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Copyright Law: Primary Sources

Find constitutional provisions, federal laws, regulations, and cases on copyright

Federal Case Law

Copyright law in the United States is primarily federal law. Thus, copyright cases are mostly decided in the U.S. District Courts, the U.S. Courts of Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court.

For call numbers, dates of coverage, and locations of court reporters, see the Gallagher guide on Court Reporters.

U.S. Supreme Court (Print)

U.S. Courts of Appeals (Print): 
U.S. District Courts (Print):
Copyright Cases (Online):

Case Finding

There are many ways to find cases, including the following approaches:

Use annotated codes (check the case annotations accompanying statutes in Title 17)

Use West's Federal Practice Digest 4th and its predecessors (look under the "Copyrights and Intellectual Property" topic)

Look for cases cited in footnotes in relevant treatise sections and law review articles

  • Treatises: See the "Treatises" page in this guide for relevant copyright law treatises.
  • Law review articles: Print copies of journals are located in the Compact Stacks on L2, organized alphabetically by journal title. Electronic copies of journal articles are available on HeinOnline, Lexis Advance, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law (coverage is not as extensive as on Lexis Advance or Westlaw), and Nexis Uni. Articles can also be found online by searching on Google Scholar. 

Look in the index to American Law Reports--Federal (ALR Fed) to find relevant articles

Topical Reporters

Topical reporters collect cases about a certain subject or area of the law, such as copyright law.