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Copyright Law Research

Sources for research into copyright law

Searching Copyrights

The United States Copyright Office registers copyrights and records documents related to copyright transfers or security interests. Older (pre-1978) copyright records are not yet indexed and not readily available for online search.

Statutory Law

The Copyright Act of 1976 and amending legislation is codified as amended in Title 17 of the United States Code. Use the links below to access official and commercial versions of the United States Code.

For information on statutory research generally, see our Legal Research Fundamentals guide.

Legislative History

Pre-compiled legislative histories of the 1976 Copyright Act and related legislation are available from several sources, including the following:

Federal Regulations

Federal regulations govern how agencies like the Copyright Office must carry out the laws as they are set forth in statute. Patent, trademark, and copyright regulations appear in Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); Copyright Office regulations appear in Parts 201-270.

Proposed regulations, newly promulgated regulations, and news of other rule-making activities are published in the Federal Register in chronological order.