Copyright Law Research Guide

This guide focuses on one area of intellectual property law, copyright law, and identifies print and electronic materials on the American federal copyright law system, focusing on the Copyright Act of 1976.

Introduction to Copyright Secondary Sources

Generally, the library keeps its print collection of copyright law material in call numbers KF2986-3080.

The leading treatise on U.S. copyright law is Nimmer on Copyright, which is available electronically only on Lexis.  For a selective list of other treatises and study aids on copyright law, both print and electronic, see below.  In addition, you will find guidance on finding journal articles & newsletters, news & current awareness sources, and other resources in our catalog.  You may also find our intellectual property treatise finder helpful.

If you are not familiar with what secondary sources are, or if you need to begin with a basic secondary source that can provide you with an introductory overview of your legal topic (such as a legal encyclopedia) you may want to begin with our Secondary Sources Research Guide or our Secondary Sources Tutorial.

Study Aids

The most recent edition of all study aids in the Williams Law Library collection are located in the Reading Room Reserve area.  These cannot leave the Reading Room, although they can be copied and scanned.  Older editions of these study aids, however, are located in the stacks and can be checked out; use the library catalog or ask a librarian for assistance locating these. 

Some of the most popular study aids for copyright law are listed below.

Texts & Treatises

The following is a select list of texts & treatises at the Georgetown Law Library on copyright law.  There are many other titles and resources available; use the box below ("Finding Resources in the Library Catalog") or visit the Reference Desk for assistance.

Electronic Text & Treatise Collections

Finding Resources in the Library Catalog

You can search the library's online catalog to find information on the wide range of print and electronic copyright titles that the Georgetown Law Library maintains in its collection (select "Law Library Catalog"). Select "Georgetown Univ. + Local Academic Libraries" if you wish to include the collections of local consortium libraries, from which our users can also request books.

The following subject headings, among others, will help you locate relevant materials:

  • Copyright
  • Copyright broadcasting rights
  • Copyright infringement
  • Copyright computer programs
  • Copyright databases
  • Copyright and electronic data processing
  • Copyright motion pictures
  • Copyright music
  • Copyright performing rights
  • Copyright periodicals
  • Copyright sound recordings
  • Copyright licenses
  • Design Protection
  • Fair Use (Copyright)
  • Public Domain (Copyright Law)
  • Computers law and legislation
  • Multimedia systems law and legislation
  • Authors and publishers

Note: Adding the term "United States" at the end of each of these subject headings may help if you would like to limit results to materials on the United States only.

Practice Materials

Generally speaking, these resources focus not on scholarly items but rather on items that provide practical guidance for attorneys (deskbooks, practice notes, forms, checklists, CLE materials, etc.):

Journals & Newsletters

Lexis and Westlaw's law journal databases are the most popular places to search for relevant law journal articles. Searching Lexis and Westlaw's databases, however, is not necessarily the best or most efficient way of finding relevant journal articles, nor is it comprehensive. The Articles for Legal and Non-Legal Research research guide explains the differences between searching journal indexes and searching full-text databases. It also suggests legal and non-legal indexes and full-text databases.

There are several law reviews and journals dedicated to copyright and intellectual property; however, note that scholarly articles on copyright law may appear in numerous periodicals, including those which are general in coverage, so do not limit your research only to copyright- or intellectual property-specific journals.

To identify and locate copyright-specific journals in our the library's print and microform collections, search the catalog by subject for "Copyright -- United States -- Periodicals" or "Intellectual Property -- United States -- Periodicals."

News & Current Awareness