U.S. Copyright Law Research Guide
The copyright law of the United States is derived from the U.S. Constitution. Article I, section 8, clause 8 provides that Congress can enact law "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."
Purpose: This guide is intended to assist students enrolled in the Copyright Law course at Mizzou Law by directing users towards helpful resources and outlining selected issues in copyright law.
Scope: This guide is intended to address only the federal copyright law of the United States. This guide is NOT intended as a resource for the study of international copyright law or any other form of intellectual property law (e.g. trademark law, patent law, etc.).
This guide was created by the Mizzou Law Library Reference staff.
The contents of this guide should not be taken as legal advice.
This guide was last updated in January of 2021.
The following is a list of helpful resources for copyright law, generally:
Copyright Law: An Open Source Casebook: A casebook compiled by Gary Myers, the Earl F. Nelson Professor of Law here at the University of Missouri. The book provides the selected texts from important copyright law cases. Chapter 1: Subject Matter of Copyright; Chapter 2: Ownership, Assignment, and Licensing of Copyrights; Chapter 3: Exclusive Rights; Chapter 4: Defenses; Chapter 5: Enforcement, Special Topics, and Remedies
Westlaw Practical Law Guide - Copyright Law: Students with access to Westlaw can view the platform's comprehensive practical guide to copyright law.
Associate's Guide to the Practice of Copyright Law: This guide, available to students through Lexis+, contains thorough explanations of the basics of Copyright Law.
ALR Report - Construction of Copyright Act: Students with access to Westlaw can view this report originally published in 2017 by American Law Reports compiling and summarizing the US Supreme Court's most significant cases interpreting the Copyright Act of 1976.
Casenote Legal Briefs for Copyright: This resource provides summaries for numerous important copyright law cases. It is available to Mizzou Law students through Wolters Kluwer.
Nimmer on Copyright: This treatise, available to students through Lexis+, is a frequently cited standard in the field of copyright law. It was originally published in 1965 by esteemed intellectual property lawyer Melville Nimmer, and it has been updated as recently as December 2020 by UCLA law professor and copyright attorney David Nimmer (who is also Melville Nimmer's son). It is a comprehensive treatise on American Copyright Law.
Patry on Copyright: This resource is a treatise on Copyright Law written by attorney Bill Patry. It is available to Mizzou Law students through Westlaw.
Westlaw Copyright Resources: This page is a central portal for many of Westlaw's Copyright Law resources.
Georgetown Copyright Research Guide: This is another copyright law research guide compiled by the law library at Georgetown University. It is freely available to the public; many of the sources provided require a Westlaw or a Lexis subscription.
Copyright Basics Pamphlet: This resource is a short circular published by the United States Copyright office. It provides a very basic overview of copyright law and is freely available to the public.
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