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Intellectual Property Research Guide: Copyright

Where to look in the library

Intellectual Property materials are generally found in the call number range KF2971-KF3193.

Books are on 10 or in Academic Success on 6 (and in rare cases, on reserve on 6).

Related Subject Headings include:

Intellectual property -- United States

Copyright -- United States

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Background Information

Between 1783 and 1786, before the Constitution was even drafted, 12 of 13 states passed copyright acts. The federal Constitution of 1787, subsequently ratified by the states, gave to the Congress the authority to enact copyright laws for the nation. Our Constitution provides in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, that:

[t]he Congress shall have power: to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

From 1790 onward, Congress enacted 23 additional copyright statutes over the next 115 years. However, the statutes that effect U.S. copyrighted works are the Act of 1909 and the current Act of 1976.

The Copyright Act of 1909 remains relevant because certain issues involving items copyrighted before 1978 are still resolved by the terms of the earlier statute. The original Act, unamended, may be found at 35 Stat. 1075. The Act as amended may be found in Title 17 of the various editions of the United States Code published before 1982.

The Copyright Act of 1976 is found at passed at PL 94-553, 90 Stat. 2541 and as amended in Title 17 of the USC.



BNA Library

A great starting point is the BNA library (also on Lexis and Westlaw), including

  • Titles 35 (Patents) and 17 (Copyrights), and selected parts of Title 15 (Trademarks in Chapter 22 and Technology Innovation in Chapter 63) of the U.S. Code;
  • Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations; 
  • Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal (BNA), a news and analysis serives, available as a daily email alert
  • Related treatises
  • United States Patent Quarterly from 1929 to the present.


The CCH library includes

  • The Copyright Law Reporter
  • The Trademark Law Guide

Lexis and Westlaw

Both Lexis and Westlaw have subject-specific tabs that can be added to your personal page to help focus your research. Be aware that not all resources listed will be available via John Marshall's academic subscription.

Illinois Resources

IICLE: Intellectual Property, KF2979 .I58 2008, and on IICLE Smartbooks

Midwest Transaction Guide, KF890 M54, and on Lexis

General IP Treatises

Jay Dratler, Jr., Intellectual Property Law: Commercial, Creative, and Industrial Property (1991-date) KF2979 .D72, available in Westlaw

Michael A. Epstein, Epstein on Intellectual Property (5th ed. 2005-date)  KF 2976.5 E67

Roger E. Schechter & John R. Thomas, Intellectual Property: The Law of Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks (2003) - KF2980 .S3 2003

Copyright-Specific Treatises

Howard B. Abrams, The Law of Copyright (1991-date)  KF2994 .A47, available in Westlaw

Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright (1974-date) KF2991.5 .N5, available in Lexis

William F. Patry, Patry on Copyright (2006-date)  KF2991.5 .P38, available in Westlaw

Some of the Copyright Academic Success books

Some of the IP Academic Success Books

The library has many of IP-related study guides in the Academic Success collection on the 6th Floor.