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Copyright Law - Research

Research Guide Created for Prof. Callister's Copyright Course

Free Case Law

Researching copyright case law is an instance when an electronic or print service can really save time, facilitate precision, and enable a thorough search (while checking to see whether the cases are still good law.  Law students should use subscription services (Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg--see below).  For walk-in patrons, the law library currently provides a free Reuters Thomson Westlaw service at a single desktop station for case law research, cite checking and some secondary authority research. Inquire at the reference desk for more information.

Nonetheless there are several ways to research cases through free, electronic services.  These free services may be particularly helpful when you already have the case name and simply want to pull up the case.

Google Scholar (click image to search)

Google Scholar searching for case  This service is limited to "fair use" cases (click image to visit).

Fastcase (free with Missouri or Kansas bar membership or .edu email).  Link to UMKC subscriptionLink to sign up for free subscription if you have a .edu email account.

Highlighting Fastcase "timeline" feature

Fastcase has a unique timeline display feature for case searches that shows how often a case is cited, and how often it is cited by cases having the same search terms. - U.S. court opinions after April 16, 2005

Caselaw Access Project (Harvard).  This is a comprehensive caselaw reporter database. has comprehensive coverage of Supreme Court Decisions.

Using the Major Subscription Services


The links to videos below illustrate the use of terms and connector searching to locate copyright law cases on the topic of fair use and the specific doctrine of "transformative use." It does so on the major platforms--Westlaw Precision, Lexis+, Bloomberg Law, and Fastcase. 

Westlaw Precision | Lexis+ | Bloomberg Law | Fastcase