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Copyright Law - Research

Research Guide Created for Prof. Callister's Copyright Course

Flagship Treatises & Guide Books

Melville B. Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright: A Treatise on the Law of Literary, Musical and Artistic Property, and the Protection of Ideas (Lexis 1963-).  Link to catalog record for print version.  Nimmer on Copyright is the gold standard for treatises in the field.  It is frequently cited by the Supreme Court and other courts in copyright cases.

Nimmer on Copyright (Picture of multi-volume treatise)

The online version of Nimmer on Copyright is found on Lexis under the Mathew Bender series.  A path to finding it is Browse > Sources > By Practice Area > Copyright  and then searching "Nimmer on Copyright." This method allows one to browse topically for subject.  By browsing the Table of Contents, you can access the index and drill down into topics.  For instance, lookup "fair use" and then drill down to "transformative use." leading to 4:13.05[A][1][b].

It is, of course, also possible to search the treatise for topics. You need to access the Nimmer differently however.  From the Lexis home page follow:  Home > Secondary Materials > Treatises, Practice Guides & jurisprudence > Copyright Law > Nimmer on Copyright.  You might. for instance, search "'17 U.S.C.' /3 107" to find discussion of section 107, which deals with fair use.  Sorting by relevance, the top result is section 13.05 The Defense of Fair Use.

Perhaps the next most important treatise on copyright is Goldstein on Copyright (3rd).  While the library does not maintain a current print subscription, it is available on Westlaw.  You can browse or search it using the same methods discussed for Nimmer on Copyright above.  Nimmer on Copyright was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in 80% of its copyright decisions over the last decade.

Westlaw makes available treatises for copyright.  Follow Home > Secondary Sources > Intellectual Property Secondary Sources.  Then search "Copyright."  On Westlaw Precision, besides Goldstein on CopyrightPatry on Copyright is the closest treatise to Nimmer and is cited in court with some frequency.

For Bloomberg Law, you will have to dig deep to find your way to the Copyright Law Deskbook, linked in the image below.

Deskbooks are wonderful for answering quick questions.


Study Aids

With student library fee money we have subscribed to West Academic Student Aids that include resources on copyright and intellectual property.  For example Copyright Law in a Nutshell, blackletter outlines, and hornbook treatises are all available through the service.

A short & happy guide to CopyrightCopyright Law in a nutshellCopyright Law HornbookIntellectual Property, The Law of Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks

Besides West Academic study aides, we have the LexisNexis Digital Library.  Applicable titles include:

  • Question & Answers: Copyright Law
  • Understanding Copyright Law