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Useful Copyright Law Sources for Students


Are you interested in copyright law? Or writing a college essay or research paper on copyright law? Explore these links to gain a better understanding on the history of copyright law in the United States. Each entry tells you whether it is a primary or secondary source.

Copyright Law sources for students

Copyright Websites

United States Copyright Office

This is the link to the complete version of the U.S. Copyright Law, December 2011. Can also access the home page and sidebar links to historical documents and annual reports among others.  This is a primary source as it links directly to U.S. Government Laws.

Association of Research Libraries

Copyright Timeline: A History of Copyright in the United States.

Has a brief history of copyright law starting from the Constitution, summaries of important copyright cases and links to Fair Use, Author Rights, US legislation and International laws. Links to other publications, briefs and other helpful resources as well as primary legal resources.  This is a secondary source that discusses copyright law and links to primary copyright sources.

 United States Copyright Office  Circular 1A A Brief Introduction and History

This document helps you understand the copyright process. It discusses the history and function of the Copyright Office. Explains how it supports the Library of Congress by obtaining and making available deposits for the Library’s collections.  And it serves as a resource to the domestic and international copyright communities. It provides a list of Registers from 1897 to present and a list of Notable Dates in United States Copyright. This is a secondary source with links to primary copyright sources.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

This is a pdf of THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT OF 1998 U.S. Copyright Office Summary prepared in 1998. The introduction to this pdf states “The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)1 was signed into law by President Clinton on October 28, 1998. The legislation implements two 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties: the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The DMCA also addresses a number of other significant copyright-related issues”.  This is a primary source as it links directly to U.S. Copyright Law.

Even though you may not be writing about copyright law in your essay, it is important to have a basic understanding of copyright law so that you will avoid plagiarism during your high school and college classes. There are plenty of public domain sources, which allow you free access to primary sources, such as historical documents, books and recordings. However, always remember to cite your sources with your essay and your bibliography.

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About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master’s in Library, Information & Science from San José State University with an emphasis on information literacy and scholarly publishing. She is a certified librarian through the State of New Mexico.

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