member of rightstatements.org
  • Apart from 8 other world languages, facilitated by NDLI, the statements have now been translated in hindi and can be viewed here

Not only are digital libraries sensitive to copyright violations, due to the formative nature of IP laws it becomes imperative for libraries as well as countries to have robust standards for usage, sharing of content and collaborations.

We went as far as a national charter.

The manual is now available for public viewing here.

Please note, that we are inviting comments and feedback, especially from librarians across the country from 12th Aug - 30th Sep '2020. Post collation of the feedback, we shall be releasing the final document which can then be officially cited. To submit feedback, click here


Public Launch of Copyright Guide for Indian Libraries

KEDL 2019: Legal Aspects of NDLI and Intellectual Property Rights

National Reading Month 2020: Copyright laws and Digital Libraries

KEDL 2017 : Delocalization of Knowledge- Role of Copyrights

NDLI Gurukosh: The one on Copyright Laws and Digital Libraries

Open & Contribution: Trends in Digital Libraries’ Engagement with Online Community - Liam Wyatt