Communications Law Research Guide

This guide suggests resources in media law, First Amendment, cable and broadcasting law, computer and internet law, and telecommunications.


Where to Find Federal Statutes

For an introduction to statutory research, see our Statutes Research Guide guide. The following is a list of sources for the full text of federal laws:

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United States Code

  • Federal communications statutes are contained in Title 47 of the United States Code.
  • Official and annotated codes in print -- United States Code (USC), United States Code Annotated (USCA), United States Code Service (USCS) -- are all available in the Williams Library Reading Room.
  • Refer to "Where to Find Federal Statutes" (left) for a list of places where the USC, USCA, USCS, and Statutes at Large are available electronically.

Proposed Federal Legislation

Federal Legislative Histories

For some federal communications laws, there are compiled legislative histories available in the Library. These compilations usually include bills, Congressional Record debates, reports and hearings. Examples include:

  • Max D. Paglin, editor, A Legislative History of the Communications Act of 1934 KF2762.113 .A15 1989
  • Max D. Paglin, editor, The Communications Act: A Legislative History of the Major Amendments, 1934-1996 KF2762.113 .A15a 1999
  • Robert E. Emeritz et al., editors, The 1992 Cable Act: Law & Legislative History KF2844.A31992 A163 1992
  • Robert E. Emeritz et al., editors, The Telecommunications Act of 1996: Law & Legislative History KF2762.115 .A15 199

To find others, try a keyword search in our catalog using terms from the popular title of your act and the phrase "legislative history." (Example: cable and legislative history)

ProQuest Legislative Insight  provides an online collection of compiled, searchable legislative histories, including:

For laws not covered by ProQuest Legistlative Insight, we suggest ProQuest Congressional as the  single most comprehensive database for federal legislative history research. We recommend using the Advanced Search or -- if you want to search using citations to public laws, bills, or legislative history documents -- using the very precise Search by Number feature.

For more information on how to do legislative history research, read our Legislative History Research Guide or watch our Legislative History Video Tutorial.