Friday, May 31, 2013

Copyright Codex, the Free-for-All Treatise

Among the many reasons why legal research can be frustrating, especially for non-lawyers, is the relative inaccessibility of research materials. Secondary sources, such as scholarly treatises, are often invaluable tools to help researchers untangle the complex interrelationships of legislation, regulations and case law. But usually these expensive and highly specialized sources can be found only on the shelves of law libraries, or locked behind subscription-only databases like Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis and Westlaw. In addition, resources which are written primarily for an audience of practicing attorneys can be difficult to understand without a legal background.

The new Copyright Codex: A Free Treatise for Lawyers and Artists attempts to remedy both of these problems, at least for the topic of copyright law. Maintained by Eric Adler, a partner in the New York office of intellectual property firm Adler Vermillion & Skocilich, this free online treatise presents copyright law in plain language and a user-friendly interface. The Basics outlines the key concepts of copyrightability and the registration process, while subsequent sections explore more complex legal issues like fair use, what constitutes infringement and even litigation procedure.

Copyright Codex is a great starting place for copyright law research. For additional resources in the Goodson Law Library's collection, such as the classic treatise Nimmer on Copyright (KF2994 .N56 & online in LexisNexis/Lexis Advance) and its major competitor Patry on Copyright (KF2994 .P355 & online in Westlaw/WestlawNext), consult our research guide to Intellectual Property Law or Ask a Librarian.