Are you interested in copyright law? Or are you writing a college essay or research paper on copyright law? If so, then explore these links to gain a better understanding on the history of copyright in the United States. Each entry tells you whether it is a primary or secondary source.
The United States Copyright Office supplies you with the complete version of the U.S. Copyright Law, December 2011. You can also access the home page and sidebar links to review historical documents and annual reports, among documentation. This is a primary source, since it links directly to U.S. government laws.
On the website for the Association of Research Libraries, you can find Copyright Timeline: A History of Copyright in the United States. This provides a brief history of copyright law starting from the Constitution; summaries of important copyright cases; and links to Fair Use, Author Rights, U.S. legislation and international laws. You will also find links to other publications, briefs and other helpful resources, as well as primary legal resources. This is a secondary source that discusses copyright and links to primary copyright sources.
United States Copyright Office Circular 1A A Brief Introduction and History is a document that can help you understand the copyright process. It discusses the history and function of the Copyright Office. It also 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
Access a PDF copy of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, U.S. Copyright Office summary, as 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 since it links directly to U.S. copyright law.
Copyright Law Research
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.