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Colorado Law Project: Copyright: Home

A guide to all things copyright.

Important! Please Read

The information on this site is provided as a service and should not be construed as legal or non-legal advice. 


Users needing legal advice are strongly encouraged to seek the services of a qualified attorney.

How do I find a Lawyer?

Find-A-Lawyer is the Colorado Bar Association's Online Attorney Member Directory. It is one way you can begin your search for a Colorado lawyer.   

The directory allows you to search by practice area, name, and location.


Google Scholar

Scholarly information at your fingertips.

With Google Scholar you can "search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites."


This guide provides an introduction to freely available resources dealing with U.S. copyright law. The guide is split into five sections:


Getting Started provides a basic introduction to the concept of copyright;


Primary Legal Resources provides links to copyright statutes, regulations, case law, and the text of international copyright treaties;


Secondary Resources includes links to law journals that specialize in intellectual property issues, legislative histories of U.S. copyright laws, papers discussing copyright issues at the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN), books on copyright law, and other secondary resources; 


Limitations on Exclusive Rights provides resources related to copyright limitations including fair use, the first sale doctrine, the TEACH Act and classroom use exemptions, and the library exceptions; and,


Researching Registrations provides resources for researching copyright registrations, determining the length of protection for a given work, and links to documents explaining popular licensing options like Creative Commons and Copyleft licenses.


The purpose of this guides is to aid the public and Colorado librarians in researching information related to U.S. copyright law. The guide identifies key areas and related information, including both print and free online resources. Please remember that this guide is not an exhaustive list of materials or resources.

Searching the Web with Google

Google provides an easy to use search engine for finding information on the Internet. For example, you could search for "Copyright" to pull up some of the resources that are listed elsewhere in this guide. When using Google, or any other search engine, it is important to remember that you will find both reliable and unreliable sources of information. The following questions will help you evaluate the reliability of information you find online.  

  • Is it an official government website? State and federal government websites generally include reliable information. Examples include websites hosted by state and federal agencies, courts, legislatures, etc. If the site's domain name ends in .gov, you can likely trust the information you find.    
  • Does the website provide information about its creators and its purpose? If detailed information about the site’s purpose and its creators is not provided, treat the site and its information with suspicion.
  • Is it a website for a well known non-profit or non-governmental organization (NGO)? Like government websites, well known non-profits and NGOs generally have reliable websites. If the site’s domain name ends in .org, you can probably trust the information you find.
  • Is contact information provided? Reputable organizations will provide a phone number or email address so that you can contact them for more information. If contact information is vague or is not included, be wary of the resources on that site.
  • Does the website’s content show an obvious bias or agenda? Information contained on websites designed to influence opinion or cater to a specific group, political party, or movement, may or may not be reliable. For these types of websites, it is advisable to further research your topic to verify the accuracy and veracity of the information you’ve found. 
  • Is the information current? Can you tell when the information was last updated? A good website will make this obvious. If you can’t tell, it’s better to look elsewhere.

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